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Rocker's Ramblings is where I will be posting about site updates, as well as general music-related comments.

There are 49 Journal Items in 5 pages and your are on page number 1

Jani Lane
I know I haven't posted here in a while (it's been an insanely busy past few years) but I wanted to post something about Jani Lane's death and it was too long to fit on Facebook/Twitter:).

According to the latest news they still don't know the cause of death and might not for a couple of months.

I once got to see Warrant with Jani Lane, and if you haven't seen them you missed out, because surprisingly enough it was one of the best shows I have ever been to! Warrant were a lot better than most people gave them credit for, and as his solo album confirmed a lot of the talent in the band was his. The band was amazing live, and was in the ranks of such bands as Zebra, Van Halen, and Dream Theater as truly amazing live bands. I saw him and the keyboardist do an amazing rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" which I will never forget. It's a damn shame I'll never have a chance to see him live again.

So this is really sad news. I'll have to make sure I sing "I Saw Red" the next time I go to karaoke in his memory. It's one of my favorite songs to sing (and was written by him).
Posted by Sharan Volin on Saturday, August 13, 2011 at 04:32

A few Nightwish/Sonata Arctica Pictures
I just thought I'd get a few quick pictures up:

Sonata Arctica

Sonata Arctica at the Wiltern TheaterSonata Arctica at the Wiltern TheaterSonata Arctica at the Wiltern Theater


Nightwish at the Wiltern TheaterNightwish at the Wiltern TheaterNightwish at the Wiltern Theater
Posted by Sharan Volin on Sunday, September 14, 2008 at 13:50

Nightwish and Sonata Arctica at the Wiltern
Well, since taking detailed notes on concerts and planning on reviewing them here later didn't work out so well (I have notes on several concerts I went to a year ago that I still haven't written up), and I want to get some kind of review up here, I'm just going to write a quick review of the concert tonight.

I was pretty excited to see this one. I had to miss Nightwish the last time they came around here because of classes, and I'd seen Sonata Arctica twice at the Key Club and they put on an amazing show both times. So it was nice to be able to see them both together.

Sonata Arctica were of course good, but their set was way too short and the song selection wasn't as good as I could have hoped. They do have a lot of albums at this point, so choosing so few songs from that wide selection didn't really give them much chance to make everyone happy.

Nightwish had a lot more time and seemed to play a much wider variety to music. They also put on a good show. It was interesting seeing the new singer, although I was a little confused because the singer looked nothing like her photos, so either she completely changed her hair style AND color or they switched singers again. I haven't really kept up on the Nightwish soap opera, but it sounds like they still have the same singer on the official web page, so I guess she just decided to go blonde:).

I never did see them before, so I missed them with the original singer, which is too bad. This singer did a good job, but she's obviously not a trained opera singer like the last one so it would have been interesting to see them before too.

I also finally got to put my new cell phone through its paces so I should have some decent pictures from the show up here soon. (If it doesn't get up here you can blame the physics class I'm currently taking, which has me seriously overloaded with homework.)

Speaking of which, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. I would be graduating in December but I was unemployed for 3 months and had to take a full time job (as a game programmer for a company 3 blocks from my apartment). So now I'm in school part time and hoping to graduate in May. And once I do, I hope to finally have time to update this site regularly! So please bear with me until then!
Posted by Sharan Volin on Sunday, September 14, 2008 at 04:18

Summer Update News
If you've been checking in here lately, you've noticed some changes around here. It's summertime again, which means I'm off from school and have a little more time to work on this site, and I've been taking advantage of it. Probably the biggest change around here is that I finally ditched my web host (whose e-mail was constantly unreliable, and who managed to break several parts of the site by changing the way things worked on me without bothering to warn me about it). The forum activation e-mails being broken (and none of the available options working) was the final straw. I have no idea how long it was broken before someone e-mailed me about it. But it IS working now on the new site, along with the rss feed for news (which was also apparently broken). The new host seems to be working well, although I found a few things I needed to fix after the switch. I think I fixed everything, but if you spot anything else I missed let me know!

In other big news, I've started filling in a few gaps where I added bands to the database that didn't have pages yet (you may have run into a few broken links in the Related Artists sections of the newest pages). The first band was Queensryche, and I think it's safe to say I now have the most comprehensive list of Queensryche links on the web right now (damn, they have a lot of web pages!). I'm already working on the next one (Styx) so look for that one within the next few weeks. Once I fill in those gaps (around 5 more bands) I'll start retrofitting all the existing bands to the new site format, and getting the links on those pages up to date.

In still more big news, as an experiment I'm paying a writer to send me news items, so I will have new news getting posted just about every day. It's only for a month now, but I might wind up extending it if things go well. So far the news has been going well (although it'll obviously take time to build up traffic here), and adding his news items has gotten me started adding a few of my own while I'm at it. I've also discovered MySpace is a good source for music news (I've started a personal one, and I'm considering starting one for Rockers Online eventually).

You should also see more activity over the next few weeks, since I'm going to at least 6 concerts this summer alone. The first was Rush last Monday night (7/23) at the Hollywood Bowl, followed by Dream Theater at the Gibson Amphitheater on Friday (7/27). Tonight I'm heading to the House of Blues Sunset Strip to see Symphony X. I hope to post reviews of all 3 shows soon, although they could be delayed since I'm flying to New York for over a week on Thursday. Also look for more reviews of Asia (I'm going to 3 different shows in August) over the next few weeks, and there are several shows coming up in September and October too that I'm hoping to get to. I should be able to do more updates too over the next few weeks, up until I get sucked back in to the black hole that is USC. Although I'd like to think I could continue to update the site once classes start past experience has proven that to be difficult, so I can't make any promises.

Meanwhile, I'll do as much as I can. You might see Night Ranger as featured artist for a while, since a side effect to making things database driven is that it is now a lot more difficult for me to download the database and edit it manually, and I haven't gotten around to writing the page to maintain the featured artist. If I have some time before classes start I'll fix that. The new Night Ranger cd, Hole In The Sun, is finally available, BTW. But hopefully you'll see at least a couple more new band pages go up, along with a lot more news, and concert reviews.
Posted by Sharan Volin on Tuesday, July 31, 2007 at 22:00

New Symphony X
The long-awaited new album, Paradise Lost, is finally out today! I'm sure you've seen the ads I added for it, and now that it's out (and Amazon shipped my copy this morning) I figured I'd post the preview video/TV ad here (but no, I won't torment you by making it autoplay;)):

Posted by Sharan Volin on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 at 02:37

Review of Asia at the Canyon Club
Tonight I went to see Asia, the original lineup, playing at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, CA. This show was a dream come true for me. I've been a huge Asia/John Wetton fan since the first time I heard "Only Time Will Tell" back in 1982 and it blew me away. I saw them live once in 1983 at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium back in NY (with Chris De Burgh opening for them). But then John Wetton, who is my favorite singer, left and Geoff Downes continued the band with John Payne, whose singing I never really liked and who I never really thought fit the band's sound (I apologize to those of you who actually like him). I honestly tried to get into the new band, but other than maybe Aqua and the Archiva cds I just couldn't get into them at all, and I finally gave up after Arena and stopped buying them entirely. There was still John Wetton's great solo career, and I was lucky enough to see him live several times over the past few years, but I always dreamed of the original lineup of Asia getting back together. This year, for the 25th anniversary of the band, it finally happened!

I had been hoping to make the Long Beach show on Wednesday, but homework got in the way (Damn you, Maya!). But I already had my tickets for this show and wouldn't miss it for everything! So a friend and I headed up there early, and got there shortly before the doors opened, only to find an already long line waiting to get in. The Canyon Club is a dinner theater, and we had the reserved dinner tickets, so we got to sit and have an overpriced dinner before the show, but it gave us decent seats where we could actually sit and enjoy the show. I'd heard a few days earlier that the show was close to being a sellout, and after seeing how many people were there in the standing room behind us I suspect it probably did sell out. It was a huge crowd, far more than I'd seen at any of the John Wetton solo shows I'd been to.

The band came on stage, and it took some of the beginning of the first song for them to get warmed up, but they quickly hit their stride and, once they did....WOW! They were incredible! The playing was so tight you'd think they actually had been playing together for the full 25 years! The band played for about an hour, then took a 15 minute break and came back for another set. They started with songs from the Asia CD, and said they'd be playing the full album, plus songs from previous bands. The first of those they played was Yes' "Roundabout", and I'd seen Yes with Dream Theater at the Gibson Amphitheater on a recent tour and Asia totally blew Yes away (then again Dream Theater totally blew them away that night too. Maybe it was just an off-night but Yes did not put on a great show). They also played songs from Emerson, Lake and Palmer ("Fanfare for the Common Man"), King Crimson ("In the Court of the Crimson King"), and one big surprise, The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" - not just Geoff Downes doing it as a keyboard solo like he's done in the past, but the full band did the entire song, with John Wetton singing through a megaphone at the beginning. Geoff even got all dressed up in a silver jacket and sunglasses like it was a Buggles video.

After the first set I was wondering if they were going to play anything from Alpha or Astra, but they started the 2nd set with acoustic versions of "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" and "Don't Cry" from Alpha. They never did play anything from Astra, but I guess that's because Steve Howe wasn't in the band at the time. They had the expected keyboard and guitar solos, and Carl Palmer did an amazing drum solo during "The Heat Goes On". After they left the stage for the second time, they came back for an encore with another surprise, the B-side to the "Heat of the Moment" single, "Ride Easy". After that they finished the show with "Heat of the Moment" itself. I had actually spent some time earlier in the day figuring that one out on guitar for a Beginning Pop/Rock Guitar class I'm taking, and I was pleased to see that I seemed to have gotten it pretty much right!

The response from the audience was great from the very beginning. Every single song got a standing ovation from those of us seated in the dining area. The band seemed to be really enjoying the response. John Wetton looked especially happy, and had a big grin on his face after seeing the response to the first song, and made comments on the great reception they got. It was good to see the band enjoying themselves so much, and I only hope that with such a strong response at the shows they'll decide to continue with this lineup in the future!

After the show Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes were there to sign merchandise (the line for that was out the door). Unfortunately John Wetton wasn't there, but someone behind me said they heard he had a cold. But I at least got 2 of their autographs, and got to tell them what an incredible show it was and that I hope there will be many more to come! All in all, it was an amazing show, and definitely one of the best concerts I've ever been to.

BTW, I got some not too great pictures with my cell phone like the ones above, so I'll be adding more pictures to the Asia page.
Posted by Sharan Volin on Sunday, September 24, 2006 at 06:55

Jack's First Show
Last night a friend and I went to Jack's First Show (sponsored by Jack FM). The show featured a great collection of 80s bands: Def Leppard, Journey, Billy Idol, Cheap Trick, and the Violent Femmes. We weren't too worried about missing the Violent Femmes, so when we got there they were already on.

When we walked in, first we had to get past the huge shopping mall area outside (the $35 band t-shirts and expensive food weren't enough, they had actual vendors there selling clothing and other merchandise). Fortunately they were also selling $15 disposable cameras, one of which I made full use of, so I have an entire roll's worth of new pictures to post here on I get that developed. We weren't exactly next to the stage but the video screens on both side of the stage should help. There were also planes flying by with banners saying things like "While you're here we're robbing your house" and "We're not seeing enough nudity on the lawn" courtesy of Jack FM. By the time we got past all the rampant capitalism in action, Cheap Trick were already in the middle of their set.

Of all the bands there last night, Cheap Trick were the only one I'd seen previously (when they were opening for Survivor). They did pretty well, although if they played any of their 80s hits it was before I got there. They did play several of their earlier hits, including the theme from "That 70s Show" (which is how they introduced it). They unfortunately suffered from some serious problems with one of the speakers in our section of the amphitheater, which were fortunately fixed for the next act.

After them, Billy Idol came on stage. I missed the beginning of his set too because of the really long lines for the restrooms (no wonder Jack FM were giving away a port-a-potty on the air). He definitely put on a great show, playing many of his hits, like "White Wedding", "Rebel Yell", and a version of "Mony Mony" that included parts you may have heard at parties but didn't exactly expect to hear from the actual artist;). But Billy Idol and his band were having a lot of fun up there, and so was the audience. I was surprised at the end when he announced the keyboardist as Derek Sherinian (previously from Dream Theater).

The next act on stage was Journey. I used to be a huge Journey fanatic for a while (before I discovered Asia), so it was really surprising when I realized that this was actually the first time I'd actually see them live. I also had another reason to be excited about seeing them, their current singer, Steve Augeri, wasn't able to go on this tour, and replacing him was Jeff Scott Soto, an amazing singer who was in a great band named Takara, has a really good solo album called Lost in the Translation out now, and was also recently in the band Soul SirkUS with Neal Schon (which now that I think of it is probably how he got the Journey gig). I figured this would be interesting, since he's probably the first singer to join the band who didn't sound just like Steve Perry, and I figured he was a good enough singer that it was going to be a great show.

So Journey came on stage, and basically blew the audience away! They put on a truly amazing show. Jeff Scott Soto really pulled off the Journey songs well. One of the speakers in our area was cutting in and out at the beginning of the set, which really hurt the vocals, to the point where people near us were cheering when someone finally went up to fix it. But even with that you could tell he was doing an amazing job. This date must have been a dream come true for him! He's from Southern California, and his family and friends were there, and here he was playing in front of a sold-out crowd in a much bigger place than probably any band he'd played in previously had been in, in a legendary band like Journey. It must have been a great night for another reason too, but I'll get into that later.

I was surprised that they didn't play a single new song, but I guess it made sense since the lead singer from those albums wasn't there, and since it was a big 80's show. I knew every song they played, and they were all great. Drummer Deen Castronovo sang on about 3 of the ballads (including "Open Arms" and "Faithfully"). They also made good use of the video screen behind them, with some nice graphics to accompany the music. When they finished the set they left the stage, but returned for one encore, "Separate Ways".

Now Journey was a tough act to follow, and people near us told us they already felt like they got their money's worth. In fact several people around us seemed to feel this way and actually left, but the place was still crowded. Def Leppard came on stage as the final act, and did an admirable job of following them! I don't think I enjoyed their set quite as much as Journey's, but I think that was because it was a little Hysteria-heavy, and that's the one album of theirs I always thought was a little over-rated. In fact I didn't listen to them after that until I discovered Euphoria, and discovered they were doing some of their best work ever now.

Despite that, they put on a great show. They made even more use of the video screens than Journey did, and did a really interesting long, extended version of "Rocket" with some cool science fictiony graphics including a Union-Jack rocket flying around. All the band members were obviously incredible musicians, and it was good to see Rick Allen still with them and doing such a great job (I always liked him)! At one point they played through several songs and transitioned so smoothly between them without stopping that you couldn't tell where one song ended and the other began. I would have liked to hear more from Euphoria and X, but the only song they played from either was "Promises".

They did play a couple of cover songs from their new CD, Yeah, and did a great job on those, so I'm looking forward to getting the copy I ordered last week. They finished the set with "Rock Of Ages", and surprised everyone by bringing out Jeff Scott Soto to sing along with Joe Elliot on this one!

After a set like that they came back for an encore, and played two songs, "Love Bites" and "Armageddon It". They closed by bringing up yet another big surprise - they announced that will be playing the Hollywood Bowl for the first time on October 13th! My friend and I looked at each other immediately and both said "We are SO there!". Besides, it's 2 days after my birthday so it'll make a great celebration, and I just found out Journey will be there too, so it should be another incredible show!

So, all in all, it was an incredible show! If you have a chance to see Def Leppard and Journey near you, I highly recommend that you take it!
Posted by Sharan Volin on Monday, August 21, 2006 at 03:54

The Big Day
Well, the moment I've been working toward all summer is finally here! You may have noticed a few minor changes around here over the past 3 months, but there were really big changes going on behind the scenes that I couldn't post about because they involved major reworking of the database, and I wanted to do as little as I could to the live site to avoid problems later. But now the moment is finally here and I can tell you all of the big changes here at Rockers Online.

I took this summer off from classes, and decided to make Rockers Online my #1 priority (after making money, of course). I could have spent time adding news and tour dates and things like that, but I decided to do something that would do a lot more good in the long run, and give me a much better chance at actually updating the site once in a while after my classes start up again next week.

When I redesigned the site I put everything in the database, however the band/artist pages were always going to be a huge job, so as a temporary fix I had the old HTML just thrown into temporary fields in a database. Well, this summer I spent the time not only setting it up to read all the information from the database for real, using the new layout, but I spent a long time building up form pages to make everything easy to update, so I finally have a better and easier, and most of all faster way of updating the band pages!

I've added the first 4 pages already (to see who has been updated you can check the new "recently updated" section on the right (yes, I added that too, which will always be updated automatically when I change any Band pages). There are a few pages for artists who are band members and not Bands or Solo Artists. Those unfortunately won't be updated until I add the new band member functionality, which will be another big job for a later date.

I've added a few new features to the band pages, like a Discography section, and a "Buy From The Band!" link, for those of us who like to support the artists by buying directly from them (no, I'm not making anything from this. It's a public service to the bands and those who want to support them.). I've also updated the featured artist, added a new poll, and made a few other changes around the site.

Well, I hope you like the "new" site. I'll try to add some more over the next week before classes start, and after that hopefully I made things easy enough that I'll be able to update the site once in a while. The problem is I'm doing this entire site by myself, while going to school full time and working part time. It's a totally insane schedule even without trying to manage a website on top of it!

So if you're wondering why it's not updated too often, that's why. But I will try to post, especially since I'm planning on going to about 5 concerts in the next 2 months, starting with Jack's First Show next Saturday in Irvine, featuring Def Leppard, Journey, Cheap Trick, Billy Idol, and the Violent Femmes. Hopefully I'll be able to post some reviews of these shows after I go to them.
Posted by Sharan Volin on Monday, August 14, 2006 at 01:34

Sonata Arctica review at the Key Club, Los Angeles
Reprinted from my LiveJournal:

I just got back from seeing the band Sonata Arctica at the Key Club. I was really annoyed that I missed Stratovarius there a few months ago, so when I found out about this show last week (I really need to keep up on the music news better or I'm going to wind up missing these things!) I knew I had to go. Sonata Arctica are one of the best progressive metal bands from Europe, and this was the first chance I've had to see them live! No one else seemed to want to go so I decided to drive up to Hollywood myself, and I'm glad I did. Thanks to Yahoo Maps I found a great way to get there (Wow. Friday night driving up to Sunset in Hollywood and NO traffic??? Nice!). I didn't even leave the house until 10 since I didn't feel like sitting through any opening acts I'd never heard of, but I made it in plenty of time to see Sonata Arctica. I even got to hit the merchandise table downstairs and was really sorry I hadn't taken more cash out on the way! I could easily have dropped $100+ there on cool shirts/sweatshirts/necklaces. As it was I had to settle for one T-shirt, a very nice tie-dyed blue shirt with a wolf on it (which the singer later turned out to be wearing). It's probably for the best since I do need to save money!

The band put on an amazing show! This was their first show in L.A., as they mentioned several times, and they seemed to be having a great time! They played a great mix of music from all their albums, and the audience seemed really into them. In fact when they left the stage the first time I was actually surprised by how may people were yelling for them to come back! Very few people left, which is pretty amazing for L.A., where sometimes I think people have never HEARD of encores! We would NEVER let a band leave the stage that easily back in NY! Too many people here are just in too much of a hurry to leave so they can get back to their cell phone conversations:P. Well, it was NOTHING like that at this show! The crowd really seemed to want them back, and the band were happy to come back! For an encore, they played a medley of songs they had never played live before, followed by 2 other songs, followed by a few scattered bits of other music (including a little "Smoke on the Water", which had me thinking of Guitar Hero, a GREAT game I recently got hooked on).

The band seemed as reluctant to leave the stage as the audience was to have them leave. The keyboardist signed a few autographs for people up front, and the entire band took multiple bows. After the crowd finally left I headed outside. There were still a lot of people standing out there waiting for the band to come out, but I had a long week and hadn't thought to bring any cds along to get autographed, so I decided to just head home.

I also forget just how great exercise concerts are;). Anyone who's seen me at a concert knows I don't exactly just stand there. I once had a guy at a Dream Theater concert back on the East Coast try to tell me it wasn't a disco;).

Well, now I have the Dream Theater concert March 10th to look forward to! (I already got my tickets!)
Posted by Sharan Volin on Saturday, February 11, 2006 at 03:38

Yeah, I know it's been a long time:(
First, I need to apologize for vanishing off the face of the Earth for so long. I was taking a summer Calculus Class From Hell (Calculus 2 4 nights a week) while working full time, and then I still didn't learn and attempted to take 18 credits last semester (it didn't work and I had to drop one class, and spent the rest of the semester recovering!).

This semester also seems to be a lot of work, but it definitely more manageable, and I'm even trying to get back into music by taking a class in Beginning Pop/Rock Guitar. I'm even trying to make some time to go back and work on this site some more, especially the tour dates which badly need updating. And that new featured artist which I promised everyone, which looks like it's going to be Night Ranger (although you still have time to vote!), needs to be posted. I have no plans whatsoever to take summer classes this year (as in no way in Hell am I doing THAT again!) so I should have plenty of time to work on the site then!

BTW, if you're ever wondering what's keeping me away from the site this time you're welcome to check my personal LiveJournal which does get updated slightly more often.

Well, the reason for posting is some really huge news I'm sure any other fans of the original Asia lineup and John Wetton will be very happy to hear! Check the news section for more details!
Posted by Sharan Volin on Friday, February 3, 2006 at 21:08

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