Star - Crossed Grey Lady Down
by Mott the Dog
***** 5 Stars Rating
In 1998 the fabulous Grey Lady Down released a post humous double live album (The time of our lives) and split up. To all lovers of progressive rock, the live album was a delight, whilst the news of the split was a serious disaster.
Fortunately sense was seen, and after a chance meeting in the pub between original guitarist Julian Hunt and final keyboard wizard Mark Westworth, it was decided to put the old girl back together again. Vocalist Martin Wilson and bassist Sean Spear quickly jumped back on board, a new drummer was recruited in Phill Millichamp, and the Grey Lady was up and running.
After a year gigging all over Europe they descended into the studio returning with the finest progressive rock album of this millennium. The album is so perfect even the spaces between songs seem to be judged to perfection.
All of the songs here are excellent, featuring plenty of great soloing from keyboards and guitar, plus the heaviest rhythm section, thumping every note into your foundations.
“Fading Faith” opens the album with some rippling piano, and then the band thunders in, before leaving way for Martin Wilson’s lyrics. Martin has always been a distinctive vocalist (singers always seem more involved when they actually write the words) but since the release of Grey Lady Down’s last studio CD “Fear” in 1997 Martin’s vocals have certainly taken on an extra presence, surely making him the premier vocalist in todays progressive rock scene.
“Fallen”, the central song, lasts nearly fourteen wonderful minutes and is a classic example of all that’s good in progressive rock: good story line, dramatic crescendo’s, with an exciting dynamic conclusion.
12-string acoustic guitars begin and are evident throughout “Sands of Time” which in an abbreviated version would make a superb single. This is a charming song, enhanced by some flute work by Hughie McMillan.
But always keeping the best till last, comes album “Tour De Force” “Cross Fire” - this one rocks, and will be perfect for packed arenas as they blaze a trail across the sky. Definitely the best and heaviest progressive metal laid down this side of early Deep Purple. Then when you thought it just couldn’t get any better, guest guitarist Bernie Marsden (yes, he of Whitesnake fame) screams forth and leaves a skull crushing solo to finish the song.
Make sure you buy this album at your earliest opportunity, and don’t miss Grey Lady Down on their forthcoming world tour. Jump on the ship before everybody else does. If you want to know more about Grey Lady Down look up their website at www.greyladydown.co.uk
Sean Spear - Bass
1. Fading Faith
Married movie stars Eddie Thomas (John Cusack) and Gwen Harrison (Catherine Zeta-Jones) have split up after completion of their ninth film together, and the ensuing year-and-a-half hasn’t been kind to either of them. Gwen’s career is slipping and Eddie is at a mental health “retreat” still pining for her, even though she’s moved on to a Latin lover (Hank Azaria).
The two are brought back together by Lee Phillips (Billy Crystal), a studio publicist; the print of Gwen and Eddie’s last film is being held hostage by its eccentric director (Christopher Walken). He enlists the help of Gwen’s sister and personal assistant, Kiki (Julia Roberts).
For an awkward, self-conscious girl like Kiki, being the personal assistant to a beautiful mega-star like Gwen isn’t easy. But when she dutifully accepts the task of helping Gwen and her estranged husband Eddie make it through one last public appearance masterminded by press agent Lee Phillips, forever devoted Kiki finds that her job is about to get even harder.
At first it seems her challenge is to keep the peace between Gwen and Eddie but soon Kiki is faced with a more personal concern as her longtime friendship with Eddie begins to take a romantic turn.
Julia is at her best when she can be uninhibited but this movie keeps her subdued almost until the end. She is simply not a good choice to play someone who fades into the background. But as always she manages to be very funny and gives an excellent performance.
If you like a good laugh, America’s Sweethearts is the movie for you.
Directed by Joe Roth
Julia Roberts as Kiki Harrison
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Chinnaporn Sungwanlek, assisted by Boonsiri Suansuk.