Stages: Performances 1970-2002 is one of the most cynical box set projects ever issued. While producers Neil Diamond and Sam Cole don't exactly offer untruth in their presentation of this five-CD live retrospective, they might as well have. For starters, this entire project seems like an excuse to issue a new double-CD live album from Vegas in December of 2002, and a live Christmas album (like anyone ever needed that to happen). The other two discs in this set are a compilation of live tracks, from "Lordy" in 1970 (easily the best thing here) to a cloying "I Believe in Happy Endings," from New Year's Eve 2001. The majority of the cuts from these discs come from Diamond's '80s and '90s shows and do not showcase him at his best.
Based somewhat more authentically on the Grimm Brothers' story of a young woman who is unliked by her stepmother
David Robert "Dave" Hole is an Australian slide guitarist known for his style of playing rock and roll and blues music. In 1990 he issued Short Fuse Blues which brought him to the attention of United States label, Alligator Records. Two of his albums have appeared on Billboard Top Blues Albums, Steel on Steel (1995) peaked at No. 13 and Ticket to Chicago (1997) reached No. 15. His sixth album, Under the Spell, appeared in April 1999 and won "Best Blues & Roots Album" at the ARIA Music Awards of that year. According to Australian rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, Hole "is the most acclaimed blues guitarist Australia has ever produced … courtesy of his unorthodox slide guitar style, his rousing live shows and a series of hard-rocking, roadhouse blues albums … yet it took two decades of slogging around the Australian touring circuit before the local industry sat up and took notice"…
While Neil Diamond's The Christmas Album is designed almost exclusively for his adult contemporary constituency, the vocalist still manages to light up most of the obviousness of these standards with his trademark gritty soul and flair for inflection.
When Gordon is taking his girlfriend's picture in Hong Kong, several Caucasian thugs led by a Chinese man, Kogan, threaten her, so he beats them up. Elsewhere, Bernard Wong pays his workers extra money to continue digging his land after discovering human bones. The thugs are members of the Black Ninja Clan, whose dead are buried on Wong's site. One of their operatives strangles Gordon's girlfriend, believing she knows where Gordon has hidden the Golden Ninja statue that apparently gives him power and won't say, while another hires Ghost Ninja, a beautiful witch dressed in white to kill Wong, his daughter Fanny, her husband George, and her son, Bobo, for three million dollars. Fanny is frightened by a cat in the house upon move-in, and the Black Ninja leader keeps swing her sword to hallucinate frogs jumping to their deaths out of her refrigerator and her soup ladle turning into.