June 27, 2014 Guitar Gods Tour 2014 dazzles at The Paramount Huntington, NY 6-13-14
The guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world as well as the backbone of rock-n-roll. While many play the instrument, spending tireless hours honing their chops, few attain virtuoso status. Sweden’s Yngwie Malmsteen emerged in the 1980’s dazzling audiences with his highly technical guitar playing, making him the leader of Neoclassical metal. Now after nearly four decades of dominance Malmsteen headlines Guitar Gods Tour 2014. Hand picking an all-star line-up of guitar masters, including Bumblefoot and Gary Hoey, Malmsteen headlines this group as they make their way across North America. Originally scheduled to include Uli Roth, due to unforeseen circumstances the bill was skimmed down to only the three axmen. On a rare Friday 13th in June the clinic came to The Paramount in Huntington, NY for an evening guitar lovers would not forget.
Firing up the amplifiers first was life long guitarist T.D. Clark. Spending countless hours of his childhood practicing guitar, becoming the best he could, Clark has gone on to an excellent career sharing the stage with rock leaders such as Steve Vai, Ted Nugent, Bad Company, and many more. Exposing his skills worldwide with continuous touring, Clark is an accomplished and seasoned guitarist. Taking to the stage Clark shred through a fantastic display of metal guitar playing. Performing as an instrumental metal act, he and his band offered some amazing songs and played every note with excitement. Confident in his skill, Clark’s fingers flew up and down the fretboard all while he grooved to the melodies. Check out all his albums on iTunes, with his most recent being ShreddTime Stories (2013).
Next to the stage, providing something a little different, was The Gary Douglas Band. Residing in NY, the band came together in 2012 combining a variety of styles including rock, Americana, blues, and folk. Coming out as a nine piece band, the members consist of Douglas (lead vocal/guitar), Alex Prol (lead guitar), Clifford Carter (keys), Scott Chasolen (keys), Lee Nadel (bass), Dan Asher (bass), Stefano Baldasseroni (drums), Clara Lofaro, and Sarah Wise (background vocals). Kicking out an irresistible groove the band played through a strong set of original country rock tunes. With a mix of blues guitar solos and heartfelt vocals The Gary Douglas Band provided a good mix of variety for the evening.
Moving along, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal was the next act to grace The Paramount. Commonly known as the lead guitarist of Guns N’ Roses, Bumblefoot also has had a lengthy solo career and most recently worked with Tony Harnell. Coming from New York, the crowd greeted him warmly as he opened up with “Abnormal”. Storming through on guitar, like a house on fire, his set went on with songs like “Real”, “Turn Around”, and “Guitar Sucks”. Attracting more and more attention the size of the audience grew larger and louder as the guitar shredding jolted from the stage. With chaotic vocals and attention grabbing lyrics Bumblefoot amazingly did not skip a beat on guitar in the midst of it all. Concluding the punk rock energy of the set was a metal delight of a classic “The Pink Panther Theme”. Bumblefoot is in a class all his own and one hell of a guitarist to experience live.
Keeping the crowd buzzing was surfer-rock guitar extraordinaire Gary Hoey. From the Boston, MA area Hoey always had big dreams of being a musician and mastering the guitar. Active now for over two decades, in that time Hoey has gone on to record nineteen albums and have five top-20 Billboard hits. Getting everyone moving from the first note of cool vibes on “Going Down”, Hoey set an excellent mood. With applause showering down, he moved on to a set of inspiring instrumental guitar escapes. Combining soulful blues licks with unforgettable melodies Hoey’s fingers did all the talking one needed to hear. Songs like “Peace Pipe”, “Deja Blues”, and “Faded to Blue” relaxed and entranced the audience from start to finish. Engaging to the fans and ever so gracious for their attention, Hoey put on a spectacular set concluding with his signature “Hocus Pocus”. Be sure to check out his newest album Deja Blues (2013).
After a sea of talented guitarists each brought their own unique qualities to the stage, it was now time for the guitar god himself, Malmsteen. Having made his fair share of appearances in and around the tri-state area over the years, including the Spellbound Tour 2013 in NYC, Malmsteen has always sustained a strong dedicated following on Long Island. With the opposing wall of Marshall amplifiers as the backdrop everyone knew they were about to get their minds blow in more ways than one.
Kicking off with the classic “Rising Force”, the guitar assault was fast, furious, and relentless. Malmsteen soared through each song with ease including newer songs like “Spellbound”, mixing older juggernauts “Demon Driver”, and bouncing back to the present decade with “Evil Eye” and “Razor Eater”. The instrumentation of Malmsteen struck awe into everyone in the audience, even those who have experienced the guitarist live before. His ability to keep his performances fresh and unique as the years go on is a strong competent of preventing dull moments. Pointing his guitar toward the audience he continued to glide along until the show stopping rendition of the “The Star-Spangled Banner”. The ear-tingling screaming of the guitar notes Malmsteen played dazzled in the most perfect way.
As the set moved, combining speed and precision, Malmsteen showed no signs of slowing down with fingers like machines through songs like “Rise Up” and “Blue”. After a brief, but effective drum solo by Patrick Johansson, the crowd was thrown into a frenzy when “Heaven Tonight” began. On keys, Nick Z Marino provided strong vocals as Malmsteen jolted back and forth in front of the crowd through the killer tune. What appeared to be the final song of the night had the audience begging for more. That was when Malmsteen came out for what would be an unforgettable encore. Leading off with fan favorite “Blackstar”, the level of excitement was through the roof. On their feet and praising the maestro, the gods aligned, and Bubblefoot along with Hoey came on to the stage combining forces with Malmsteen for a worldly cover of Deep Purple’s “Burn”. All given a moment to shine, this was a performance which will go down in guitar history. With so much adrenaline pumping the evening concluded with “I’ll see the Light Tonight”. Like a time machine, taking the room back to the golden age of heavy metal, this was a fitting conclusion to an unbelievable show.
Malmsteen is without a doubt one of the best guitarists of our time. Like a classical composer his talents will be revered for years to come. Music lovers and musicians alike need to get out and see this tour before it is too late.