Features - Yngwie Malmsteen Guitar Gods Tour
Guitar Great Yngwie Malmsteen Shreds on Guitar Gods Tour
Braun’s Concert Cove, Akron, New York
Sunday, June 15, 2014
by Mark McGauley
When Yngwie Malmsteen announced that he would be hitting the road with friends such as Uli Jon Roth, Gary Hoey and Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal, guitar players all across the country got excited. Initially, I thought I'd have to miss the tour due to the closest stop being in New York City, but luckily a closer date was added. Yesterday, Sunday June 15th, the tour stopped in Akron, NY at Braun's Concert Cove. Unfortunately, due to issues getting a work visa approved, Uli Jon Roth was forced to step off of the tour and let the other three continue on without him.
As a special treat to fans, Guitar Center partnered up with the tour and held a special Meet and Greet at their store in Buffalo, NY. I got to Guitar Center around 11:15 A.M. to only find a few other devoted fans waiting out front. When the store opened at noon there were around 30 or so fans. We were all brought into a room that was set up with a table and chairs for a Question and Answer session. When the special guests arrived, fans were very happy to get a up close and personal experience with them. Fans were given approximately 15 minutes to ask questions before they were allowed to take pictures with the artists and have things signed.
After the Guitar Center Event, I did some sight seeing before returning to the venue. This venue is located behind Braun's Bar & Grill. When I arrived, I went inside the restaurant to grab a bite to eat. While walking in, I recognized some familiar faces sitting down eating. Those faces were none other than Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal and Gary Hoey, along with their bands. These guys were incredibly humble and stood up while eating to greet fans and shake hands. The food and service at Braun's was great and would definitely recommend going there to eat and for a show as well.
After my meal, I headed to the back where there was a giant deck with a staircase leading down to the stage area. The stage was set underneath a giant overhang which is a great idea so fans don't have to worry about the crazy New York State weather. Security let fans down to the stage area right around 6 P.M. and an opening instrumental group took the stage. After a handful of songs, the opening band was done and soon after Bumblefoot came on stage. He greeted the crowd and wished a Happy Father's Day to all of the dads in the audience. Bumblefoot's set did not seem to last any longer, which some people believed would because of Uli dropping off the bill. With it still being early in the night, the crowd was still filling in gradually throughout both Bumblefoot and Gary Hoey's sets. Both guitarists played about 9 songs each. Bumblefoot played fan favorites such as 'Guitars Suck' and closed the show with his version of the Pink Panther Theme Song. Gary Hoey played an awesome cover of Lunatic Fringe made famous by Red Rider. Hoey also played some tunes off his latest blues record as well.
Shortly before 9 P.M. the guy everyone was waiting for came on stage. Yngwie Malmsteen was joined on stage by his backing band which included a drummer, bass player and a keyboard player who handled vocals. Before talking about Yngwie, I'll say that the keyboard player had his work cut out for him, filling in for past vocalists for Malmsteen such as Tim 'The Ripper' Owens. This guy could sing and sing well! I couldn't see Yngwie being satisfied with anything less than perfect though. The set was opened with 'Rising Force' and then followed by other Malmsteen classics. During these songs, Malmsteen showed so much energy and enthusiasm that got the crowd into the show even more. Classic Yngwie moves were on display with kicking his guitar picks into the crowd, tossing his guitar in the air, and playing behind his head. I expected to lose interest throughout the 2 hour set, but it was the complete opposite. Malmsteen is a great showman who knows how to keep the audience's attention.
At the end of the set, Malmsteen was joined on stage by Bumblefoot and Hoey for a cover of Deep Purple's 'Burn'. This was incredible to say the least. The three guys traded vocal and solo duties throughout the song. Unfortunately this trio jam only lasted for 'Burn' and Yngwie closed the show with one last song. After the show was over, Bumblefoot came back out on stage to help load the gear and took some times to greet even more fans.
Overall, this was a great concert experience. With a mixture of some of the best guitarists alive, nice weather, fantastic food and a great venue, this was not a show to miss. If you're a guitar player or just a fan of live music, this tour has a lot to offer.
Be sure to check out http://www.yngwiemalmsteen.com/yngwie/guitar-gods/ for upcoming Guitar Gods dates.