A complete masterclass was served in Glasgow tonight. Like a magnificent buffet it was laid out with five courses named Portney ,Sheehan, Soto, Thal and Sherinian.
The venue tonight was littered with Glasgow musicians from all manner of bands, all there to bow at the feet of absolute legends. I was in awe myself as these guys are all from my the book of music that is my past, present and future. All having their own chapters until tonight where they came together like a blockbuster movie.
I did manage to see the band in one of their first European shows at Graspop this summer but they were on late, they played in a tent where the crowd was packed in and overflowing in their hundreds…there may have been a little hint of alcohol on my side so it was great to get up close and personal tonight.
They opened with “God of the Sun” and this track reminded me of a band from a very long time ago in Utopia, the heavy keys and focus on instruments was why I fell in love with the album “RA” and this takes on the best elements of that release.
“Signs of the Time” is next with its much heavier vibe and to be honest I have no idea who to focus on and Jeff sums it all up as he looks between each and every musician on that stage and just shrugs. This singer has played with some incredible players but it was amazing to see him in such awe as we were.
I remember when the band was announced and I could not contain my excitement but it was curtailed quickly as I never expected to see them live, I thought this would just be a collaboration on record alone so to see these guys all on one stage was like a perverted musician’s wet dream.
One of my favourite moments on the album was “Figaro’s Whore” with its John Lord opening harking back to the 70s and a time when my youthful brain was just being bombarded with rock that would be with me till this day.
With a show like this you know the solos are coming (and even adding them all up it was still less that half an hour at a Malmsteen show) so there was no surprise when the band members left the stage leaving(for me) the best bass player on the planet. Billy Sheehan blew me away a long time ago, I was a youngster who lived and breathed Iron Maiden, Steve Harris was my god and one day at my local record store(remember those?) the guy behind the counter said you should listen to this band Talas(now I realise he was just trying to strip me of my hard earned cash for this import) but I took his advice and I went home and sat in disbelief to a bass solo that was also played tonight.
From that day I took Mr Harris of his pedestal as I had a new god and I have seen him now in so many bands from that day to this. To see this man in action for me is like a hormonal teenager with a crush.
Next up for the solo slot was a complete surprise for me…enter Jeff Scott Soto who for me is the most underrated singer in Rock and metal. A man I first encountered with a certain Mr Malmsteen. Jeff was a paid lackey that night, Yngvie may not have given him the credit he was due but I sure as hell noticed.
Jeff was incredible as he played with vocal loops but it was what came after that will forever stick out in my memory as his rendition of Queen’s “Save Me” was exquisite, the crowd were in fine form and this was one of the best versions I have ever heard. This will live with me for a very long time.
Next on the rotating musician highlight was the man of bumble. A man who I am the least fanatical about unfortunately. I had left GnR behind after the EP lies so I skipped a lot of his work but his choice of the Pink Panther theme music was funny and as technical as hell all in one. This man can play like you can only dream. The man is overshadowed by the top hatted one and that is a damned shame. He impressed me no end tonight and I left with a complete new found respect.
This show was a dream come true for me and I walked out of there with a smile on my face, a host of amazing shots and a memory that not even althiemers will be able to steal from me. Having spent 38 years listening to and going to see rock my journey led me to this show and it encapsulated everything I love about music.
Images and words Ritchie Birnie