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London International Music Show Review

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Here is my review from the two concerts that were part of the London Guitar Show today. I also went up yesterday but spent more time looking and playing gear that going to the concerts. However it is notable to say that Paul Gilbert did a very good job of Hendrix's Red House.

London International Music Show – Sunday June 15th

Joe Satriani

Any self respecting guitarist will tell you one thing – Joe Satriani is God. Whilst other shredders take a more style over substance approach – playing at 500 miles an hour whether it be completely musical or not, Satriani takes great care in making sure that his songs have not one note out of place and that they are varied resulting in musical perfection.

It is the final day of the London International Music Show and just after 12pm, Satriani takes the stage, not a normal time to be holding a rock concert, he himself acknowledges this during his set thanking his audience for getting up so early and saying that he himself is just imagining that it is taking place twelve hours later. Despite the abnormality this is every bit the best rock concert you could hope for, a superb light show, a projection screen and musical nirvana.

Opening with I Just Wanna Rock from his latest album, the crowd goes wild and its no wonder why, every note seems chosen perfectly and everything happens at just the right time, he also is every bit the rock star with stage presence that rivals lead singers such as Mick Jagger and Robert Plant.

The set is plastered with hits – Flying In A Blue Dream, Ice 9 and the inevitable Surfing With The Alien all make appearances, as does the ingenious Crowd Chant, in which the audience sing back the licks that Satch plays, a fantastic way around the barrier surrounding completely instrumental rock gigs – audience participation.

Whilst many instrumental players and bands’ gigs seems to be an experience made for musicians by musicians, Satch’s showmanship shows that even that rare bread – non guitarists could go to this show and have a great time, he jumps around, plays with his teeth like his hero Jimi Hendrix and talks to the crowd. There is no encore but the audience don’t mind, this man is the best guitarist around and he has played what seems to be the perfect rock concert. One things for sure, next time he comes across the ocean he’s going to have to work very hard to match this.

RD Crusaders

The female announcer said that previous lineups of press baron Richard’s Desmond’s supergroup included Robert Plant and Gary Moore, so tonight’s lineup is pretty, well, average then.

The main attraction of this line up was meant to be The Who’s Roger Daltrey, a true rock icon, however it was announced recently he wouldn’t be making an appearance, bugger! They managed to get Robert Hart, former and current Bad Company (lawsuit pending) singer to replace Daltrey, but when one thinks of Bad Company one thinks of Paul Rodgers.

Robert Hart and the band featuring Russ Ballard from Argent and The Who’s tour guitarist Simon Townshend launch the show with Substitue, a passable cover version. Obviously they didn’t have time to change the setlist since Daltrey stepped down. After only one song Hart leaves the stage (he would return later) to be replaced by a sixties soul singer, which was a pretty forgetful performance. But never fear when…Peter Andre(!?!?!) is on hand. I am in my musical nightmare. He does some soul songs but no self respecting rock fan could have enjoyed it, it seems as though 99% of the audience didn’t know what rock is, so no problem there then.

Steve Harley is on next, the only other ‘rock’ singer here, he sings three songs, including the inevitable Come Up And See Me. Its all rather nice, really but very bland all the same (even blander after seeing a Satriani concert).

Russ Ballard now takes centre stage to sing and play guitar on songs which he has written, the first being Hold Your Head Up by Argent. He then plays Rainbow’s Since You’ve Been Gone, a song he goes out of his way to point out that he wrote. He may have written it but he sure as hell cant play it as Ritchie Blackmore he aint! His solo is sloppy and he’s not a great singer. He goes onto KISS’ God Gave Rock And Roll To You, which again he points out they didn’t write…he did. Again it’s substandard.

The singer from The Stroys comes on and plays Foreigner’s Cold As Ice, its passable.

Robert Hart comes onstage and saves this nosediving concert. A lively version of Can’t Get Enough goes down well showing he may not be Paul Rodgers but that doesn’t matter one bit. Then comes a song that Hart tells the audience Simon’s brother Pete wrote: Pinball Wizard. After that comes another Who song, an epic version of Won’t Get Fooled Again in which you stop caring about Roger Daltrey’s absence. It is superb. As superb as it was you cant help but realise that the band were not ready for Daltrey’s not being there as if the singer for Bad Company turns up, it makes much more sense for him to sing, well, Bad Company songs.

Lulu comes to the stage and from a rock aspect the gig nosedives again, after some of her hits she invites everybody back on stage but it is her and Peter Andre that take centre stage and not Robert Hart, who seems to be in the background.

This concert, which had the potential to be great, produced sub-standard cover versions and was only really saved when Robert Hart returned, who was used to sing songs by the Who and not by his current band, Bad Company (lawsuit pending). But at the end of the day it raised some money for charity, a nice after thought of a concert which was average at the best of times. Afterwards I could only think, why oh why didn’t I choose to see Jason Bonham? I wont make that same mistake twice!

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