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While in high school discovering and developing my own personal music taste, I gravitated towards music that was guitar driven. A lot of hair metal and classic rock was blasting through my headphones. With the love of this music, I slowly started discovering and finding some of the greatest guitar gods in the music world. Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, Paul Gilbert of Mr. Big, Joe Satriani of Joe Satriani, and eventually found myself hearing the name Yngwie Malmsteen. It wasn’t just Yngwie’s music that caused my jaw to hit the floor, I even found guitar instructional videos made by Yngwie. Seeing this man so casual talk about scales and warm up exercises, then seeing his fingers waltz across the guitar neck with ease blew my mind as I couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing. That was a couple decades ago, and it is only now in 2023 that I am having the chance to see this legend live. Coming to the House of Blues Anaheim, and bringing with him other legends od the music industry with the likes of Glenn Hughes, Gilby Clarke, and Steve Ramone.

Opening the night was a Chicago native known as Steve Ramone. Steve handles guitar duties, vocal duties, and showmanship duties as he was dancing and smiling all over the stage. Steve couldn’t be contained behind his mic, and would constantly boogey up to his band members to jam with them through out the set. Steve blends his melodic vocals with a up beat musical track, and spitfire guitar solos, to bring songs that just make you bop out in the crowd. He recently released his debut album Chasing Daylight, and most of his songs played this night were from this album. Sadly, I was not able to get the setlist, but the album is available on Spotify and would highly recommend giving it a listen.

Up next is a man who isn’t actually part of this tour. He was added on for a special one night event at the Anaheim, CA stop of the tour. That being former Guns N Roses member, Gilby Clarke. Now most people know him from GnR, but I was first introduced to him through the reality singing competition show Rock Star: Supernova. Though that band was short lived, I never forgot the name and was always hopeful to see him live. I felt incredibly fortunate that he was added to this tour for the night, as Gilby shows he’s more than just a talented guitar player by pulling double duty on vocals as well.  Though singing kept Gilby locked behind the mic for most of the song, he would not miss any opportunity to come to the front of the stage to rip a tasty guitar solo in every song. Backed by EJ Curse on bass who was almost single handedly holding down the showmanship of the band while Gilby was stuck behind the mic. Curse was playing it up to the crowd, bashing the bass against his head, and locking eyes with every person in the crowd to get them hyped up. Gilby Clarke played a solid set of original hard rock songs that I sadly did not get the names of either. But Gilby Clarke continues to prove to me that he is an unappreciated guitar master that tends to fly under people’s radars.

Up next was a musician that I feel embodies the phrase “The Man. The Myth. The Legend.” That being the legendary Glenn Hughes. I was fortunate enough to meet him at NAMM 2020, before the pandemic hit, but only knew his name in passing. This was my first true experience, and I was not prepared for the sheer talent this man possesses. We were in for a treat as Glenn’s set consisted of some of Deep Purple’s biggest hits that he helped write when he was in the band. Opening the night with “Stormbringer,” Glenn was all style with his velvet suit adorned with flowers on the legs, and had his bass mixed right up front as he plucked away on it. The funk vibes that he can pull out of his bass and blend them into the rock style of Deep Purple just pulls you into the music and makes you want to groove. Glenn isn’t just a master of the bass, his powerful vocal lines would have blown my toupee off, if I didn’t have real hair. He also could not be kept in one place. Getting right up to the foot of the stage to perform for the fans, and booging around the stage whenever not stuck behind the microphone. Glenn Hughes only played a eight song set, but they turned the House of Blues into a jam session as every song went on for about 10 minutes each, which songs like “Might Just Take Your Life,” “Sail Away,” “Mistreated,” “Getting’ Tighter,” “You Keep on Moving,” “Highway Star,” and ending with “Burn.” You always hear about singers having the voice of a generation, and Robert Plant is normally a person that people hold to that regard. I would like to throw Glenn Hughes in for the running along side Robert Plant. The energy, the emotion, and the raw power behind Glenn’s voice could move a man to tears hearing it live.

As we patiently waited Yngwie Malmsteen to hit the stage, the back line of the stage was lined with a wall of amps! Stacks of amps, heads, and cabinets towered over the stage. Yngwie was going to make sure you heard every note he was going to hit. Opening the night with “Rising Force,” Yngwie still looks as good as he did all those years ago. Dressed in tight black leather pants, and a frilly loose black button down shirt, opened at the top, with cross jewelry dangling all over his body. The man has a look, and he continues to make it work for him. Yngwie is also a man of few words, instead letting his fingers do the talking for him. As he plays each song, his fingers look like they are waltzing across the fret board with ease. The man makes shred and speed metal look flawless and like it’s the easiest thing in the word to do. Most guitarist performing shred style licks are locked into place on stage as they concentrate on what they must play. Not Yngwie. He is so well rehearsed and in sync with his instrument that he is running across the stage, throwing his guitar around his neck, and posing constantly for the audience to take in his greatness. Not only is Yngwie stealing the show as a phenomenal guitarist, he is doing so playing a two hour set consisting of 22 songs including his classics like “Soldier,” “Like an Angel (For April),” “Relentless Fury,” “Wolves at the Door,” “(Si Vis Pacem) Parabellum,” “Badinerie,” “Seventh Sign,” “Toccata,” “Evil Eye,” “Trilogy (Vengeance),” “Blue,” “Fugue – Noise,” “You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget,” and ending with a two song encore that included an Acoustic Guitar Solo and finally “Black Star.” Yngwie Malmsteen is a work horse of a musician, crafting mind blowing solo’s and still managing to be entertaining as a performer. I finally get to see why he is placed on such a high pedestal.

 I walked into the House of Blues Anaheim ready for a night of classic rock and metal with legends, and I am so glad I had the chance to do so. Glenn Hughes and Yngwie Malmsteen live up to their rock god status and continue to blow peoples minds. Gilby Clarke was also such a pleasant surprise to finally get the chance to see as well. Classic Rock creating a plethora of rockstars, but this night wasn’t a night of rockstars. This was a night of rock gods who helped define what rock is throughout the 70s & 80s. It is a blessing to see them still touring and being able to put on amazing shows night after night

Matt Martinez

Editor - Orange County

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