Marhall Amplification…50 Years of Loud Live

22nd September 2012,

After the terribly sad passing away of company founder Jim Marshall earlier this year, tonight’s celebration of all things LOUD is is less a celebration of Marshall’s ass kicking amplification it was envisaged to be. Instead it was a fitting and emotional posthumous eulogy to the Lord of Loud. A last hurrah from Jim’s closest friends and industry allies to turn it to 11 one last time in the name of rock and roll, many of whom are now brand ambassadors. Tonight saw a unique line up of music legends collaborating in a star studded show the likes of which are usually reserved for staving African children. No tonight…

“This one’s for Jim!”

Tonight was hosted by 2 men on opposite ends of the professional drumming scale. Our comedic compère Al “Pub Landlord” Murray was all British Pride and Glory keeping the insults flying all night, while Jim’s close family friend, Iron Maiden’s Nicko McBrian, brought an emotional and personal edge to proceedings. With the guitar stars out in full force, each jumping on and off stage to play some of the greatest cover versions from the rock gods of yesteryear, it was a) hard to keep up and b) absolutely mesmerizing!!!

Nicko McBrain

Al Murray also pointed out that tonight we were probably going to hear many, many extended outro’s, probably the longest in history of the world. He wasn’t wrong, but the joy brought by these virtuoso’s playing at the top of their games was overwhelming! A stunning shred here, tap solo there, wailing wah-wah’s, stellar string bends and thunderous power chords were never more than a moment away on a special night of rock!

In order to cover the highlights of this 3 hour spectacular, I’ll pick out the highlights…

Whitesnake man Doug Aldrich slung his Gold Top Gibson Les Paul axe plugging into his Marshll stack with pride, as her punched ace classic rock, while Judas Priest front man Tim ‘The Ripper’ Owens provided vocals on Judas classic Living After Midnight. Doug’s measured melodic playing was soulful and careful, with any flashy solo’s always retaining a harmonious and catchy vibe.

Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake) & Tim ‘The Ripper’ Owens (Judas Priest)

The Trio of classic rock covers from Paul Gilbert paid homage to the old masters, adding in some of his trademark shreddy fret runs whist retaining the hard rock backbone of the originals. The highlight being Jimi Hendrix’s Manic Depression, played with such soul, flair and exuberance it was impossible to fault.

Paul Gilbert 

A heavier edge soon arrived in the shape of Phil Campbell of Motorhead who gave the crowd what exactly they wanted, “The Ace Of Spades, The Ace Of Spades“.  Slayer’s bad-ass beardy metal guru Kerry King jumped at the chance of being a part of this truly explosive 3 minutes of out and out chugtastic handbanger.

Kerry King

Kerry King continued on more a metal mayhem tornado as he ripped through some classic Judas Priest sung with ‘The Ripper‘ himself.

Phill Campbell  & Corey Taylor

Vocalist of the night goes to the magnificent Corey Taylor. His octave range was unparalleled and ambiguous style shifts saw him howling a beautiful bluesy Thin Lizzy cover (w. Phil Campbell) of Still In Love With You, gutteral screams on the Pantera’s metaltastic Mouth for War and many other soaring hard rock numbers throughout the show. My expectations of him were well and truly blown skywards.

Corey Taylor & Billy Duffy (The Cult)

The fastest fingers of the night goes to Scandinavian flash lightning string striker that is, Yngwie Johan Malmsteen. Such speed combined with ‘arpeggio’s from hell’ left most onlookers stunned with awe. Not the most tuneful portion of the night but by damn this man doe not do half measures.

Yngwie Malmsteen

My personal guitar hero stepped up to the plate next, Joe Satriani. He kicked off with the fantastic Satch Boogie and then put in the song of the night, the emotion packed soaring instrumental Always With You , Always with Me, which stole the show with its beauty, heart and soul, without having to turn that dial to 11.

Joe Satriani

Joined by his G3 running mate Paul Gilbert they kicked a cool duelling jam called Going Down. Sharing the stage were two of my icons, this was true guitar heaven!!

Gilbert & Satch = Guitar Ecstasy

For the final set, we were greeted by former Deep Purple and Black Sabbath front man and current Black Country Communion, “The Voice of Rock” Glenn Hughes. Boy this bloke has a set of pipes! His range was outstanding and varied, I’m sure however a few notes were so high to be only audible by our canine friends.

Rounded out with a full ensemble the likes of which will never be seen again for a rip roaring rendition of Smoke on the Water. For completeness here is the full star studded cast of this outstanding hard rock rendition (including those I’ve glossed over in the aid of time):  Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Malmsteen, Corey Taylor, Doug Aldrich, Billy Duffy (Guitar – The Cult), Phil Campbell, Kerry King, Mike Portnoy (Drums – Dream Theatre), Nikko McBrain, Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne & Black Label Society), Fraser (Bassist – Free), Tichy (Drums – Whitesnake/Ozzy/Slash/Foreigner), Adam Wakeman (Ozzy Osbourne) and the man who put this choreographed the whole show, Marshall demonstrator (since the age of 17) Chris George.

You’ll never see this again!!! Fact!!!

P.S. As I sped through the proceedings, the best of the rest includes:

Zakk Wylde stomping out some corking Black Sabbath covers despite having the single most annoying voice in the building tonight.
Al Murray playing the most underwhelming but most enthusiastically cheered drum solo.
Mike Portnoy and Nicko McBrain jumping on and off the drum kit for the odd song or two.
Free Bassist Andy Fraser looking either aged and senile or totally plastered as he joined Glenn Hughes.
The magnificent House Band who played for the full 3 hour spectacular including the spectacular drumming of Brian Tichy and guitar work of Chris George