Went to the fantastic George Lynch and Yngwie Malmsteen show Sunday at the Key Club in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip. Famed stomping grounds (when it was called Gazzariâ€™s) of all those 80â€™s hard rock and metal bands and others such as Van Halen, I had not been to the venue since the summer of 1988. That evening I saw about 8 bands, all sounding alike and looking alike and for me that was it. But back to the present, George Lynch hit the stage, looking tanned and healthy as he always does and sounding magnificent. His band sounded great and his set was a mix of Dokken and Lynch Mob and Lynch solo songs, but strangely nothing off the excellent second Lynch Mob album! His band included former Racer X drummer Jeff Martin and well known traveling vocalist Kelly Keelingâ€¦..who Iâ€™d forgotten was in the bandâ€¦more on this later. The drummer Martin got in some cool Glenn Hughes style screams and added a lot vocally to the band. The thing though about Lynch though is that he rarely looks at the crowd, constantly stares at his guitar, so he is sort of like Ritchie Blackmore that way. Halfway through his set, Lynch came to the mic and saidâ€? Weâ€™re going to do something thatâ€™s really gonna piss you guys off, but we donâ€™t care, weâ€™re doing this for us.â€? With those words a couple of rappers came to the stage, one white and one I think was blackâ€¦.Iâ€™ve already forgottenâ€¦..They did the title track of Lynchâ€™s Smoke Thisâ€¦.and you know what, this was the coolest song of the night!!!!! It was an excellent metal/rap hybrid like Kid Rock or any new metal band or Anthrax does, but without the annoying screamingâ€¦..in fact it wasnâ€™t annoying at all like most songs of that genre. This was a cool song, and I found myself headbanging along to it. Thought I would hate it but this was great! A funny thing happened towards the end of the set, I turn around after being tapped on the shoulder, and see a familiar faceâ€¦..The face and hair of Maidenâ€™s Dave Murray, but waitâ€¦..this guy only looks exactly like Dave Murrayâ€¦..No in fact itâ€™s an old friend Dan from high school, who I havenâ€™t seen in at least 14 yearsâ€¦..and have lost all contact with. He looks exactly the sameâ€¦.He was one of my best friends so it was heartwarming to meet up again and catch up. After Lynchâ€™s gear was cleared off the stage, it seemed like it took an eternity for Yngwie to hit the stageâ€¦..Not sure what the problem was or if he was just pulling a Blackmoreâ€¦.but itâ€™s a real drag to wait so long when everything is ready and these days it doesnâ€™t ever seem to happen except here it did. Seems like itâ€™s just an ego thing to meâ€¦.Maybe he wasnâ€™t warmed up yet. The band hit the stage with Rising Force of the Odyssey album and the sound was muddy at first but gradually cleared up. Doogie Whiteâ€™s vocals were in fine form throughout the nightâ€¦..I kept thinking that it was almost seven years to the day that he was on the same stage with Ritchie Blackmoreâ€¦..which I sadly missed because I was gigging on a cruise ship. Doogie never got hoarse the entire night and stayed faithful to all the vocalists he had to copy. The only one he couldnâ€™t pull off was the Graham Bonnet vocal on Alcatrazâ€™s Hiroshimaâ€¦.he simply had to use his falsetto and scream through the high parts and it didnâ€™t sound right. I donâ€™t even think Glenn Hughes or anybody else can sing GB vocals either so itâ€™s no knock on Doogie that he struggled with the song. What can I say about Yngwie? Heâ€™s been a favorite of mine for over 20 years and this show was just simply probably the most technically proficient guitar playing Iâ€™ve ever seen in my whole life except for Steve Vai or Eddie Van Halen! And even though he seems to play a million notes on every song, there were plenty of beautiful slow passages and melodies through out the nightâ€¦.Yngwie can play slow too.The guyâ€™s tone, sound and vibrato are just awesome. His stage presence too is commandingâ€¦.and he looks like heâ€™s having fun and he looks right at the audience too alotâ€¦..not like floor starers Blackmore or George Lynch. The songs played throughout the night were from the albums Trilogy, Odyssey, Marching Out and one from the first Rising Force. The bulk of the set was from the excellent new album Attack. In retrospect itâ€™s disappointing no songs from the excellent 1997 masterpiece Facing the Animal were heard or any other 90â€™s albums for that matter but the show was almost three hours long so it would have been impossible anyway. Walking in to the venue I spotted former Yngwie vocalist Jeff Scott Soto and his guitarist Howie Simonâ€¦.Still, what a surprising thrill it was when Yngwie introduced Jeff to the audience as his old friendâ€¦..Doogie then said, â€œIâ€™m gonna get my ass kicked now!â€?. Then the band launched into the classic Iâ€™ll See the Light Tonight. JSS was in fine form, hitting every note like the recordâ€¦.even though itâ€™s been 19 years since it was done. This guy still has it! What a great performance from him! Doogie helped out on one of the verses and the choruses. I give thumbs up to the awesome Patrick Johanssen on drumsâ€¦I love his performance on Attack and he is a great drummer. The newboy Joakim Svalberg on keyboardsâ€¦is another technical virtuouso with loads of technique in the Swedish tradition. Another great thing about this show was seeing bassist Rudy Sarzoâ€¦always one of my favorites and watching him play those fast bass lines with his fingers!!!! No pick man!!! This was the fourth band Iâ€™ve seen him with. During most of Yngwieâ€™s lengthy instrumentals, Sarzo just stood in the background watching with a smile on his faceâ€¦.Great to see him onboard. The only complaint I have about this show is that there was what seemed like the equivalent of an entire G3 segmentâ€¦.where Doogie probably had time to stroll down the street to the Rainbow for a full meal and some alesâ€¦..Seemed like about 30 minutesâ€¦.I love the instrumental stuff but live for the vocal tunesâ€¦.that segment was way too long. Still Yngwie and his band played for almost three hours so nothing was cut from the rest of the show! And another thingâ€¦..Yngwie seems to have really mellowed out. Even though some arseholes in the front of the stage kept pulling his mic stand off the stage to get at the pics that were on itâ€¦.and someone even pressed one of his pedals during a soloâ€¦.Yngwie never went off about it. He did lecture the stupid losers that were doing thisâ€¦.that he was gonna come kick their ass. But honestly I fully expected him to â€œunleash the furyâ€? and he never did (especially when his guitar roadie got his way once). He even played the last encores despite the fact that people kept pulling the mic stand off the stage and it was pissing him off. Being six feet tall, I almost always make eye contact with the band membersâ€¦I was in the front of the stage but on the side. So favorite moments were Doogie seeing me screaming and pointing the mic at me and also looking right at me and singing to me when he noticed me singing along to the prechorus of Valhalla word for word. Also gave a thumbs up to Patrick who gave me the same back.
After the show was over I went downstairs with my newly refound friend Dan and checked out the other clubâ€¦.wow dancing topless girlsâ€¦.and got to talk with Ring of Fire vocalist and ex Yngwie Mark Boals! Then, Kelly Keeling came in and I spent a lengthy amonut of time speaking with him about his work cowriting on the new Dokken album, which he says is going to be the best ever. It was cool to hear him tell tales of John Norum and working on the Worlds Away album and he said his new solo album will have Carmine and Vinnie Appice together on the same song! I feel like a total idiot, because I was introduced to Kellyâ€¦..hey this is Kellyâ€¦but I didnâ€™t know it was the Kelly Keelingâ€¦.until halfway through the conversationâ€¦.when he said his last name. He didnâ€™t seem to mindâ€¦I guess I gotta research whoâ€™s in what band better the next time I go see someone like George Lynchâ€¦.I know I read on Blabbermouth that Kelly was in the band too but I forgot. And I have a couple of CDâ€™s with him on it but havenâ€™t listened to them latelyâ€¦.so I didnâ€™t even know what he looks like! Oh and another cool thing was singing some Glenn Hughes stuff like a few bars of Face the Truth with him acappella! All in all a great night and a good time was had by all. Pics to follow..
Set list George Lynch
Unchain The Night
Flesh And Blood)
River Of Love
Breaking The Chains
Breath And A Scream)
When Heaven Comes Down
For A Million Years
Kiss Of Death
*I Will Remember
*Mr. Scary (instrumental)-->
Tooth And Nail
1. Rising Force
2. Ship of Fools
3. Rise Up
5. Yngwie solo/ Baroque and Roll
6. Acoustic Solo/Dreaming
7. In the Name of God
8. Trilogy Suite Op:5
9. You Donâ€™t Remember/Smoke on the Water
10. Razor Eater
12. Solo section
13. Icarus' Dream Suite Op:4 (Just the intro)
14. Far Beyond the Sun
16. Iâ€™ll See the Light Tonight
Thanks John for the excellent and detailed review. Sounds like it was a great night, with certainly plenty of highlights. There's even an HTP connection in there!
Joakim Svalberg was on keys with them during the 2002 Euro tour and if he wasn't already on the road with Yngwie this time around, he'd probably be playing with Glenn and Joe right now!
Small world, eh
I wasn't there. And I should have been.
I really really really must get a digital camera...the machine at the drugstore is broken so I still have to wait.....I hate this! I'm getting one PRONTO.
Looking forward to your pictures John, but I came across this one - what the heck has happened to Yngwie? When's his baby due
It is pretty sad when I think of what he looked like during the Odyssey days....He needs to see a certain Barracuda singer's doctor.
Hey John- Thanks so much for the review- would love to have seen this show- missed it (work) here in Houston a couple weeks back. Malmsteen's new album has been in my car for weeks- LOVE "Valhalla" Doogie's best work- maybe ever.