Review George Lynch/Yngwie 14 March Key Club

  • 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 Gazzari’s) of all those 80’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 Keeling…..who I’d forgotten was in the band…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€? We’re going to do something that’s really gonna piss you guys off, but we don’t care, we’re doing this for us.â€? With those words a couple of rappers came to the stage, one white and one I think was black….I’ve already forgotten…..They did the title track of Lynch’s Smoke This….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 screaming…..in fact it wasn’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 face…..The face and hair of Maiden’s Dave Murray, but wait…..this guy only looks exactly like Dave Murray…..No in fact it’s an old friend Dan from high school, who I haven’t seen in at least 14 years…..and have lost all contact with. He looks exactly the same….He was one of my best friends so it was heartwarming to meet up again and catch up. After Lynch’s gear was cleared off the stage, it seemed like it took an eternity for Yngwie to hit the stage…..Not sure what the problem was or if he was just pulling a Blackmore….but it’s a real drag to wait so long when everything is ready and these days it doesn’t ever seem to happen except here it did. Seems like it’s just an ego thing to me….Maybe he wasn’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 White’s vocals were in fine form throughout the night…..I kept thinking that it was almost seven years to the day that he was on the same stage with Ritchie Blackmore…..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 couldn’t pull off was the Graham Bonnet vocal on Alcatraz’s Hiroshima….he simply had to use his falsetto and scream through the high parts and it didn’t sound right. I don’t even think Glenn Hughes or anybody else can sing GB vocals either so it’s no knock on Doogie that he struggled with the song. What can I say about Yngwie? He’s been a favorite of mine for over 20 years and this show was just simply probably the most technically proficient guitar playing I’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 night….Yngwie can play slow too.The guy’s tone, sound and vibrato are just awesome. His stage presence too is commanding….and he looks like he’s having fun and he looks right at the audience too alot…..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 it’s disappointing no songs from the excellent 1997 masterpiece Facing the Animal were heard or any other 90’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 Simon….Still, what a surprising thrill it was when Yngwie introduced Jeff to the audience as his old friend…..Doogie then said, “I’m gonna get my ass kicked now!â€?. Then the band launched into the classic I’ll See the Light Tonight. JSS was in fine form, hitting every note like the record….even though it’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 drums…I love his performance on Attack and he is a great drummer. The newboy Joakim Svalberg on keyboards…is another technical virtuouso with loads of technique in the Swedish tradition. Another great thing about this show was seeing bassist Rudy Sarzo…always one of my favorites and watching him play those fast bass lines with his fingers!!!! No pick man!!! This was the fourth band I’ve seen him with. During most of Yngwie’s lengthy instrumentals, Sarzo just stood in the background watching with a smile on his face….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 segment….where Doogie probably had time to stroll down the street to the Rainbow for a full meal and some ales…..Seemed like about 30 minutes….I love the instrumental stuff but live for the vocal tunes….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 thing…..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 it….and someone even pressed one of his pedals during a solo….Yngwie never went off about it. He did lecture the stupid losers that were doing this….that he was gonna come kick their ass. But honestly I fully expected him to “unleash 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 members…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 club….wow dancing topless girls….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 Kelly…..hey this is Kelly…but I didn’t know it was the Kelly Keeling….until halfway through the conversation….when he said his last name. He didn’t seem to mind…I guess I gotta research who’s in what band better the next time I go see someone like George Lynch….I know I read on Blabbermouth that Kelly was in the band too but I forgot. And I have a couple of CD’s with him on it but haven’t listened to them lately….so I didn’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..

    John H

    Set list George Lynch

    Unchain The Night
    Flesh And Blood)
    River Of Love
    Breaking The Chains
    Breath And A Scream)
    Smoke This
    When Heaven Comes Down
    For A Million Years
    Kiss Of Death
    *I Will Remember
    *Mr. Scary (instrumental)-->
    Wicked Sensation
    Tooth And Nail

    Yngwie Setlist
    1. Rising Force
    2. Ship of Fools
    3. Rise Up
    4. Sronghold
    5. Yngwie solo/ Baroque and Roll
    6. Acoustic Solo/Dreaming
    7. In the Name of God
    8. Trilogy Suite Op:5
    9. You Don’t Remember/Smoke on the Water
    10. Razor Eater
    11. Valhalla
    12. Solo section
    13. Icarus' Dream Suite Op:4 (Just the intro)
    14. Far Beyond the Sun
    15. Hiroshima
    16. I’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 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.

    JOHN

  • 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.

    JH

  • 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.
    Mark

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