Paul Gilbert - European Tour 2008 - Tallinn, Estonia, 4th October 2008

Event: Paul Gilbert
Written by: .mrt
Published: 16.10.2008


Paul Gilbert - Rock Cafe, Tallinn, Estonia, 04.10.2008 by Ivor (18)

Some people know the magic of vibrating strings and conjure even a song or two from the object at hand, but then there are few rare warlocks that have the power to exorcise heavenly melodies from their instruments of power that compel even the other masters of such dark arts to nod their heads and divulge minor praise. As for the rest of us, the string-wizard sounds simply awesome. So, when such virtuoso's orbit happens to reach perigee almost at your doorstep, a decent melomaniac such as myself will attend to the house of worship and scream from the depths of his/her lungs: "Yeeaaaahhh!"

Well, I guess it's not hard to guess that the instrument of power is guitar and the wizard is Paul Gilbert who is on the European Tour playing astonishing 57 gigs not only in the European capitals but really all around. That's 7 shows in Spain, 10 in the UK, 4 in France, 3 in the Netherlands, and so on. It is also the first time we have had Mr. Gilbert here in Estonia and I must say the audience loved him. I believe there will be quite a few first-time landings on his magical carpet (how else are wizards supposed to travel?) during this grand tour, so I hope everyone of you, dear metalstormers, are able to attend one of his gigs because it's well worth your time.

I must say that I was surprised to learn that Tallinn's gig had the age limit of 18. Even now after the show I cannot understand this discrimination of melomaniac youth. It is well known practice by now in Rock Cafe that alcohol is served on the balcony and the floor is, among others, available to teenagers. Not this time, though. However, this kind of rude regulation would have been redeemed by some stripping young girls dancing around the posts of the venue but no such thing happened, of course. Rather disappointing, I must say. But as the stage got quiet and the lights dimmed, I remembered the real reason I was there.

There was no warm-up artist but frankly the "honorary dean" didn't really need any warming. The entrance was surprisingly unspectacular; the band simply walked on stage, greeted the audience and started playing "Hurry Up" which is one of my favorites from Gilbert's repertoire. We have Jeff Bowders on drums, Craig Martini on the electric bass guitar and vocals, Paul's lovely wife Emi Gilbert on keyboards, cowbell and vocals, and of course Paul himself. When you go to enjoy such an artist then you don't expect much vocals but I was a bit surprised when it came down to 50/50 on the instrumental and vocal pieces. Although, I prefer instrumental pieces.

To be honest, it would not be difficult to find bigger Gilbert fans than me as I started listening to him just recently, mainly to get the picture of his works. I must say that Gilbert has evolved considerably during the years. Mr. Big was a pop project and in my opinion it was holding Gilbert back, so the decision to dismantle the band in 2002 was the right choice. It gave the band's bassist Billy Sheehan the chance to join Steve Vai's band and you may have seen him also in Tallinn in 2005. The brake-up of Mr. Big also gave Gilbert a chance to concentrate on his solo project. Gilbert's work in this century is definitely more mature and technical. He has concentrated more on melodic metal with influences from blues, rock, funk and even classical music. In fact, even during the Tallinn's gig you could spot a couple of classical tunes woven into some jams, or perhaps ending a song. Unfortunately I can't point out the specific composer, perhaps Mozart. Nonetheless, it was cool to get this joy of recognition.

As the show moved on through "Jackhammer," "Burning Organ" and "Bronze 1971" I was more and more amazed how those big rectangular headphones managed to cling on to Paul's head as he vibrated it quite rapidly almost all the time. It was fun to watch him stand just in one place and still the best word to describe him was "dynamic." Another word coming to mind was "happy" as he also declared a couple of times from the stage and, in fact, the whole band seemed really relaxed and enjoying themselves. I guess it's the only way if you are going to be on tour for 3 months and almost every evening you have a stage to conquer.

We got a whole range of songs that showed the wide vocabulary of Gilbert: from Mr. Big's "Green Tinted Sixties Mind" to Racer X's "Technical Difficulties." The latter from the album with the same title, the year was 2000. I could even speculate that the very same song was one that got Paul thinking about his solo career more seriously, as it is quite definitely one frakin' cool piece of progressive metal and a great example of Paul's virtuosity. There were a couple of songs from Paul's last instrumental album as well that he was also unable to leave unmentioned - "Silence Followed By a Deafening Roar." In fact, he declared the name of the album so many times that it really began to annoy me. Enough with the marketing! Or perhaps it's just the American way.

After some more marketing, suddenly the only man left on the stage was Jeff Bowders who gave us a cool drum solo, then we got a little "conversation" between Emi on the keyboards and Paul on the guitar and at some point Craig and Paul got a couple of cordless drills to"shred" their guitar strings. What show offs, but it was a fun experience to watch. The whole show was.

I didn't expect much because I had listened too much of Paul's previous century material and it wasn't all that impressing. The show made me change my mind and now I'm enjoying this century full on. So, I would definitely suggest to get acquainted with Paul's latest material and see why he was nominated as one of the "Top Shredders of All Time."


Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 70 users
19.10.2008 - 18:47
Damn, wish I were there. Did he play Street Lethal?
21.10.2008 - 01:22
22.10.2008 - 06:27
LeChron James
Bolt-on neck? interesting...
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