Yngwie Malmsteen @ Blender Theater at Gramercy (10/26/2008)

Guitar virtuoso Yngwie J. Malmseen was back in New York City to deliver his smoldering new album with singer Tim “Ripper” Owens as a part of his bands lineup.  The show was held at The Blender Theater and we were on point to bring the scoop to your attention in words and images.  Scroll past the logo below to see our item.

Logo - Yngwie Malmsteen

Artist: Yngwie Malmsteen
Venue: Blender Theater (New York, NY)
Opener: ANJ
Date: 10/26/2008
Label: Rising Force Records

It’s been almost three years since The Big Apple has been able to enjoy a live performance from guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen, and since that last time a number of dramatic changes have taken place in the musician’s career. The first change would come with the closure of record label Spitfire Records which was for a number of years the easiest place for stateside fans to be able to obtain his last batch of recordings. The second biggest change would come when the guitarist chose to replace long time singer Doogie White with the one and only Tim “Ripper” Owens and begin working on a new smoldering release that would be entitled “The Perpetual Flame”. “The Perpetual Flame” would be a special release for other reasons outside of it continuing to remind the music fans about just why we love Yngwie’s playing so much and even about the fact about Ripper being a part of it. You see, this would be the first CD to be released on the musicians own label imprint called “Rising Force Records”. It was a bold move but we can learn more about that at a later date, for now let’s just go over how amazing tonight’s show was in the event that you somehow missed out on it. If you went, let it serve as a reminder.

I arrived to what appeared to be a jam-packed Blender Theater and while I had been to this place on a number of occasions in the past, this was the first time that I ever saw it as crowded as it was now. There was still some room to maneuver about because the opening band was on and their name was ANJ or something like that. I had to admit that I was not all that impressed or even interested in listening to them based on the level of excitement about not only seeing Yngwie again but also about experiencing just how Tim Owens was going to do with his material in this lineup. We have been a proponent of the singers work since he was a member of Judas Priest and while we never caught him performing live with them, we did follow him onto Iced Earth and into his solo band Beyond Fear. Ripper Owens is truly one of the best vocalists in the Heavy Metal business without question. Having briefly heard the new CD based on only getting it a couple of days before I had to say that I was really impressed with how it continued along the path of what we want from a performer like Yngwie. He had gone back more to form with his “Unleash The Fury” release a couple of years ago and with it was also able to get a whole new generation of younger fans into his music based on the overall positive reception of the recording.

The Master opened the performance with a kick ass rendition of “Death Dealer” from the new album and for the most part the set list would focus on the material from “The Perpetual Flame” and this made sense for the most part because with its being the first release on his new label brand you really want to make sure that you are impressing the audiences with what appears on it. The mood in the now full capacity venue was nothing less than electric as the guitar wizard defied conventions with his always exciting Neo-Classical style of playing. He was all about the acrobatics this evening as well and not only was playing his heart out but also tossing and flipping the guitar around like it weighed nothing. As I watched from the sidelines I was sure that those in the front thought that the axe was going to come flying at them on a number of occasions. Lucky for everyone that didn’t happen, but it sure did make the night a visually exhilarating experience. I had to say that as excited as I was about seeing Yngwie up close once again I was super psyched to see Ripper and was happy to be able to report about just how incredible he still is at the craft. The man has been something of a journeyman of late and doing a lot of different things with each one only adding to an already super powered resume. The material on the new CD seemed to cater perfectly to his voice and that made the whole show work out all the more. The crowd was very into him as well and was responding to his stage banter and theatrics. I am not sure how long the guitarist and singer will be working together but I had to say that I was sure hoping that this would not be the only time that this was going to happen. It was just working out too well in my opinion to find this being the case.

Joining Yngwie in the band were also Michael Troy (keys), Bjorn Englen (bass), and Patrick Johansson (drums) who were all providing levels of kick ass musicianship this evening. They were also great players but it seemed as though the focus was primarily directed on the fingers of Mr. Malmsteen as they dealt out note after blistering note. Yngwie was also tossing a large amount of guitar picks out to the crowd almost consistently throughout the show and that meant that a number of fans left the venue with very cool physical memories of the gig should they have caught one. While he did deliver several of the legacy hits that I have held special to my musical ear for decades this evening with “I Am A Viking”, “You Don’t Remember” and of course the rousing closer of “I’ll See The Light Tonight”, I had to admit that I was a bit disappointed in their omitting one of the standout numbers from the new CD which comes by way of “Be Careful What You Wish For”. To me, this is the “single” or “radio worthy” track on the release and one of my favorites from “The Perpetual Flame”. Maybe the next time around they will add it to the set.

I had to say that this was a killer night of music from a truly legendary guitar wizard whose influence on the craft has inspired more up and coming and professional players than can be counted. I also really enjoyed seeing Ripper back in action again and hope that while he might do more with Yngwie that we also get to see his Beyond Fear project again soon. After the show the band members were mingling in the downstairs area of the venue and some of the fans who stuck around were able to meet them and talk about the show. Good luck with the new label Yngwie and Tim good luck in this new adventure in your career.

Set list:
1. Death Dealer
2. Never Die
3. Damnation Game
4. Badinere
5. Crown Of Thorns
6. Far Beyond The Sun
7. Live To Fight Another Day
8. Paraphrase (acoustic)
9. Dreaming (acoustic)
10. Caprici Di Diablo (Masqurade Ending)
11. I Am A Viking
12. Red Devil
13. Trilogy
14. Guitar Solo
15. Magic City
16. The Fugure/Guitar Ending
17. Drum Solo
18. You Don’t Remember
19. Black Star (acoustic) – encore
20. I’ll See The Light Tonight – encore

Official Website: http://www.yngwiemalmsteen.com

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