Artist: Yngwie Malmsteen
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club – NYC
Opener: Orange Sky
Label: Spitfire Records
Yngwie Malmsteen is a legend in the halls of Rock guitar and as I have enjoyed his music for many years this was set to be a very cool memory to my concert coverage. As this was his first solo tour in some years there was something special about seeing his name up on the B.B. King marquee. When I shot my photo of this site I realized that while a fan of his playing that it would be the first time that I would see Yngwie perform in over 15 years. Outside of appearances on the G3 Tours, he did not perform solo shows very often. In 2005; Yngwie found a return to his classic style with his CD release “Unleash The Fury” and he would also make available his “Concierto For Electric Guitar” DVD. Both of these killer products came to the public care of Eagle Rock Entertainment and Spitfire Records. These added to the general Yngwie buzz and when announcements for the solo touring became news the shows sold out in minutes. If you were not on top of things you would sadly be one of those who missed out on a great evening of music.
Kicking off the show would be The Orange Sky and they would be the only band performing with Yngwie tonight. I welcomed the change from 5 opening bands to only one as these all nighter shows on weeknights really take a toll on you after awhile. Orange Sky hails from Trinidad and Tobago and this Granite Records recording artist brings you a very interesting musical demonstration. The five member group plays good hard rock but mixes it with a very Caribbean feel. Delivering a healthy sampling of their debut release “Upstairs” the guys went over very well and much better than I expected in a room full of Yngwie die hards. Usually when there is one main band the opener often suffers the lack of interest in the audience. This was not to be the case tonight and this group surely made a number of new fans. Highlight of the bands set included “Alone”, “Escape”, “Beautiful Day” and a cover of Bob Marley’s “Get Up Stand Up”. Progressive Rock fans should be aware that the group is produced by Kansas’ own Phil Ehart, a legend in his own right. I look forward to seeing them again and hopefully soon.
Now it was time for Yngwie J. Malmsteen to take the stage and there was a level of electricity in the air which I have felt especially at shows of this magnitude. The venue was packed to the walls and since B.B.’s holds about a thousand people when no tables are set up this was an amazing aspect. The audience also ranged from the clearly old school fan from back in the day to a large amount of younger attendees. Many years ago I remembered listening to Yngwie and having a good friend look me in the eye and proclaim “Yngwie is God!!!” tonight that same person who said that would be my guest. I almost dropped my drink when he came over to me and said he has been talking to one of the younger fans who looked him dead in the eye and said “Yngwie Is God”. Truly the circle is not only complete but continues its run. This comment was to be the testament of the evening’s music for as soon as Malmsteen hit the stage it was a blue of Rock and Roll spectacle and guitar virtuosity. The man looked better and healthier than I had seen him and the capacity crowd seemed to instill a renewed sense of energy in his playing. The guitar was being shred tonight and all eyes were glued to him. After watching from the middle of the floor some songs, we maneuvered to side stage and got a great view of everyone and were able to give high fives to singer Doogie White who would end up down there when Yngwie needed to command the stage on his own. He was incredibly impressed with the attendance and said it was his first time in New York; surely this would go down in his memory as an amazing night as well.
Yngwie’s new CD is a return to form to what made him great musically and while it shows maturity is also brings you something familiar. His set would contain a number of songs from this new release and a classical piece performed against a recorded track from his “Concerto” DVD. I would have liked to hear a couple of more tracks from “Marching Out” but his catalog is so extensive now that this is impossible to satisfy everyone’s request. The setting of the stage was a literal wall of Marshall amps and it was an impressive site to behold. The entire band was on point and it was clear that as the smoke machines pumped their last burst that Yngwie is deserving of all the acclaim that he has garnered over the years. As the crowd filtered out of the venue everyone had wide eyes and still dropped jaws but the one thing that was very clear from all involved as they talked and discussed the evening. Yngwie is God. The cycle continues.
Photo Notes: I love B.B. King’s as an intimate venue but it is always arduous when there is no photo pit set up. The lighting can be difficult unless you have super powered gear and when you are stuck further away this can compromise the evenings photographs. As a result Nell was only able to get a dozen or so photos from the show.
1. Rising Force
2. Demon Driver
3. Locked & Loaded
5. Far & Beyond
7. Never Die
11. Rise Up
12. Trilogy – Solo – Red House
14. You Don’t Remember
15. Black Star
16. I’ll See The Light Tonight – encore