Went to this show on June 12th, 2014. I could not have walked away any more satisfied. These tickets were a gift for my dad’s birthday, as he is a huge Yngwie Malmsteen fan, and I was very happy to see such a big smile on his face during and after the show! We were also lucky enough to score a meet and greet with Gary Hoey and Bumblefoot.
Getting to the Show
Being from South Jersey, I was dismayed to find that the Guitar Gods tour was not coming anywhere within a half hour from me. I expected maybe the Tower Theater or Theater of the Living Arts (TLA) in Philadelphia. Alas, I ended up buying tickets from the F. M. Kirby Center in Wilkes Barre, PA. This was about a 2 hour drive from my home; with all the excitement from the show, it felt very quick. Being so far from home, we ended up staying the night at the Best Western Hotel across the street from the venue. The hotel was beautiful and certainly the nicest Best Western that I have ever encountered. It also turns out that the artists were staying here as well – we saw Gary Hoey in the elevator! The venue itself was quite a gem. The staff were all extremely friendly, and the venue was beautifully maintained. It did not necessarily look like a place to have a rock concert, but I actually really enjoyed the atmosphere.
Gary Hoey and Bumblefoot must be some of the nicest guys in the business. They literally could not have been more friendly. They signed everything we brought, and they actually seemed interested in what we had to say. My dad and I must have had face-to-face conversations with each of them for 15-20 minutes. Not all artists are this kind, and this was much appreciated.
Unfortunately I missed the Opening Acts, as I was in the meet-and-greet. I am not sure who they were, but from what I heard, they were very good.
What an interactive set! Someone called out Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” as Bumblefoot was dealing with technical issues, and as they finally got set up, the busted into this great tune. Bumblefoot’s voice was great – Bruce Dickinson would have been proud! Bumblefoot’s entire set was extremely impressive, and he certainly proved to the many in attendance at the show that he is a more than fitting replacement for Slash – I have seen him play with Guns N’ Roses twice and have been EXTREMELY impressed with his skill. I loved how when he busted into “Guitars Suck,” he noted he wrote such a song due to frustration with trying to play like Yngwie. I also had the pleasure of surprising my dad with a song dedication from stage. In the middle of the song “Real,” Bumblefoot pointed out my dad and dedicated it to him for a Happy Father’s Day. This was a reward for donating to his and Gary Hoey’s KickStarter campaign, which can be found at this link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/garyhoey/gary-hoey-and-bumblefoot-guitar-gods-tour – help these great guys out!
Setlist via setlist.fm: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/bumblefoot/2014/the-fm-kirby-center-for-the-performing-arts-wilkes-barre-pa-3c009eb.html
Another great set that I was blown away by. Let me take a moment to say how nice Gary’s drummer Matt and friend Ron (who was helping out with the tour) were. I met them both at the meet and greet, and they were just so kind, and they talked with my dad and I for awhile. Gary was able to get some great tones out of his guitar throughout the entire set. I loved the American Flag guitar! I was also lucky enough to get a pick the Gary threw out, and thanks to Ron, I got a setlist off of the stage! If you have not heard Gary Hoey before, it is really worth your while to check him out – great player and great guy!
Setlist via setlist.fm: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/gary-hoey/2014/the-fm-kirby-center-for-the-performing-arts-wilkes-barre-pa-2bc0046a.html
Yngwie proved that he truly is The Maestro. I can’t understand how he plays that fast and with that much passion. Anyone with this much skill is sure to draw plenty of criticism, but there is very little about him that I, personally, can criticize. The only thing I might say is that his guitar was too loud when there were vocals. Sometime I wondered why the singer even bothered to sing, as you could not hear a word that came out of his mouth. Ynwgie played a blistering 2 hour set, and he tossed out more picks than I could even count. I was lucky enough to get 3 of them! During Yngwie’s set all three guitarists came out and did a phenomenal jam to Deep Purple’s classic “Burn.” I tried to get a copy of Yngwie’s set at the end of the show, but they didn’t seem to be as keen to hand out things as Gary’s guys were. I never understand this, it’s just a piece of paper; if it makes the fans happy, why not hand the setlist out? All-in-all, this show only solidified my opinion that Yngwie Malmsteen is the greatest guitarist of all time. Check Yngwie out – you will not regret it!
Setlist via setlist.fm: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/yngwie-j-malmsteen/2014/the-fm-kirby-center-for-the-performing-arts-wilkes-barre-pa-3bc00474.html
What a great show – would love to see all 3 of these guys again!