This past Wednesday, the Ultimate Guitar Experience came to Las Vegas. Legendary guitarists Uli Jon Roth, Jennifer Batten, and Andy Timmons burned up the stage of LVCS downtown. And your friend Brad got to open the show.
Fun story, my amp died on me the night before. I was pretty much freaking out. My friends at J&E Guitars directed me to get it taken care of, and all was in working order. There was one potential problem: I had been adjusting my levels on my effects to compensate for the changes in my amplifier, and wouldn't have the opportunity to even hear what it all sounded like until soon check at best, and probably as I played the gig.
Turns out, all went well. There was actually a fairly large crowd at the front of the stage during my set, which is fairly unusual for me. Hopefully this becomes a more common occurrence.
My friend Max Rico and his new band was next, and he played a fiery set of Hendrix and SRV tunes.
And then... Andy Timmons. My first rock concert ever was Alice Cooper, with Andy's former band Danger Danger opening, so being a part of this show was kind of a big deal for me. Andy has a number of fantastic albums, including the recent "Andy Timmons Band Plays Sgt. Pepper." His song "Resolution," from the album of the same name, is one of my favorite songs of all time. Andy proceeded to amaze with his ferocious technique, but also his stunning emotive playing. I have never felt that emotionally connected to a performance in my life. His mediation of The Beatles' "She's Leaving Home" had me in tears. If you get the chance to see him, please go do so.
Jennifer Batten, Michael Jackson's guitarist on the Bad and Dangerous tours, as well as working with Jeff Beck, was on the front cover of one of the first guitar magazines I ever bought, back when I first started playing guitar. Again, a big deal for me. She performs a sort of multimedia presentation, with visuals and sounds generated from her MacBook Air. Her music is challenging, and filled with "How did she do that?" moments.
Next was Scorpions legend Uli Jon Roth. It is difficult to measure the influence he has had on metal guitarists; he is considered to be one of the first "shredders." His band includes two other guitarists, who all recreate the harmonies of his compositions immaculately. Uli's touch and tone are flawless, and it is always a thrill to see him perform "Sails of Charon."
The end was a closing jam with all three guitarists, performing "All Along the Watchtower" and "Little Wing."
I can't truly express how much of an honor it was to be on this show, and to get to talk with some of my heroes. If you're able, get out there and see this fantastic show.