Who: The Experience Hendrix Tour, featuring Buddy Guy, Johnny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mike McCready, Queensryche, a dude from Aerosmith, and a bunch of other dudes.
Where: The Paramount.
When: Thursday night, November 6
The Experience Hendrix tour rolled through the city where it all began last night, featuring Buddy Guy, Johnny Lang (who's a really good guitar player, but looks like he needs to take a toilet-clogging dump every time he changes chords), Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mike McCready, Queensryche (whom I thankfully missed), one of the guys from Aerosmith, and a bunch of other guys. Frankly, this was not the sort of lineup that I felt could fill the Paramount, but I obviously underestimated the neverending appeal of Jimi's legacy, as the place couldn't have been more packed. I also grossly underestimated drunken white males' appetite for a non-stop array of porno guitar licks, as the show had those to burn -- which eventually burned me out.
Unlike much of Seattle, I love a good guitar solo. But when all I'm hearing is guitar solo piled upon guitar solo, with one-upsmanship trumping musicianship, it can get a bit tiresome. Check that: not a bit tiresome, a lot tiresome. And while I love Buddy Guy, he sapped whatever humility had been left onstage by Lang and Shepherd's sets by interrupting songs to ham it up, a schtick that was old-man charming at first, but soon fell really flat. (Shepherd, whose rendition of "Voodoo Child" might have been the highlight of the evening, could have done without the ridiculous lead singer in a leather duster whom we referred to only as Big & Blaine, because he resembled a cross between David Blaine and one of the dudes from Big & Rich.) Whatever blues cover Guy's band happened to be playing was quickly shelved in favor of loose-fitting lick wars; for half an hour, it was easy to forget that this was a tribute to Jimi Hendrix's music.
There's a fine line between putting on a show and being overly showy. For as much amazing talent as it exhibited last night, the Experience Hendrix tour crossed that line -- not that anyone, save for me, seemed to really mind.