Way over 100 shows in 2012- a personal record!
This event reminded me of an actual shopping experience at Guitar Center. I got there before the show started and waited and waited. I got a pit wristband and then went and sat in the balcony. My strategy was to rest up there for a while and then finish the show strong up front when the rest of the people in the pit were burned out.
I wasn’t impressed with Ilan Rubin’s performance to start the show. He played drums to an awful sounding drum pattern and then switched to the guitar and sang. It made me wish I had shown up an hour later to the event. He did get a good ovation at the end, so maybe I’m in the minority here.
Aaron Spears played next. He was great, but he mostly played to a bunch of hip hop and dub step backing tracks. Then an insanely talented band joined him and proceeded to play a few songs that weren’t very catchy. It was kind of a confusing performance, but Aaron is a monster on the drums.
The next act really picked up the pace- Billy Sheehan, Tony MacAlpine, Derek Sherinian and Mike Portnoy. This was an incredible display of shredding musicianship. Former Dream Theater members, heroic guitar and bass playing- this definitely set the standard for performances this evening.
The “Drum Off” itself was also quite spectacular. All 5 guys were great. I was pulling for the second or third guy that competed, but they any of them could have won it. The third guy ended up winning and gave a funny acceptance speech. You can tell that all 5 guys really bonded over the course of the events leading up to the finale. I’d never seen a drum competition before and this was really cool.
Dennis Chambers came out and played with his band, Graffiti. They were really good and funky, but a lot of it seemed like super-charged elevator music. I’d definitely go see them play again just to watch him play some more.
By this time, it was nearing 11:00. I went downstairs to watch the rest of the show from the stage. Brooks Wackerman came out and played drums. I actually forgot he was part of the show. I then saw Robert Trujillo creep around the side of the stage and then joined in. They were also joined by Armand Sabal-Lecco (he’s played with Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, Sting and tons of others) and a double bass guitar and drum jam ensued. This was probably the most insane part of the show. Then I remember that Brooks and Robert used to be in Infectious Grooves together (I actually saw them play on tour with them) and add Armand’s incredible bass playing and it was something quite special to experience!
Then, as another surprise, Tenacious D joined Brooks onstage (he’s their drummer) and played a few of their tunes. They sounded great and it was a lot of fun.
The was and induction ceremony for Peter Criss and Terry Bozzio for GC lifetime achievement awards. They were both very cool.
Afterwards, Terry went on to play a set of very complex tunes with Jimmy Johnson and Alex Machacek.
The show ended at about 12:30- six hours after the doors opened. Everyone in still in attendance was completely exhausted. A great evening with a lot of show to look back on! The lag times between acts could have cut at least an hour off the show. And it did run an hour too long, so there you go….