The very first thing one notices on arrival at an Yngwie Malmsteen gig – is the wall of amps adorning almost three quarters of the Billboard/170 Russell stage.
Surely all those aren’t needed and/or are going to be switched on during tonight’s performance? Ear plugs or not (and I don’t wear them) – this was going to be quite literally, a wall of sound.
The troublesome ‘wall of amps’
As impressive and intimidating as the amps looked, the irony is, they were causing all sorts of problems and inhumane feedback before the beginning of tonight’s show. Both roadies and band fought desperately to try and get things in order and I could see Yngwie waiting side stage and wondered if shit wasn’t about to hit the fan. The man is renowned for some infamous temper tantrums after all.
But like a pro that he is, Yngwie took to the stage like a man possessed and did his best to fight through the technical problems which persisted through the beginning of the band’s set.
Things settled down and Yngwie and co blasted through their allotted set. I can’t say I am too familiar with the man’s repertoire, although I did own the first couple of albums back in the day when Yngwie first took hold. I’ve never really paid any attention to his career but always respected the man’s talents and finesse with the guitar. You have to give him that. He is a freak!
It proved to be a tough shoot. Overcrowded photo-pit, unsettled vibe about the place, tons of fog and smoke and a warning by security not to encroach the middle of the stage should the photographers interfere with the guitar’s wireless system. Huh? Yeah, whatever.
I did manage to get a couple of shots I am pretty proud of. It captures Yngwie pretty much as I envisioned him in my mind’s eye pre-gig. So for that, let’s label tonight, mission accomplished.