at O2 Academy 2, Newcastle (UK), March 4, 2015

Walking on stage playing “Local Hero” while dressed in a Newcastle United shirt personally signed by Alan Shearer was a sure-fire way of Bumblefoot ingratiating himself straightaway with the Geordie crowd.Halfway through a Punk fuelled “Abnormal” however, disaster. Bumblefoot’s battery pack died a death. Like all true professionals little hiccups like that are a mere aside as his amiable stage banter and attempts to get the crowd to sing the tune kept the atmosphere light-hearted, a job made all the easier by his studded leather bikini clad dancers making an unscheduled, early appearance to help save the day.

After almost 10 years as lead guitarist in Guns N’ Roses along with a host of session work, there is no denying Bumblefoot is a guitarist with an impeccable pedigree.   Earlier in the day he spent a couple of hours at Newcastle College giving a masterclass to wide eyed guitar hopefuls. Then, for the first time at soundcheck he played through the whole of his set with his backing band for the night, local band Twister whose vociferous fan club was out in force with drummer Kyle coming in for particular attention. For their very first live show together, this was an incredibly tight performance so full credit must go to the youngsters of Twister who were clearly living the dream.


With his new album, Little Brother Is Watching You, released a matter of days ago, it was the perfect chance to showcase the multifaceted side of his talent with the chant along title track and the melody heavy “Don’t Know Who To Pray To Anymore” showing what a great singing voice he has while “Raygun” from his 9.11 album featured a killer driving heavy groove.

The problem with many solo guitarists is that a show is an excuse for over indulgent showboating but the main strength of Bumblefoot was that all of his fret trickery was encased within a strong song structure so rather than a yawnsome shredfest we got cracking songs containing some stunning guitar work without ever losing sight of a strong melody based song.

BumblefootNot content with remaining on stage Bumblefoot took his wonderful double necked DoubleBfoot guitar out into the crowd for some opportune selfie moments for the fans while his dancers made full use of the stage much to the delight of the boys in Twister.

While the music media rages with the question “is he or isn’t he still the guitarist in Guns N’ Roses”, Bumblefoot spent the best part of two hours entertaining the crowd in his own inimitable way. Although most of the set featured his own solo work with the occasional choice cover chucked in for good measure (“House of the Rising Sun”, it was Newcastle after all), his tenure with Guns N’ Roses was restricted to “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” complete with some stunning vocals from backing singer Aurora.


But all was not over as a cheeky chord progression from “Sweet Child O’ Mine” morphed into Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” to tease the crowd before launching into a full blown rendition of the GN’R classic complete with face melting solo. What a way to end a truly special evening.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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