Live Music/GigNorth WestReview

The Classic Rock Show: LIVE-Part 2 – The Lowry, Salford

Reviewer: Iain Sykes

“The Classic Rock Fans’ Ultimate Live Jukebox” is the bold claim of The Classic Rock Show as it follows up its 2015 Top 20 Greatest Guitar Riffs of All Time tour with the rather unimaginatively but no less grand title of Top 20 Greatest Guitar Riffs of All Time – Part Two tour. While one may argue about the technicalities of claiming that both shows are the top twenty guitar riffs of all time, this rock sequel does indeed contain a whole plethora of instantly recognisable tunes from all the musical colours of the rock rainbow, all reproduced note perfectly, at an ear splitting volume by a talented band of eight.

The set has been handpicked to provide at least one pleasing moment for every member of the audience, from the soft rock of The Eagles and Pink Floyd’s Money, through to the heavy sounds of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love and AC/DC’s Back in Black. Guitar heroes, clad in black, thrash their way through the tracks with aplomb and long hair, Howie G flying though the solos on lead guitar as well as taking lead vocals on some of the bluesier numbers including the full fourteen minute version of Dire Straits’ Telegraph Road. The main vocals are split between three singers according to the style of song being played. Emily Jollands takes on the Stevie Nicks role for Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon, Alex Dee provides the vocals for the softer sounds of the evening, and West End star Ricardo Afonso gets to steal the glory with massive stage presence and dirty great big rock vocals on the heavier songs.

The parade of classic rock riffs is relentless from the opening notes, each song accompanied by what is quite often the original video of the original band performing the song. And there’s the weakness for this live show. Each and every song would be a showstopper for the original artist, but while they’re performed here, as carbon copies, there is the feeling, especially in the first part of the show, that we’ve picked up one of those cover version CDs from a motorway service station and, while were quite happy to enjoy the journey singing along, we know that some of the passion of the originals is missing. Understandably so, as The Classic Rock Show has its own evening to bring to a climax, so some of the earlier classics maybe do feel a little perfunctorily performed. But once the band get the audience up on their feet as the show nears its close, and they start to inject much more energy into songs by Status Quo, Queen, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Who, then the evening begins to feel less like a juke box and more like the celebration that the greatest guitar riffs of all time deserve.

Reviewed on 27th February 2016


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