Worst Gigs The Rockbrat’s Seen ? Yngwie Malmsteen (1990)

Who: Yngwie Malmsteen
When: Sydney 9 July 1990
This guy is a self-proclaimed musical genius. Warning bells anyone ? Being a genius does not necessarily mean you are an interesting live act. I was not entirely ignorant to Malmsteen before attending this show, having owned the Alcatrazz and self-title LP. I should confess that I’ve never been a fan of guitar heroics (though if pressed, my two favourite guitar solo’s were Vivian Campbell’s simple but effective showcase on Dio’s Special From The Spectrum’ VHS concert) and Ace Frehley’s 1996 Kiss re-union solo – complete with the rocket blowing out the spotlight ! But as for guys who play a zillion notes ?! Well, that might be your thing, but it ain’t mine. Thankfully – the great Noel Gallagher was only a 3 short years away from saving rock n roll from all this (and grunge). To be fair to Yngwie he did have a distinct guitar sound – as evidenced on the Hear n Aid/Stars single from 1985 – I mean when he played you just knew it was him. To counter that – his duet with the great Ronnie James Dio on Aerosmith Dream On contained so much extra fret work it was silly – and totally unnecessary to deface a classic song. But where was I ? Oh yeah, July 1990. The great one blessed us with an in-store appearance in the CBD earlier that day and I qued up for an autograph. The photo I handed him (an advert for a guitar endorsement where he clearly looked overweight) seemed to rattle him and he immediately showed it to someone in his crew !! Too funny ! (rockbrat tip – exchange the twinkies for apples in the band rider next time !). I still have the autograph some place. Western Sydney HM legends Mortal Sin opened the show, but were nothing to get carried away with – with Maurer, Campbell no longer in the line-up. Odd pairing when you think of it – thrash exponents on the bill with Malmsteen ?! Malmsteen was touring in support of the ‘Eclipse’ LP – and from memory was unmemorable. Watching a self-absorbed musician for an hour an a half surrounded by no-name band members is tedious with a capital T and I don’t think I lasted the whole show. This would not be my last encounter with this kind of nonsense as I saw another guitar virtuoso – Steve Lukather some years later. Not much else to say really. If you like Yngwie Malmsteen, good for you – he may have written some great music, but give me Johnny Ramone, Pete Wells or Eddie Clarke any day of the week.

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