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Club Academy, Manchester, 18 March 2011
difference four months makes! The first 'leg' of Luke's 'All's Well that
Ends Well' tour in the UK was less
than perfect (at least when reviewed in Bilston), and not helped by a disappointing sound
But that was
then. This is 'Club Academy', the smallest of the live music rooms at
Manchester University. And here is one of the great names in fusion
guitar, a session veteran of 1000 albums or more. And a room of devotees
prepared to lap up his solo offerings, not least a great new (ish)
he started with one of the current album stand outs 'Darkness In My
World' but this time aided by a better sound balance and when he kicked
into the wonderful outro solo we could actually hear those fleetful
fingers in full flurry.
fairly closely to his previous setlist, there were some welcome new
additions. A tribute to Gary Moore and a fine 'While My Guitar Gently
Weeps' (with bassist Renee Jones admirably tackling a shared lead
vocal). Whilst a good central core of this gig again reinforced Luke's
jazz fusion credentials it was more evenly paced this time.
cut was the sublime show stopper 'Song For Jeff' which easily dovetailed into
'Don't Say It's Over' from the current album. When Luke cranked into the
latter it was - frankly - complete and utter guitar bliss. It really
doesn't come any better. (The only down side of this interlude is that
we are not hearing the song as it was performed on the album, but I
suppose that is nit-picking in these glorious circumstances).
graft on a fine seam of self-deprecating humour and on-stage banter, a
wonderful band (and on-stage interaction where they all looked like they
were really enjoying themselves) - and not forgetting of course the
novelty of a micro-venue for an artist of Lukather's stature - you
really couldn't do better. And two hours never dragged.
fusion interlude incorporating 'Little Wing', Luke returned to current album for 'Can't Look Back'.
Mention should be made of Steve Weingart's wonderful keys support
throughout but his harmonising on this track was particularly effective
and may have even exceeded the recorded version.
This is a
great track and quite uplifting after what immediately preceded it.
to take anything away from the fusioning, but Luke - chameleon-like as
you might expect from a veteran sessioner - is currently two parts jazz
fusion to one part rock.
And I'm not quite convinced about his excuse
for not exploring Toto back catalogue (apart from a couple of seemingly obscure
acoustic tracks) – that it sounds like karaoke. Damn it, this guy played
on and wrote or co-wrote many of those songs!! But then, it seems Toto fans will
have to wait for that band's summer tour when it reaches these shores.
let's hope Luke returns soon to the UK in his own right, and increases
that rock quotient evident on the superb current album.
1. Darkness In My World 2. Always Be There For Me 3. Extinction Blues
4. Stab In The Back 5. 68 (Lee Ritenour cover) 6. Brodie's 7. Up In The
Skies (Jimi Hendrix cover/Gary Moore tribute) 8. Band instrumental 9. Song For Jeff / Don't
Say It's Over 10. Tumescent 11. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (George
Harrison cover) 12. Watching The World 13. Out Of Love (Toto cover) 14. Tears Of My Own Shame /
Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix cover) 15. Can't Look Back
14. Flash In The Pan Encore 2: 15. The Road Goes On (Toto cover)
by David Randall
Assembly, Leamington, 17 March)
really was an evening of various musical styles, of course AOR Rock but also we had touches of blues, funk and jazz rock during the
really pulls all the guitar hero tricks out of the bag, string bending,
tapping, tremolo work, soloing at the edge of the stage and at times he
made the guitar literally talk, he is up their with the best technical
guitar players I have had the pleasure of seeing but he also plays with
plenty of heart and soul.
I am sure
it would never come to it but if Steve Lukathar ever decided to give up
music he would make one hell of an inspirational speaker, his honest
and heartfelt tales of coming through a recent bad spell and his
realisations of the things that are important in life were special
moments in the evening, he really did come across as one of music’s good
number saw Steve take to the stage alone with an acoustic guitar for a
moving solo performance of 'The Road Goes On' with the crowd not for the
first time in the evening joining in and this ended another fantastic
night of top quality entertainment at The Assembly, a venue that really
flies the flag for live rock music.