Feel My Heat: Five Fiery Manifestations Of Live Guitar Ferocity
I may have jumped the gun on that whole “Spring Again” thing the other day.
Because on this unseasonably chilly “spring” day out here in S.J., I am sorely missing L.A., almost as much as I miss my brother Kenny LeMay.
But in the meantime, the in between time, how do we warm up in the Northeast?!?
So if y’all wanna make it hot, despite the climate outside, we're gonna need some Bloody-Mary-and-Flamin'-Hot-Cheetos, till-ya-sweat, chest-burn-inducing, propane-and-propane-accessories-styled guitar-playing, to take you on a seat-warming ride.
Today’s edition of The Five Spot makes it hot, with five feverish, flame-ridden displays of guitar ferocity and virtuosity to keep those interior embers burning.
Prince-Something In The Water
Live in Manchester, May 16th 2014
Let's start it off grand with my man, The Majestic Purple One, known to make mountains fall with an axe in his hand.
It’s hard for me to believe that in two weeks, it'll have been a year since he’s been gone. And as you can see, just two years or so ago, he was so full of life, that while wielding arguably his best of his many chosen instruments, P could still cut you like a knife.
When he picks up that thing and cuts loose at 2:14?!?
That's levitation, holmes.
Thank You, Prince.
Tom Morello with Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band-Ghost of Tom Joad
Live at Madison Square Garden, October 30th 2009
I’ll always be able to say, the first time Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello sat in with Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (Anaheim Pond 2008, the night of the Kansas/Memphis NCAA Championship Game when Mario Chalmers hit the game-winning shot) that me and my man Dan were in the stands.
It being Orange County, home of Reagan & Nixon, and RATM’s politics being what they were, there was scattered boos for Morello after Bruce introduced and brought him out.
He proceeded to show some of those boo-birding old fuddy-duddies, what guitar-driven demolition was all about. Note how he plays with harmonics at the start of his second solo here around six minutes, a mostly faithful recreation of what we witnessed that night. Then see him flip that shit like Space Invaders while working his weapon like a hip-hop DJ would a cross-fader around the eight-minute mark. That OC crowd went from booing to wooing once he lit that spark.
Jimi Hendrix (Band of Gypsys)
Live at The Fillmore East, New Year’s Eve 1970
We couldn’t do this post without The GOAT. There’s way too many Jimi guitar moments on stage to mention, I’ll just say that I remember where I was the first time I heard Band Of Gypsys, long out of print and reissued on CD for the first time. On my way across the Walt Whitman Bridge from South Jersey to Philadelphia, in my boy Duke’s mother’s van, dubbed “The Spaceship” on those lucky occasions she entrusted her son to borrow it, on our way to see the Rodney Peete-QB-d Philadelphia Eagles lay the smackdown on Lomas Brown and the Detroit Lions, in a 1995 NFC Wild Card Playoff Game. Lomas in the week leading up to the game, had guaranteed a win for The D.
The Birds led by Ray Rhodes, armed with some new-old Jimi, balled out LIKE A BOSS.
Stevie Ray Vaughan-Little Wing
Live at Rockplast 1984
I always wanted to hear what happened after the fade-out at around the two-and-a-half-minute mark of The Jimi Hendrix’s studio version of “Little Wing” off Axis: Bold as Love.
A Jimi-indebted kid from Deep In The Heart of Texas must have been thinking the same thing, while mainlining a double-dose of James Marshall Hendrix and Albert King.
This is, to my ears, quite literally the only Jimi cover that improves on the OG.
Stevie snatched this and made it his, akin to the way Jimi did to Bobby D.
Live in Philadelphia 1977
I can’t front, Frank Zappa always scared me a little bit.
It dates back to my childhood days, searching thru record stores, arriving at the “Z” portion of the aisle, and then seeing two full columns, filled up with a collection of his weirdness, and intimidating-looking album covers like this:
Later, as I grew in my late teen years to accumulate many guitar-playing friends at Northeastern University, I would hear them vouch for Frank and appreciated certain selections of his catalog.
My man (and occasional Wudder graphic arts contributor Phil Groeling) has always been a huge Zappa fan.
But it was my boys O-Dawg and Chris, who only last week broke me off with this.
I’ve been playing it with a near religious-level of fervor ever since.
Frank, like four out of the five others on this Five Spot list, is dearly missed.
TGIF from The Wudder!
Hopefully by now yoūse feel sufficiently heated, with all chill now, completely defeated.