||MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
Whiteline, Bangkok, Thailand
Friday 12th February 2016
The last time I saw Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thai was on stage with Guns N' Roses in support of the 'Chinese Democracy' album at Wembley Arena, London back in 2006.
That night I was a good 100 metres from the stage, barely making out the facial expressions of Axl Rose and his young Guns. Fast forward ten years and here I am, staring in amazement, right into the eyeballs of the guitar wizard who has played in front of millions.
This is so intimate that we're exchanging glances and words throughout the whole gig. I even lend him an empty bottle of Singha Beer so he can play the slide on Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Freebird'. I've been fortunate to witness some memorable intimate gigs in my time, but they don't come more intimate than this! I'm just a mere foot away from a guitar legend.
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Bumblefoot was on a busman's holiday in Thailand performing a few low key gigs in the country with a band of hand picked expats and Thai musicians. The following day Bumblefoot would be performing in front of a few thousand in the tourist resort of Pattaya for the Burapa Bike Festival, donating his fee to the local Jesters Charity, which helps local disadvantaged and orphaned children. A charity that is also strongly supported by Led Zeppelin legend Jimmy Page.
This intimate show served as a warm up for the following day's event. Firstly though, there were two Thai support bands that deserve worthy recognition.
Degaruda are a tight powerful four piece full of jazzy interventions and hard hitting drumming, totally unique in sound and crushing, pounding Metal who deserve global recognition.
The Ginkz had a mixture of Death Metal growly vocals intertwined with home made local Isarn vibes and proved to be a lot of fun. Sanuk mak mak!
Bumblefoot arrives with his signature twin necked fret less guitar, one neck is stringed while the upper is totally fretless for an landscaping sound. A monster of a beast to be seen so close up.
The opening chords are immediately recognised as 'Welcome To The Jungle' and the place goes absolutely nuts. The euphoria continues with an AC/DC brace of 'Highway To Hell' and 'Whole Lotta Rosie'.
It's obvious that this gig is all about fun with a set list packed full of classic rockers and a few choice GNR numbers,surprisingly though, none from 'Chinese Democracy'. Vocalist Stuart Brierley is a good find from the little known UK band Coyote, who is full of Yorkshire bravado and humour who gets his tongue around these classics with rock n' roll vigour.
After the fun filled version of Queen's 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love', things go a little pear shaped as the Thai wattage system couldn't cope with the power of Bumblefoot's fretless wonder and it blows up the amp.
The band continue as a new amp is restored but there is feedback that hinders the sound at times, but undeterred Bumblefoot continues to the maximum of his abilities. It totally adds to the craziness of the whole evening.
'Sweet Child O Mine' raises the roof before Bumblefoot gets experimental with his blinding jazzy interpretation of 'The Pink Panther Theme'.
Bumblefoot takes the vocals for the title track of his latest album 'Little Brother Is Watching' which is executed with a chorus of "Hey's" with fists punching the air, and then Bumblefoot goes walkabout amongst the crowd for an extended four minute guitar solo for the wonderful 'Don't Know Who To Pray To Anymore' as fans grab a priceless selfie with the unassuming rock star.
Brierley works wonders with an annoying drunken tourist who tries to wander onto the stage by grabbing him in a 'friendly' headlock for the duration of 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' before politely pushing him back into the crowd. Top professional work.
The set was unrehearsed and spontaneous with Bumblefoot trying out songs hoping the band would join in as on Maiden's 'Number Of The Beast' or later on when the band had run out of songs attempting to try out Rainbow's 'Long Live Rock N'Roll' amongst many others.
Guests were invited up which included William Freyermuth from Finnish Goth rockers Virgin Veil for a few numbers before handling the sticks back to Simon Wyett and promoter Joe Cummings provided dreamy guitar to Pink Floyd's 'Comfortably Numb'.
By now Bumblefoot had switched his twin necked fretless beast for a Gibson borrowed from fellow guitarist Barry Upton who was only too happy to convert to the acoustic.
Upton sung in his best bilingual Thai for the infectious Loso song 'Om Pra Ma Pood' which won applause from the locals especially as this gave Thai guitarist Nui Mnc to freedom to express himself and who later really excelled on 'Freebird'.
Bumblefoot was certainly in the right place in this City Of Angels for 'Paradise City' where the grass is green and the girls are extremely pretty.
Neither Bumblefoot, the band nor the fans wanted the party to stop, so frantic versions of 'Ace Of Spades' and 'Led Zep's 'Rock N'Roll' ended a night that the fans here will be bragging about for many years to come.
Welcome To The Jungle
Highway To Hell
Whole Lotta Rosie
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
All Right Now
Can't Get Enough
Sweet Child O Mine
The Pink Panther Theme
Little Brother Is Watching
Don't Know Who To Pray To Anymore
Knockin' On Heaven's Door
Number Of The Beast
Om Pra Ma Pood
I Used To Love Her
Ace Of Spades