Paul Gilbert Kicks Off “Behold Electric Guitar” In Denver [Photos + Review]

 

Paul Gilbert has been a lot of things in his professional musical career. He has been a guitarist for the bands Racer X, Mr. Big, and still teaches guitar clinics. He has released 15 (yes 15!) solo albums. Having just released the his latest album ‘Behold Electric Guitar’, Gilbert is hitting the road for the first time in the U.S. supporting just his solo material.  The tour kicked off in spectacular fashion Saturday night in Denver, Colorado at the Oriental Theater.

Local Denver bands Zakk Debono and the Broken Circle and Straight Six wonderfully warmed the audience.  Zakk Debono wearing sunglasses and patriotic pants, delivered a passionate blend of blues influenced rock and roll. Straight Six followed shortly after and performed a high energy set filled with 80’s glam hard rock heaven.

Wearing a dark blue suit and yellow tie, Gilbert hit the stage grabbed his purple signature Ibanez and ripped into blues toe-tapping “Blues for Rabbit” followed right up with jazz flavored “Having It”, and rounding out the first trio of songs with an energetic version of Mr. Big’s hit “Green Tinted-Sixties Mind.

I really enjoyed Gilbert’s wit and funny storytelling as he introduced songs. He talked about where the influence came from and how he applied his technical thought process. He wrote most of the new songs on ‘Behold Electric Guitar’ by writing the lyrics first. He often would sing a few lines before breaking into the guitar melody. I enjoyed the stories for “Sir, You Need To Calm Down”, and “I Own a Building”. “Sir, You Need To Calm Down” was inspired by a encounter Gilbert had with a ticket agent after a missed connection at an airport flying back from Indonesia. “I Own A Building” was a man Mr. Big knew who rented out his building for a video shoot. He was super proud of the building and insisted in showing it off, when really the band was only interested in one room.  Gilbert skillfully played his new song  “A Herd Of Turtles”, where he used his best Ringo Starr accent to recite a poem, and inserted some ferocious funk riffs for musical juxtapose.

The second half of his set featured a number of cover songs the crowd loved. Even tough these were played as instrumentals, the crowd took the lead and sang the vocals parts. Gilbert backed by Asher Fulero (keyboards), Timmer Blakely (bass), and Bill Ray (drums) nailed hits from Rush (“Fly By Night”), The Beatles (“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”), and Joe Walsh (“Life is Good”). Gilbert told a very funny story when Mr. Big was opening Rush. He noticed Geddy Lee eating a sandwich backstage and freaked out after he approached him.

Paul Gilbert is a ridiculously talented musician and his live performance captivated fans for almost two hours.  He never left the stage to do the obvious walk back on for an encore. It was a wonderful night and a great way to kickstart a new tour.

Review and photos by Jason Bullinger