The Extreme Guitar tour featuring Uli Jon Roth, Vinnie Moore, and Craig Goldy captivated an enthusiatic crowd of devout music fans at the Token Lounge.

Old James was billed as an opener, but ran into issues due to the major snow storm the night before. This resulted in Black Knights Rising opening the show. For those who aren’t familiar with this band, Black Knights Rising pays tribute to the epic music of Dio, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Rainbow.

Black Knights Rising featured Craig Goldy (Dio) on guitar, Vinnie Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio) on drums, Elliott Rubinson (Dean Guitars CEO) on bass, and John West on vocals. From the first notes of Rainbow’s “Death Alley Driver,” to the soaring finale of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” it was immediately clear these guys were having a lot of fun playing these iconic tunes.

The skills of John West were impressive as he navigated through songs with a wide vocal range. Elliott Rubinson’s bass sound reminded the crowd of Geezer Butler as his fingers pounced on the strings. While hearing Sabbath’s “Mob Rules,” and “Neon Knights,” was intense, the renditions of Deep Purple’s “Burn,” and “Mistreated,” stood out. The drumming of Vinnie Appice was tight and punishing. The slow burning bluesy solo by Craig Goldy on “Mistreated,” ached in its sweet surrender.

Vinnie Moore‘s performance was a display of sheer guitar mastery. He was supported on stage by Alessandro Bertoni on keyboards, Richie Monica on drums, and Elliott Rubinson pulling triple dutie as he jammed with Vinnie and Uli as well as Black Knights Rising. Vinnie joked about Elliott’s stamina to make it through so many sets each night and suggested perhaps viagra played a role.

Elliott was up to the task of keeping up with Vinnie Moore as they got down with the groovy “Check It Out,” then soared with “Daydream.” It was a marvel to witness a musician play technical runs, yet retain an immense depth of emotion. Vinnie Moore was simply brilliant as he gracefully conveyed a storm of emotion through a pick and fingers against steel strings. The entire band ratcheted up a notch as they entered the neoclassical playground of “The Maze.” The gritty soul of Hendrix emerged when Vinnie lit up “Midnight Rain.” Vinnie and company closed things out with the ballsy pomp of “Meltdown.”

In the realm of guitar maestros, there is a special mystique surrounding Uli Jon Roth. His work pioneered what is now referred to as neoclassical rock and metal music. The audience hung on to every note as Uli dug deep in the Scorpions archive with “All Night Long.”

Uli was joined on stage by David Klosinski on guitar, Kofi Baker on drums, Alessandro Bertoni on keys, John West handling vocals, and the energizer bunny of bass, Elliott Rubinson. Uli’s phrasing was impeccable on “Sails of Charon,” as the song took the audience along the mythic journey across the river Styx.

The beguiling classical intro with hints of jazz formed into “Fly To The Rainbow,” which ended with Uli’s guitar crying out in stratospheric dive bombs. Just as the dive bombs had you thinking of Hendrix, Uli broke into a great cover of “Spanish Castle Magic,” followed by “All Along The Watch Tower.” There are few people who can really do Hendrix material justice and Uli Jon Roth is one of them.

He conjures up the heart and soul of Hendrix with his ability to deeply connect with the music through his guitar and convey that breath of life to the audience. The entire band was electric and performed with grace as Uli orchestrated the show.

The fans were completely enthralled with band’s performance and could have kept listening for hours on end. Had there not been another gig on the horizon, Uli may have just kept on playing. In the end, the audience was saturated by a night of outstanding music played by phenomenal musicians. The Extreme guitar tour with Uli Jon Roth, Vinnie Moore, and Craig Goldy delivered a monumental dose of superb musical performances.

Uli Jon Roth
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Vinnie Moore
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Black Knights Rising

Old James
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Token Lounge
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About The Author

Chuck is a native Michigander. He grew up in Detroit, and later Pinckney. He now calls Ann Arbor home. Running is in Chuck’s blood. He has run several marathons and numerous other races. His favorite race is Dances with Dirt in Hell, Michigan. Chuck was first exposed to photography in 7th grade. He has been a photographer ever since, honing his skills shooting landscapes and most recently concerts. In addition to experiencing music from behind the camera, Chuck is a musician in his own right. He has been playing guitar since his teen years. He played in Detroit area metal band, Battalion, recorded two independent releases, and toured. Today when not covering concerts, you can find him online at his blog, Life In Michigan.

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