Guitar virtuoso Ron â€œBumblefootâ€ Thal kicks off his UK tour in support of his new solo album with a unique headline show in Newcastle.
Opening the evening were local indie outfit, Two Limbed Doll, and high energy pop/rock band Twister, who unbeknownst to the crowd had a pivotal part to play later in the evening. Each band brought with them quite a following and left the audience suitably warmed-up for the mighty Bumblefoot.
Having earlier given a master class to budding musicians at Newcastle College, Thal took to the stage at the O2 Academy for a show the likes of which has never been seen before. For one night only, Bumblefoot is backed by the North Eastâ€™s own Twister. Thal asked the local boys if they would do him the honor of being his band for the evening when the show was first announced. Over recent months, they have been learning his material and talking with Ron on Skype. However, they only got to meet and rehearse with him in person at sound check on the afternoon of the show. This may seem a little unconventional to some, but the band were tight and looked comfortable together, as if Thal and Twister had been playing together for years.
Bumblefoot, armed with his trusty double neck axe and sporting a Newcastle United shirt much to the pleasure of the local audience, bursts into the opening riff to Mark Knopflerâ€™s “Local Hero,” a song close to the heart of Newcastleâ€™s football fans of the Toon Army.
Thal took the audience through an incredible career spanning set, with old favorites played alongside rock classics and material from Bumblefootâ€™s latest offering, Little Brother Is Watching which was just released at the end of February. The band were joined on stage throughout the performance by leather clad dancing girls, just to give the show an extra touch of rock n’ roll.
The audience were treated to fan favorites like “Real” from the 2005 album Normal, the stunning “Donâ€™t Know Who To Pray To Anymore” from Bumblefootâ€™s new album, and “The Colour of Justice.” Thal also played his trademark cover of the “Pink Panther Theme.” Interspersed throughout the set were some fun riffs from the likes of Bostonâ€™s “More Than A Feeling,” The Animals “House of the Rising Sun,” and Iron Maidenâ€™s “Number of the Beast.”
Ron took the opportunity to get up close and personal with the audience as he marched through the crowd during “Dash” from his album, Abnormal, somehow managing to take pictures with fans as he rocked his way through the venue without missing a single note.
The evening would not be completed without the Guns N Roses axe man giving us spell binding renditions of “Knocking on Heavens Door” and “Sweet Child of Mine.” Thal was joined on stage by guest vocalist Aurora Dawn from Alabama 3. This may have been Bumblefootâ€™s first solo show in the region, but it most certainly wonâ€™t be his last.