Yngwie Malmsteen | Parker Playhouse

Since unleashing his rising guitar force from Sweden in the early 80s and turning the guitar world on its ear, Yngwie Malmsteen has not let off the accelerator. He continues firing lightning riff after lightning riff. In support of his latest release, The World is on Fire, Yngwie made his second stop just north of his current hometown of Miami Shores to Fort Lauderdale's Parker Playhouse on Saturday night October 20 (he performed here June 26th of last year). He reminded everyone that he IS  The Godfather of Neo Classical shred guitar! Upon walking into the auditorium and again seeing 52, yes, 52!!! Marshall heads sitting on top of 18 monstrous Marshall 4x12 guitar cabinets, I new it was going to be loud. While not all of the amp heads and cabinets were actually spewing high decibel guitar venom, the cabinet rig did take up about 85% of the stage, and it sure looked impressive! While Yngwie has toured and recorded with some great front men such as Graham Bonnet, Jeff Scott Soto, Joe Lynn Turner and most recently Tim 'Ripper' Owens, there is no lead vocalist on this tour. The singing duties were Handled by Yngwie himself and keyboardist Nick Marino. Nick and drummer Brian Wilson also play in a local band known as NZM.        


I was starting to get antsy at about 25 minutes past the show's start time while looking at an empty stage. At 8:35, the lights went down, fog engulfed the stage and Yngwie belted out several blazing scales and wild arpeggios, preparing us for the musical onslaught that was about to come. The band appeared on stage and went full force into the opening song, ‘Rising Force’. Yngwie just took complete command as his stage presence made me forget about every thing else. His showmanship skills rival his musical mastery as he tosses the guitar around his neck with ease and flips out pick after pick while not missing a beat with his scorching runs. He normally switches guitars In between songs as his aggressive play knocks them out of tune. Several times tonight, though, he switched guitars DURING songs! I really felt sympathetic to his guitar tech, who was continually running around making adjustments and bringing him guitars.

Back in June of last year, the guitar tech dropped a tossed guitar from Yngwie that elicited and audible ‘gasp’ from the audience. To his credit, this time the tech caught it like a champ. Each time while Yngwie waited for his tech to bring another guitar, as the band played on, he would adjust the large amount of jewelry around his wrists and bend over and fluff his hair. It seems to me like the jewelry would get in his way, but all the primping added a comical element. While the rest of us are wondering how he can play so well and effortlessly, he seems to be expending more energy in getting his appearance in order! As I noticed in his show back in June, again he shortened many of his songs by dropping a verse and a chorus here and there. This allowed him to play more of his vast catalog of songs, albeit with shortened versions. Yngwie treated us to his version of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ bringing the crowd to its feet. A short while later, as Yngwie was at the edge of the stage rocking out to ‘Now Your Ships Are Burned’ what I thought was a guitar pick fell and rolled into the first row. A fan placed the item back on the stage, right in front of him. It turned out to be the guitar’s volume knob!!! Yngwie reached down, picked it up, popped it back on the guitar and continued his tonal domination.


After more than 20 neo classically derived songs had blasted us, they closed the show with his popular song ‘You Don’t Remember, I'll Never Forget’, Yngwie thanked the crowd and the band went off stage a tick before 10 pm. After a few minutes of us chanting for him to come back, a nylon sting acoustic guitar was placed at center stage on a Gracie stand, and Yngwie came out to rip an acoustic solo intro, then stepped back and took the Strat hanging off his back to start one of his most popular instrumentals, ‘Blackstar’. It's the first song on his first solo release from 1984. It's a dark ballad that demonstrates his picking dexterity, harmony and bursts of speed. It really shows the depth of his musicianship. I have heard from jealous guitar players for decades that his fret board speed lacked feel, I just tell those same people to listen to ‘Blackstar’ and shut the heck up! The band closed out with arguably his most popular song, ‘I'll See the Light Tonight’. As they took their final bow and left the stage, I realized that I want them to come back and do a THIRD show here in support of ‘The World is on Fire’!!! - Ray Antonfrom Ray's Guitars N Gear