Aficionados of the “widdly widdly” school of guitaring, bend your whammy bars with joy. Paul Gilbert is coming to Shanghai next month!
For the benefit of anyone whispering “Paul Who?” here’s a potted biography. Born in Illinois and raised in Pennsylvania, Gilbert recovered from being a childhood fan of The Osmonds to shoot to prominence as lead guitarist with 80s metal band Racer X before going on to achieve bona fide rock stardom as a member of Mr. Big. On the back of Gilbert’s precision axe-work, Mr. Big released a slew of successful albums and hit pay dirt with the 1991 smash “To Be With You”. The rock game is fickle, however, and critics and fans soon lost interest. In true Spinal Tap fashion, the band upped and retreated to Japan to enjoy the trappings of their immense popularity in that country. They even released a series of Japan-only live albums with the very Tap-esque titles, Raw Like Sushi and Japandemoniumi. Mr. Big called it quits in 1996 and Gilbert subsequently released a handful of well-received solo albums of power pop and rock. His latest effort, Spaceship One, came out in March this year, and it’s this album which is likely to furnish much of the material for the Shanghai gig. Still, it would be a great surprise if Gilbert didn’t pull a few gems out of his grab bag of old hits as well.
While he may not have squeezed into the Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time (then again, neither did Wes Montgomery!), Paul Gilbert is a renowned rock guitarist and not to be missed by anyone who’s ever slung a six-string over his or her shoulder.
Shanghaiist will be there, if only to see if Gilbert performs his legendary power-tool trick, whereby he mounts his plectrum on a Makita drill and plays guitar solos at hitherto unreachable speeds. It doesn’t get much more rock than that.
Paul Gilbert plays the Shanghai Film Arts Centre, 7.30pm, July 3. Tickets start at RMB 180 but you might want to think about investing in a VIP ticket for RMB 500: this will secure you not only a good seat, but Paul’s latest CD and even a photograph with the man (heavy metal hand signals — compulsory). Call 6560 8203 or 6560 4664 for more details.