Yngwie Malmsteen

Artist:  Yngwie Malmsteen

Date / Venue:  Thursday June 4th - The Powerstation, Auckland

Last night was Yngwie night. I was actually giddy on the drive in to town. After a postponement, it was a little surreal realising that I was about to see Yngwie Malmsteen wielding a guitar in front of me.

To be fair, let me clarify that as a gig photographer, sometimes it's a different element pulling me to a gig, and while I would call myself an Yngwie fan, I definitely wasn't in the league of those around me. The crowd was so well educated on Malmsteen's career, I picked this up while waiting outside The Powerstation in the light drizzle. There was much chatter with new crowd neighbours and the excitement was tangible.

Once inside, the venue slowly began to pad out. I noticed that the crowd was so varied, there were people of different ages and backgrounds; it was one of the most diverse crowds I have seen at a gig. It seemed everyone was tied together by a mighty passion for this one guitarist.

Yngwie and his super solid backing band came out with a bang. I got the shots I needed from a fantastically expressive Yngwie, and after the three songs we are allowed to photograph, I joined the crowd. I'll stay for just a few songs, I thought. I walked out grinning with everyone else after they had taken their final bows. There was no leaving.

What unfolded during that time had the variety of the very best of cheese platters, with a distinct lack of any hint of aural cheesiness. The performance swam through genres, from hauntingly well delivered classical, to power metal, and even including just a tint of doomy sludge. 
Yngwie flew magic from his hands and drizzled charisma all over the stage.

His backing band knew their place, they were confined to a corner together where they shone just the right amount to compliment Yngwie on the rest of the stage. And that's what I'd expected, that's part of Yngwie's brand. They were wonderful musicians and provided a waxing and waning backdrop that set off Yngwie's playing. I'm a vegetarian, but I'd liken the whole thing a wholesome meal. Yngwie is the steak. The man is clearly one hell of a guitarist.

Pouts, flailing hair, leather, fist pumps, it was all there. There was even a dedicated Guitar Catching Man side of stage. What a terrifying job that must be.

The show as a whole blew my mind, and I wasn't alone in feeling that way. I will definitely be aligning myself with another Yngwie experience some time in the future.