Monday, August 29th, 2022.
We have some big nights at The Grape, and they are invariably preceded by big days of preparation, organization, and setup. To bring this powerhouse group to our stage was not only a fantastic honor for us, but it was also one of the largest productions we have ever attempted.
The high-caliber musicians were playing together live for the very first time, ahead of a tour that would take them to the Starmus Festival in Armenia.
The group consisted of:
- Derek Sherinian, the incredible keyboardist who has toured and recorded for the likes of Alice Cooper, and Billy Idol, and has also had a phenomenal solo career.
- Simon Phillips, Hall of Fame drummer, has performed for The Who, Toto, Judas Priest, and many more.
- Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, Guitarist extraordinaire, and creator of the DoubleBFoot double-necked custom guitar – he has performed with Guns n’ Roses, and currently tours with Sons of Apollo.
- Ric Fierabracci, three-time grammy nominated bassist, composer, and producer. Ric’s credit list is huge and includes Brian May, Dave Weckl, Chick Corea, and many more.
Setup started early in the day, loading in Derek’s impressive keyboard/organ setup, and Simon’s monster drum kit. This is the second time we have had Simon’s full drum kit in the house, and it never fails to draw admiration from our music-loving crowd. Drum Technician, Adam Ponce, and Keyboard Technician, Corey Mast are two of the enablers behind the scenes. They are uniquely qualified to set up these kits, as they both have strong connections with Simon and Derek respectively, and understand the level of detail and accuracy required.
We once again had the pleasure of working with Jon Ostrin, master Sound Engineer. We learn so much from these seasoned professionals, and it is a joy to hear the true potential of our sound system. Jon’s resume includes mixing live and in the studio for Eddie Van Halen, John Legend, Toto, Sammy Hagar, and more.
The performance was stunning.
The compositions were complex and melodic and filled the room in a powerful, driving manner. We were treated to exquisite and intricate solos from all four musicians as they provided a masterclass in keyboard, drum, guitar, and bass.
Opening with driving rock rhythms and ethereal guitar, the group stated their intentions early. This set was definitely on the rock side of the fusion curve. The fantastic synth keyboard sounds cried out progressive rock, but then the delicious B3 tone brought back the jazz and soul vibe. Later tracks delved deeper into the fusion genre, with melodic percussion solos underscored with ominous basslines, gorgeous piano, and clean rock guitar notes.
The set concluded like a breaking wave bringing all the energy of the night to a slamming crescendo, notable in the stunned pause from the audience as the final cymbal crashed and the keyboard vibrato decayed to silence, before the standing ovation and lengthy applause.
Enjoy the writeup in Screamer Magazine.
Photo Credit: Seth Brandes, Leon Parkhouse