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Old May-08-2008, 7:38 PM
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Icon33 Richie Kotzen & Paul Gilbert @ House of Blues

Just got back from L.A., where I caught a great show by Paul Gilbert and Richie Kotzen. There aren't enough adjectives to describe what an inspiring, intimidating and incredible performance each of them put on. The House of Blues on Sunset was packed, and both bands put on blazing, albeit very different, sets.

Richie Kotzen performed as a trio, with (ex-Mr. Big band mate) drummer Pat Torpey and a bassist whose name escapes me. Looking much like an unshaven Al Pitrelli, Richie's set was a soulful, funky and hard-rocking nod to his latest few albums, with extended jams and some fiercely passionate guitar playing. Kotzen's trio played for about an hour, closing with the gem 'Stand'. Richie's new live album was available at the show.

Paul Gilbert took the stage like the hometown hero that he is, donned his signature headphones and blazed into a good half dozen songs from his new album, 'Silence Followed by a Deafening Roar'. From there he wove a path through his back catalog, visiting Mr. Big ("Green Tinted Sixties Mind"), Racer X ("Scarified") and his own solo work ("Down to Mexico"). At the end of the set, with the crowd chanting his name, Paul returned to the stage and said "It's been really special having Richie Kotzen come share the same stage with me tonight. And since Richie's still here, why not have hime come back out and sing? (big cheers) And since Pat Torpey is here, why not have him come back out and play? (another round of ecstatic applause) And since Billy Sheehan is here...(at which point the place goes absolutely ape****, and the rest of what Paul said was lost in the cheering!)" With 3/4 of Mr. BIG onstage (pick either lineup, it's still true...LOL), the band laid down a killer version of Humble Pie's "30 Days in the Hole", Richie taking the vocals and the band embarking on some serious hamming and jamming. Then Richie took his leave, and the guys churned out "Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy" - complete with the power drill dual solo! Absolutely amazing! The crowd in the House of Blues sounded like an arena full, they were so pumped from seeing these guys onstage together again.

Well worth the trip down and back, and a total of 13 hours in L.A. from touchdown to takeoff...

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