True followers of God will have to shell out some money to get this stuff, because for the time being it's only available in Japan (for example CD Japan). But those of overtly religious tendencies have done things much worse in the name of some or other God.

Yngwie Johann Malmsteen - for it is He I refer to - has performed his 1998 Concerto in concert several times last year. With some added classicized versions of His own tracks, He has deemed us worthy enough of some hallowed recordings of said Near-Religious Experiences. That was not a proper English sentences, but I will be Damned if I grammatically fix it, because to grammatically fix it would ruthlessly detract from the possible religious implications hidden deep within these subliminal errors. Anyway, these have indeed been Pressed and dutifully Duplicated, to be Purchased Unquestioningly by the ardently adoring masses, both on DVD and CD.

Let's start with the DVD. It contains the full 1998 concerto, with added "Black Star Overture (Orchestra Only)", "Trilogy Suite Op. 5, The First Movement", "Brothers", "Blitzkrieg", "Far Beyond the Sun" and a somewhat chaotic "Evil Eye". They have made use of many cameras, so you catch a lot of what's going on with the orchestra. However, most attention is on God, obviously, and in particular His hands. A lot of close-ups, which are at times educational and at times depressing for the would-be shredder. There's an added 'behind the scenes' type documentary, a 'gear used' gallery, a short spoken interview and a discography. Pretty OK, though not exactly lavish. Still, it's fascinating to see Him do his thing with the orchestra, hair pieces and all.

Oh my God. I mean...did I really say something negative there? Or at least didn't I make a stab at criticism? Am I no longer an unquestioningly devout follower of He Who Plays The Guitar Fastest And Most Brilliantly?

It seems so.

The other day I was driving, with "Facing the Animal" in the car's CD player. And I noticed for the second time in my life that Yngwie, well, I don't like his recent work that much. The first time I noticed this, in case you're interested, was during the "War To End All Wars" tour, last year, when I yawned my way through the entire last half of the set. I can only imagine something similar must have happened to my now ex-wife when she suddenly found out she could destroy me to the core of my being and simply leave me. I suddenly discovered that, well, Yngwie isn't necessarily the be-all and end-all of shred guitarists, and when he bends over the sun does not shine out of his arse. Well, probably not, anyway.

This review is going nowhere.

Anyway, I don't like Yngwie's recent stuff much. Not anymore. His last good album was the modestly titled "Magnum Opus", as far as I'm concerned. And his classical efforts, though arguably not the most innovative to those into classical music, are intrigueing as well. So the DVD is actually rather good. The CD is basically the soundtrack of the DVD minus the bonus bits and minus "Evil Eye". So that's quite OK as well. Although I have through the course of writing this review truly discovered my fed-up-ness with some aspects of Yngwie Malmsteen, fact remains that he plays the guitar...um...like no other. And it's fascinating to see him do his thing. He's really quite good at it.



Written February 2002


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