Chickenfoot - Shepherd's Bush Empire - 25th June 2009

(The above photo is copyright of the legendary Ross Halfin and is reproduced by kind permission. To see other classic photos and read the jammy bugger's diary go to In case you're wondering 2 of the Rockgig team are just above Michael Anthony's right elbow)

Some gigs are performed to a strict, pre-determined format, some you can tell that the band are just going through the motions (ED: are you listening Skynyrd?) and some rare ones make you feel like you're watching a bunch of good friends have a great time jamming together. Some gigs are low key, some are events and some rare ones are simply awesome.... what we just witnessed was a bunch of highly gifted musician friends jamming and having a laugh. The outcome was awesome and that, my friends, is very rare indeed.

First up - the newly reformed Skin.

I liked Skin when they were around first time - I even forgave them for their cover of EMF's "Unbelievable" because they also did (amongst a cd full others) a cover of "Hangin' on the Telephone" way before Def Leppard decided to do it. Myke "Personal Trainer" Gray's long locks might have gone but the guitar skills were still there and Neville MacDonald's voice was better than ever. (Is it me or is he starting to look and sound like Danny McCafferty of Nazareth?). Considering it was an acoustic set it was really powerful - the old songs worked well in an acoustic framework and really showed off MacDonalds voice. Top notch stuff..the crowd singing along to all the tunes including "Colourblind", "Tower of Strength","House of Love" and my fave "Look but don't Touch". They seemed to enjoy it - we all enjoyed it - I could easily have listened another hour of that.

Next up - Chickenfoot for their only UK date.

If I was choosing my Fantasy Band then 2 out of these would be in the shortlist.

Shepherd Bush Empire is rammed solid and I have never seen so many

snappers in the Press Pit. (check out Ross Halfin's page here) In case you don't know Chickenfoot is; Sammy Hagar (Montrose & Van Halen), Michael Anthony(Van Halen), Chad Smith(Red Hot Chilli Peppers) and guitar God Joe Satriani.

Right from the off with "Avenida Revolution" through most of the excellent album and into "Bad Motor Scooter" and "Highway Star" they had a ball. They were laughing and joking throughout, especially
Chad Smith who was a revelation - a real hard rock drummer.

Michael Anthony's vocals are still as good as ever, as is his bass playing. He was always in Eddie's shadow, but with Joe Satriani seemingly keeping himself reigned in, you could hear how accomplished Anthony is.

Joe Satriani is a legend as far as I am concerned...technical perfection but with feeling too..not flash just for the sake of it and Sammy Hagar's voice is still one of the best in the business.

The songs all seemed to start around a common framework but then they venture off into tangents and then bring it back for the big finish - which on paper sounds boring - but this was anything but boring. It was magnificent. Ian Paice was in the balcony and was spotted filming Highway Star on his phone - presumably to show the rest of his band "That's how it's meant to be done!"

Here's the stats :
Number of times Chad fell off of his drum kit - 1
Number of times they played the best Chickenfoot Song (My Kinda Girl) - 0
Number of times I was nearly killed by a flying drumstick - 4
Number of drumsticks that hit fellow gigger ME on the head - 1
Number of times Sammy was nearly killed by Chad throwing his TomTom drum into the air after the last song - 1
Number of songs that the crowd sang - All of them
Number of times Sammy removed his shades? - 1 when he was hit by a flying TomTom drum.
Number of Happy Punters - 2,000
Number of Chickenfoot band members now in my fantasy band - 4

(Chickenfoot's Facebook page now also has pics from the gig)


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