Saturday, 7 February 2015

 2015 Extreme Guitar Tour ~ January 27th ~ Studio 7 In Seattle, Washington 

Paramour Group and JAAB Productions brought  the "2015 Extreme Guitar Tour" to Studio 7 in Seattle, Washington on Tuesday, January 27th. The players for the Northwest XG Tour was an all-star group of superb musicians formerly from the likes of Black Sabbath, Dio, MSG, Scorpions, UFO, and Royal Hunt. We are talking about "Extreme Talent" with legendary guitarists Uli Jon Roth, Vinnie Moore, and Craig Goldy! Also on the bill was the new super band, Black Knights Rising and introducing special guests from Toronto Canada, Old James.

Old James, which consists of Brian Stephenson (lead vocals and guitar), Andy Thompson (lead guitar), Jon Ublansky (bass), and Chris Stephenson (drums), took the stage first around 7:30pm. Old James gave us a potent, high energy show with all original material. The band has a great sound, infusing rock, southern rock, and metal with some funk and jazz. Their stage presence reminded me a lot of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, bringing back that old school Punk/Funk style. The Bands performance included, "Don't Put It On Me" a great song to showcase their talents as a guitar driven band with a solid backbone and a strong attitude. Old James performed an hour long set, then cleared the stage for Black Knights Rising.

In 2013, at the Los Angeles NAMM Convention while jamming together, Craig Goldy (guitar, former Dio), Vinnie Appice (drums, former Black Sabbath) and Elliot Dean Rubinson (bass, former MSG) discovered their undeniable chemistry and the Craig Goldy Project was born. Realizing the buzz and growing fan base on the internet about this band of legendary musicians playing songs from Dio, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Rainbow, Craig Goldy took the band to the next level and are now known as the Black Knights Rising.  For the XG Tour, Black Knights Rising, depending on where they're playing and the availability of musicians, will have special guests. John M. West (singer, songwriter Royal Hunt & solo artist) completed the Black Knights Rising line up on this night and is one of the most talented power metal vocalists I've heard in a while. 

Having never heard of Black Knights Rising before, my excitement grew as I viewed the setlist being taped to the stage!  I then realized that what we were about to witness was a celebration of the life, music and soul of the band, Ronnie James Dio and the Strat-master of Deep Purple, Ritchie Blackmore! 

They took the stage around 9pm and as Craig Goldy was settling in making sure his guitar and amp sounded perfect, John West tried to entertain us with some hooker jokes that were intentionally drowned out by Goldy's loud guitar every time John tried to deliver the punchline. That had me laughing hysterically! After a few hilarious interruptions, Craig Goldy was ready to go and BKR opened with Rainbow's "Death Alley Driver". 

This band of all-stars really hit it big with me and the audience as we showed our enthusiasm and sang along to Rainbow's, "Man On The Silver Mountain," and Dio's "Stand Up and Shout." John West did an amazing job on vocals covering many accomplished and loved vocalists in some of the most important rock and metal bands.

Vinnie Appice replaced Bill Ward on the drums for the 'Mob Rules' album released in 1981 and when asked about the comparison of the two drummers, Dio explained that Vinnie Appice brought a new flavor to the band and that he was a listener and played off of people. I saw this with Black Knights Rising as Vinnie closely watched the other band members and played off of their sound with expert technique and flair.

It was during "Mob Rules" that Craig Goldy delivered his first astounding guitar solo, but it was during the Deep Purple song "Mistreated" that Craig Goldy's solos left us only able to open our mouths to scream out our love for this performance! During our outburst of praise, Craig made a fist over his heart and smiled, a shining moment for this greatly admired guitarist.

Elliot Rubinson, wearing his Round 1 shirt (playing with three bands on this tour), lit up the stage with his personality and ended the BKR show with a late bass note, a total set up by the band, that made everyone in the band laugh and was a perfect ending to a perfect set!

Vinnie Moore started his career in 1986 with his first studio album 'Minds Eye'. This was an award winning album that Vinnie recorded in eleven days at the age of 21. Vinnie is well known for his melodic instrumentals, fast fingers, and clean shredding and being the guitar freak that I am, I was eager to see him perform.

With his brand new Minds Eye guitar, presented to him by Dean Guitars, in tow, Vinnie Moore (UFO guitarist & solo artist), Elliot Rubinson (bass-Round 2), Alesandro Bertoni (keyboards), and Ritchie Monica (drums) hit the stage around 10:15pm with a set list that included songs from three of his solo albums, 'Minds Eye,' 'Meltdown,' and 'Maze'. I was very impressed at the different instrumental styles Vinnie played for us. He hit us hard and heavy with songs like, "Check It Out," and "Meltdown," took us on a journey with "Daydream" and then wore his heart on his strings for, "Rain."

Uli Jon Roth. In 1973, really kicking off his career he became the  main songwriter, lead guitarist, and sometimes singer with the newly formed Scorpions band. Uli Jon Roth has come a long way in those forty plus years and is now respected for being one of the most influential and skilled guitar players on the planet. With the anticipated release of his brand new Scorpions Revisited Double CD in the US, Uli and the boys, Uli Jon Roth (guitar vocals), David Klosinski (guitar), Alesandro Bertoni (keyboards), John West (vocals), Elliot Rubinson (bass-Round 3), and Kofi Baker (drums) walked on stage at 11:30pm for the Extreme Guitar finale.

The moment was magic as Uli, a sight to behold, elegantly danced his fingers on the strings of his sophisticated and complex 34 fret, Dean Sky Guitar to the opening chords of, "Sails of Charon." Uli's technique is flawless and his understanding of music so vast as we experienced Uli's 20th Century and very musically satisfying interpretations of "Sun In My Hand," "We'll Burn The Sky," and "In Trance."

Performing with great passion and fire, John West joined Uli Jon Roth on stage to sing some of these masterly re-imagined Scorpions pieces. Uli eventually took over the mic and sang, "All Along The Watchtower," a Bob Dylan classic and Jimi Hendrix's song about a spirit inhabiting nature, "Little Wing."

Elliot Dean Rubinson wearing his Round 3 Tshirt, truly, "The boss who rocks," played bass for Black Knights Rising, Vinnie Moore, and Uli Jon Roth! That in itself is an amazing talent to retain and play all that material in one night and with the hardest set at the end, (as Uli Jon Roth does not play off of a set list!) Elliot laid down solid, world-class bass playing, letting the guitars have the spotlight, but having an epic stage presence louder than any instrument.

David Klosinsky, a veteran of the Extreme Guitar Tour and performing on UJR's Scorpions Revisited CD as second guitar, stood beside the maestro and really accentuated Uli's Sky guitar style with his harmonizing and rhythm skills.

Another world-class musician I had the privilege of experiencing on this night was Kofi Baker, son of the Iconic drummer, Ginger Baker. Born with the drumming gene he inherited from his father, Kofi really showed off his genius proficiency in timing and his underlying jazzy style of beats and symbols were a perfect compliment to Uli's masterpieces.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and the end was a musical journey, one rarely played live, "Sky Overture!" Using his Sky Guitar as intended, Uli hit those high frets, emulating violins for the first part of the Neo-classical suite and then used the lower frets for those intensely felt guitar notes. I could have lost everything in my personal life at that moment and I wouldn't have cared as for the first time musically, I felt as if I had been set free!

Rock is NOT dead people! It's very much alive and thriving, just ask Old James, Black Knights Rising, Vinnie Moore, and Uli Jon Roth and all the musicians for the 2015 Extreme Guitar Tour! Check for tour dates and KEEP IT LIVE!

Black Knights Rising Setlist:

Vinnie Moore Setlist:

Uli Jon Roth Setlist: (Incomplete)

1.  Sails Of Charon
2.  ?
3.  Sun In My Hand
4.  We'll Burn The Sky
5.  In Trance
6.  All Along The Watchtower
7.  Little Wing
8.  Drifting Sun
9.  Sky Overture
10.  ?

Tour Dates:

Old James Facebook:

Black Knights Rising Facebook:

Vinnie Moore Facebook:

Uli Jon Roth Facebook:

Kofi Baker Facebook:

Review By:
Jill Maciel
West Coast Correspondent

All Photos By:
Scott Banning


  1. Hi Jill,
    I think Sails of Charon was the 2nd song. Also, he didn't play Drifting Sun, although I yelled it out a few times!
    Possibly one or two shorter Scorpions songs were played, one as the opener and one near end?
    That was an excellent show from top to bottom. I have more pictures if you want me to post some.
    Definately going to MSG at that venue in March.

  2. Wow. . . Right on, Jill! This is a great article; very well written. I really dig all the extra info and photos! Keep having fun out there with the Stars. . .