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Various Artists: A Tribute to Les Paul-Live From Universal Studios (DVD)

In 2009 the world lost a true musical innovator in Les Paul, not only the creator of the iconic electric guitar that carried his name, but a musician who helped spearhead a whole movement on new ways to record music and utilize various effects and technologies. As a tribute to Les, many fellow legends got together on a special night in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios to celebrate the life and career of this very special individual. Included on this DVD are 9 performances of some rock & blues staples, with most participants choosing to play their own Les Paul guitars in homage to the great Lester William Polsfuss. Things kick off with Slash, Steve Lukather, and Edgar Winter tearing into Stevie Wonder's "Superstition", and though the Guns 'n' Roses veteran is a tad on the sloppy side, the intensity is there. The Toto lead guitarist/vocalist then goes it alone for a sizzling rendition of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing", and credit to Lukather for keeping the sprit of the evening intact and playing this Stratocaster classic on his Gibson Les Paul. It's easily one of the highlights of this set, and further proof of Lukather's guitar hero status. Joe Satriani comes out next, and delivers "Satch Boogie" and "House Full of Bullets" also on a Les Paul, which is pretty remarkable as he generally plays Ibanez guitars set up with locking tremolo systems, so here he created all those wild sounds without the use of a whammy bar, instead utilizing string bends, neck scrapes, and volume controls.

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and blues legend Buddy Guy then come out for a few songs, and here we see the first instance of a non-Les Paul guitar making an appearance, as Buddy decided to go Fender Telecaster & Stratocaster on this evening. Kinda surprising Guy didn't 'get with the program', but the truth is he rarely, if ever, drifted from Fender guitars during his entire career, so surely hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Perry though is scorching on his gorgeous flamed maple Les Paul, and duels with Guy on the bluesy tracks "Going Down Slow" and "Hoochie Coochie Man". The always dependable Robben Ford comes out for "Lovin' Cup", delivering some classy playing on what is probably the evenings most understated moments, but that doesn't last long as the duo of singer Shayna Steele and Journey/Santana legend Neal Schon blow the roof off the theater with a scorching "I Wanna Know You". Schon just lays everything to waste on his black Les Paul, with screaming, bluesy solos that are hot as lava while Steele just sings up a storm. Do not miss this performance! For the finale, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Lukather, and Winter close up the show for a very different take on "Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo", Kenny also not participating in the Gibson Les Paul love by bringing out his Stratocaster and getting into some call & response mayhem with Winter, and also some duels with Lukather.

Toss in plenty of interview segments with all those involved and Les Paul himself, and you have a really fun musical documentary celebrating one of musics true treasures. Well done.

Superstition (Slash, Steve Lukather, Edgar Winter)
Little Wing (Steve Lukather)
Satch Boogie (Joe Satriani)
House Full Of Bullets (Joe Satriani)
Going Down Slow (Joe Perry, Buddy Guy)
Hoochie Koochie Man (Joe Perry, Buddy Guy)
Lovin' Cup (Robben Ford)
I Wanna Know You (Neal Schon, Shayna Steele)
Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo (Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Steve Lukather, & Edgar Winter)

Added: January 7th 2018
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: The Les Paul Foundation
Hits: 191
Language: english

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