Tony MacAlpine @ Kyttaro, Athens (GRE)

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Tony MacAlpine / Daniel Pique

Date: 09th March, 2012
Venue: Kyttaro Club
Ticket: 25 ($33)
Promoter: n/a
Photos: Panos Pagonopoulos

Friday night and there I was on my way towards Kyttaro Live Club ready and eager to see once again live one of my favorite guitarists (and also an equally good keyboardist), the magister of the seven & eight strings, the virtuoso Tony MacAlpine for the ‘Dream Mechanism’ tour during which he was going to play his extraordinary debut album “Edge Of Insanity” in its entity. That same day another artist that I admire, Arthur Brown, was also playing live in Athens and believe me, it was very hard for me to choose, but there I was. The starting time of the gig was moved one hour earlier, from 9pm to 8pm, but I didn’t really worry much... until I had arrived to venue. I was informed that unfortunately AGENT COOPER were forced to cancel their performance moments after the soundcheck, for reasons that were beyond of the control of the band, the event promoters/organizers. Apparently, the departure time of the ferry boat that was going to transport the bands from Greece to Italy for the next show was rescheduled for an earlier time and it seems no one was notified until the last moment.

When I entered the club, Daniel Pique took the stage right on schedule. At that time and during his entire performance there were only 10-15 fans inside including the staff of the event! I felt really strange and bad about it and things did not get better as the time went by; the attendance was very weak. The young Brazilian guitarist played only for 15 minutes, he was alone onstage and used samples for the rest of instruments. Since his performance was really short I do not have much to say apart from the fact that he was very professional, very talented and really good guitar player. He gave us samples of his music and great technical abilities and was friendly with the few fans that were there. In his debut solo album “Boo” has worked with musicians of the highest caliber like Billy Sheehan and Mike Mangini and that simply says everything about the talent and potential of this young guitar virtuoso.

Daniel Pique

(click to enlarge)

As I said AGENT COOPER had to cancel their show so Tony MacAlpine and his band stepped onstage earlier than it was scheduled/announced. Since there was no time to inform the fans at the beginning of their set, only 30 fans were there and as time passed by, the number reached a maximum of 60-70 faces. I just simply couldn’t and didn’t want to believe in my eyes.

The band consisted of brilliant and highly technical musicians: Aquiles Priester (Ex ANGRA, VINNIE MOORE) an outstanding drummer, who was among the candidates for Mike Portnoy’s place in DREAM THEATER, Bjorn Englen (MALMSTEEN, ULI JON ROTH, ex QUIET RIOT etc.) on five-stings bass and Nili Brosh (THE IRON MAIDENS) on the seven strings rhythm/lead guitar, an only 23 year old young woman who has also played with Stu Hamm (Joe Satriani, Steve Vai), Guthrie Govan (ASIA) and Andy Timmons (Danger Danger). So we couldn’t expect something less than perfection... and that’s what we got. The band hit the stage with “Wheel Of Fortune” and without saying a word until the end of the show delivered each song straight after the other... they simply let the music do the talking. Tony MacAlpine with his hat on and most of the time with his eyes shut delivered a great and very passionate performance that touched perfection. We just simply couldn’t take our eyes of him and his guitar and couldn’t help but admire his technical skills, passionate playing and music. Aquiles Priester was a monster behind the drum kit and gave a really powerful performance. Nili Brosh proved that she is a very talented and highly skillful guitarist (not that we didn’t already know that) and with her cute smile gave a sweet touch to the show. As for Bjorn Englen he was the showman of the night; except of his undisputed skills, he had an incredible stage presence, always ‘posing’ for us to get the best photograph and always communicating with the fans with his expressions and movement on stage. What a crazy fucking great guy!

At the end of the show Tony and the band thanked us and received a warm and enthusiastic applause by the few fans that attended. Afterwards they stayed to meet the fans, take photos and sign autographs for a few minutes. It was really great to get a chance to meet and chat with them for a while. I hope we see them again live soon and with an attendance that reflects their value as musicians.

P.S.: It’s a shame to see musicians of this caliber playing in front of such a small audience. It’s a pity and I really felt ashamed about it. The economical crisis here in Greece is affecting everyone (and of course me) really bad and we all have to carefully choose where to spend our money, but considering other live events that recently happened I expected to see at least twice the fans that attended.

Tony MacAlpine setlist:

01. “Wheel Of Fortune”
02. “The Stranger”
03. “Quarter To Midnight”
04. “Empire In The Sky”
05. “The Witch And The Priest”
06. “The Taker”
07. “Chopin Prelude 19 Opus”
08. “Edge Of Insanity”
09. “The Raven”
10. “No Place In Time”
11. “Oludeniz”
12. “The Sage”
13. “Tears Of Sahara”
14. “Serpens Cauda”
15. “PsychoOctopus”
16. Drum Solo
17. “Stream Dream”
18. “Pyrokinesis”
19. “Hundreds Of Thousand”

Tony MacAlpine

(click to enlarge)