Just three days into 2020, I had the pleasure to attend my first ever Bumblefoot solo show. And this one truly was solo! Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal [Sons Of Apollo, Asia], guitarist and vocalist extraordinaire, has been doing storyteller-styled concerts; alone except for his guitar, microphone, and some backing tracks. Despite this minimalist setting, Thal has quite a large presence, and all I saw were happy faces in the house at Milkboy Philadelphia as he performed fretboard pyrotechnics on his double-necked Vigier guitar. Voices layered on top of one another from the audience during cover songs like “Somebody to Love” by Queen, just as Thal layered his own guitar parts for his singular arrangement of “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by The Police. There was plenty of time for stories as well, and Ron regaled us with how he’d painted himself into a corner with complicated guitar parts for the new Sons Of Apollo album, MMXX (out January 17), giving a sneak peak of some over-the-top riffs, licks, and solos.
Joining Bumblefoot for the evening was the band Mach22, a very capable hard rock band with a great sense of groove. At the end of Thal’s set, he invited the band back onstage to have an impromptu jam on a number of classics, including “Whole Lotta Rosie” by AC/DC, “It’s So Easy” by Guns N’ Roses, and closing things out with a thrilling version of KISS’ “Detroit Rock City.”
While there’s no substitute for the real thing, I captured some stills here and there that I hope will tease your appetite. You might also be interested in checking out our interview with Bumblefoot, conducted just prior to this show!