Don’t forget to check out our exclusive chat with Sammy. We caught up with him before Chickenfoot played Manchester.
Chickenfoot’s two date stopover in the UK has been causing quite a buzz among rock fans. If ever there was something which deserved the title “supergroup” this is it with a touring lineup that consists of ex-Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar, legendary guitarist Joe Satriani, Hagar’s Van Halen cohort Michael Anthony on bass and stand-in drummer Kenny Aronoff, who is filling in for Chad Smith who is off doing the day job with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Now, to be honest, the supergroup tag may kind of put people off a bit, a gathering of super-egos doing it for reasons, erm, other than the music….
Support tonight came from Red, White and Blues who do a cracking job of getting the crowd warmed up with their blues tinged heavy rock. A new name on many of the fans here tonight, the band put on a great show and win over a load of new friends,
The Academy is packed to capacity and as the lights go down the sense of anticipation mounts. I’ve not felt a buzz quite like this one for a while, the entire audience sensing that we were were about to experience something special. Dry ice and sweeping red spotlights set the scene and, after building the suspense for quite long enough, Joe Satriani emerges through the fog and a single sustained chord rings out….
God this band like to tease 🙂
Having raised the expectation to fever pitch, there is a massive roar as Sammy Hagar bounds onto stage and Chickenfoot launch into an hour and a half of pure, unadulterated Rock’N’Roll perfection with every member proving that they are, without a doubt, the very best at what they do. Hagar and Anthony cover every inch of the stage while Satriani….. well Joe he is just on a whole different planet. For a guitarist used to being the center of attention he fits into the “band” environment perfectly delivering simple, groove laden riffs one minute before stepping forward and unleashing a jaw-dropping, awe inspiring guitar solo the next.
Seriously, given the pedigree of the musicians on stage, and the quality of the songs they have written, we expected good, but I don’t think anyone expected quite this good.
The band are clearly enjoying themselves, and if there is any massive ego at play it’s well hidden with each member getting their moment in the spotlight. Although you’d expect Hagar and Satriani to steal the show Michael Anthony is far from outshone, obviously he’s a top-notch bassist but live you realise just how big a part he plays, both as a stage presence and vocally, in places it’s a performance that feels more like a duet than a simple backing vocal.
Big Foot sees Hagar draped in a Union Jack someone threw on stage, every inch the proper, old-school rock’n’roll frontman connecting with the audience in a way that few today could ever hope to match. If only every millionaire rock star had this sort of rapport with their crowd.
Rather than being a distant, almost sterile, performance that some “supergroups” deliver there is a real effort to involve us in the show, to the point where Hagar was asking for our opinion on the relative merits of John Smiths Vs Old Speckled Hen, selected from his on-stage bucket of various beers.
Looking round the capacity crowd two things strike you. One is the range of ages and the second is that almost everyone is wearing a massive smile fuelled by the unique Chickenfoot party vibe.
“This song is a jam session that turned into a song, and then it turned back into a jam session” introduces an incredible Down The Drain, a track which is good on record but takes on a whole new dimension when it’s played live.
Chickenfoot are a band who don’t have to answer to anyone, they do what they love doing. Hagar sums it up perfectly, “We made an honest record, we played the music that we want to hear and it must be what you want to hear or you wouldn’t be here”.
The main set draws to a close with Future In The Past with the frontman strapping on his Les Paul and demonstrating that he’s no slouch when it comes to blazing out a guitar solo either. Even Satriani looks impressed 😉
Brilliant, just brilliant.
Of course there will be an encore, Chickenfoot come back on stage and there’s the night’s only reference to Hagar’s old band as he tells us about Satriani’s laid back attitude and how he never gets pushy or shouts “Sometimes I wish he WAS like that, that’s what I’m used to with guitar players”.
The show wraps up with A Different Devil, followed by Oh Yeah before one of Chickenfoot’s legendary cover versions as they bring proceedings to a closewith an awesome cover of Hendrix’ Foxy Lady.
All too soon it’s all over and never has the phrase “left wanting more” been more appropriate. In the pre-gig interview Hagar told CackBlabbath that the band were looking to play some of the summer festivals this year, so if you miss this brief visit there’ll be another chance in the not too distant future.
It could just be the best rock’n’roll show you’ll see this year.
CackBlabbath would like to thank the awesome Sakura for photographing the gig for us. You can check out more of her work at http://rockphotographer.net.