Scroll down for live footage and video interview with Vinnie Moore!
Bochnia is a town 30 kilometres south-east of Cracow. There used to be quite a famous salt mine which now serves as a full-blown museum. Arriving there in the early hours of the damp, autumn evening, I did not have a chance to appreciate Bochnia’s landscapes or architecture. Hell, I didn’t travel 500 km to do nonsense stuff. My journey, which was 1000 km round-trip, was aimed to see my first show of Vinnie Moore performing his solo material. I mean, I’ve seen him with UFO and knew to expect a showcase of his guitar prowess. He is a great showman too – very lively on stage and fun on songs introductions.
Vinnie Moore brought along some fabulous Italian musicians with him. Nazzareno Zacconi on guitar, who had been to Bochnia already with other artists, claimed after the show that the Polish gig had been the best night of the tour so far. Indeed, fans were both receptive and perceptive and cheered Vinnie and the band spontaneously. Also, Nazzareno is a terrific guitar player who accompanied Vinnie toe to toe and graced the audience with a solo when needed. Make sure to check him out online. The jam the boys did in “White Room” (Cream cover), closing track of the main part of the set, was an outburst of unmistakable chemistry within the band. Don Roxx, the bass player, is definitely a skilled rhythm section player and he was able to demonstrate a couple of bass playing techniques (clang included) and transformed into a bass acrobat. Locked in a groove with Roberto Pirami the drummer (who was laying down a crisp rhythm), Don knew when to let loose. And so did Roberto whose thunderous skins’ pounding was fitting for Vinnie’s music full of mood swings and rhythm changes. So yes, Roberto was keeping the beat intact and did a terrific drum solo which got loud applause from the audience.
What’s left to be said about Vinnie himself? He played supremely and out of this world, with brutal honesty of a guitar player who’s constantly evolving and “being shaped” by incessant inspiration. I love the fact that his music can be versatile and at the same time so accessible to people. He can be very lyrical without actually having to sing a word. His guitar does that for him and that’s a very unique gift only few guitarists have. His atmospheric compositions bring about refreshing quality to our plastic, instant, overtly one-dimensional, and mobile world. His music and guitar tone are to be savoured and will not hit you in an instant but when they do it will be with a bang! Only then will you fathom almost ethereal quality and nearly cosmic beauty of Vinnie’s music. Yeah, it is a good metaphor for his music and playing – it is like observing aurora borealis (or australis) with all its colours, grandeur and beauty unmarred by humans. Vinnie is a super nice rock and roller who cares about his fans. For instance, he was out of his way to take photos and sign peoples’ things – a rare thing about such an accomplished musician.
The show started just after 8 and the band kicked off with ‘Day Dream’ of the Mind’s Eye album. It was good to go back in time with the band to 1986. ‘Day Dream’ acted as a sort of “hello, I’m Vinnie Moore with my band and I play kick ass guitar” introduction. If there had been any accidental rockers amongst the punters who didn’t know Vinnie before, ‘Day Dream’ would turn out a jaw dropping experience for them.
Next up was a phenomenal, fiery rendition of ‘Ridin’ High’ which made it evident the band was so damn tight you wouldn’t risk a finger through this blazing machine or else you’d lose it.
Vinnie played cuts off his latest, amazing and crowdfunded album ‘Aerial Visions’. One of the songs was ZZ Top’s ‘La Grange’. Vinnie just doesn’t do covers in “according to the original” mode but puts his own stamp on them and that makes it all special. ‘La Grange’ sounded like a train on the run – it was so fast and heavy. Even Lemmy from the poster at the back (or wherever he is now, bless him) with his thumbs up okayed Vinnie’s interpretation of this classic cut. Vinnie’s phrasing and all is so in tune and he makes all of it so effortless that you would never thought his virtuosity can be so complex. The same can be said about his rendition of a classic AC/DC song ‘You Suck Me All Night Long’ which was the first encore. And yes, he reworked that title LOL
‘Faith’ and the bluesy ‘Midnight Rain’are known to the fans from Vinnie’s work with UFO and we witnessed great versions of both compositions. Instrumental music is a great vehicle for stretching out and this is what Vinnie actually did with the two songs – he stretched them out and added spell-binding solos. Performances of both cuts were particularly driven and inspired – the band really travelled into far off, cosmic directions.
‘Check It Out’ has these few, bluesy opening bars and then it gets a proper rocking treatment. Wonderful stuff to hear live. Throughout this cut, aided and abetted by his band, Vinnie was cooking up some tasty and tasteful guitar licks.
‘The Maze’ and ‘Morning Star’ brought back Vinnie’s affair with neoclassical rock. A real guitar onslaught to behold! ‘Rain’ and ‘Time Traveler’ came from the ballad department and sure as hell they were steamy and emotive.
The second encore and the last cut the band did was a heavy rendition of ‘Meltdown’. Air guitaring prone composition made the punters crave for more, but the lights went out for good this end and the band dispersed in the dark on their way backstage to catch a breath.
As intense guitar salvo as the gig was it could last longer for me. Vinnie is a true wizard of electric guitar and you never get disinterested watching him play – you always get emotional because his music speaks to your emotions more than to anything else. He also has skilled musicians by his side. I hope next solo tour will be in the works when Mr Moore has some more spare time and willingness to come down to Europe once again. By this time, you and me will have heard a new UFO album and possibly a new Vinnie Moore album. Not too shabby, not at all.