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Concert Review & Photos - Ultimate Jam

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Let's start by saying that I love live music!  It all started with some friends dragging an impressionable 14 year old kid to see RATT back in 1984 has continued on to this very day.   From neighborhood dive bars to sold out stadiums, I have had the great fortune of seeing many of my childhood idols.  Over a 30 year period, I have watched some of the most incredible bands play live - legends like Van Halen, Judas Priest, and Motley Crue, just to name a few.  I thought that I had seen it all, but that changed a few night's ago when I attended my first Ultimate Jam Night live on the Sunset Strip.

For those who do not know, Ultimate Jam Night is a kick ass Rock N' Roll extravaganza that takes place every Tuesday night at the World Famous Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood, California.  Organized by Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot),  Matt Starr (Mr. Big / Ace Frehley), and Mitch Perry (The Edgar Winter Group), this show takes concert goers on an amazing journey with some of the greatest musicians to ever walk the planet.  Set lists vary by week and cover a wide range of popular music (along with some deep tracks which you may have not been heard in years).  One thing that sets this show apart form others is that it's completely unrehearsed.  Every two or three songs a new supergroup is formed, each with its own unique style.  To say these shows are improvised would be an understatement.  You never know what you are going to get at Ultimate Jam Night!

The opener for this week's show was a well-known Flamenco band called Heavy Mellow.  Luis Villegas, Ben Woods, and Mike Bennett fired up the crowd with covers of classic Heavy Metal standards - all in the traditional sound of Flamenco guitars!  Songs like George Lynch's "Mr. Scary", Iron Maiden's "Wasted Years", and Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" never sounded so good.  If you ever get a chance to see these guys perform live, do so.  It's a must for anyone who appreciates flawless guitars and seamless percussion work.  Awesome!

At 9:30, it's time for musical history to be made.   After a brief public service announcement from Trippy the Clown (situated in his perch high above the Whisky crowd), host Paulie Z took the stage and introduced the first group of musicians to hit the stage. Then, out of nowhere, Matt Starr grabs the mic and launches into an incredible cover of UFO's "Light's Out".  Mind blown.  For the next 4 hours, over 40+ rock legends took the stage in various incarnations,  blasting away classics that were sure to get you off your feet, pumping your fist, and singing along like you were actually part on the band!  A few of my favorite moments Tuesday included covers of Rage against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade", The Beatles "I Am the Walrus", and Van Halen's "Pretty Woman".  However, Debbie Holiday's rendition of the classic Janis Joplin cover "Cry Baby" was one for the ages.  Absolutely electrifying.  The night wrapped up with the Guns 'n Roses classic, "Paradise City".  With all the G n' R news this week, there could not have been a better song to end an amazing evening of music.

Whether you live in the Los Angeles area or plan to visit soon, make it a point to get to the Ultimate Jam Night at the Whisky A Go Go.  What Chuck, Matt, & Mitch have put together in this weekly all-star extravaganza  is quite simply astonishing.  Bringing together the "world's greatest active rock musicians" is what these guys do best.  To see legends such as Mike Watt, Koko Powell, Wayne Kramer, & Micki Free take the stage and play in such an intimate setting took my breath away.  I can honestly say that this show far exceeded all of my initial expectations,  and I cannot wait to get back to The Whisky down the road.  Whether you are you are just starting out or have been around the block, there is something for everyone at the Ultimate Jam Night!

Stay Frosty and Rock On!

Matthew Belter

Editor - Long Beach

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