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Yngwie Malmsteen is arguably one of the most incredible guitarists on the planet today.  Inspired by classic composers such as Paganini and Bach, this virtuoso from Stockholm, Sweden has taken the world by storm since going solo in 1984 and has never looked back.  A touring madman, Malmsteen is back at it again in 2018, blazing trails across the US in support of his latest album, World on Fire.  Over the past 20 years, I have seen Yngwie perform on countless occasions, and each time I am blown away by the sheer magic that pours out in every performance.  His distinct sound is like no other guitarist on the scene today - fusing classical music with rock into a melodic masterpiece that transcends time and space.

On January 24th, Yngwie Malmsteen marched back into Orange County (his first of 5 local shows) for a night of guitar wizardry at one of Southern California’s premier concert venues, The Observatory – OC.  There would be no opening act tonight, only the Maestro himself, Mr. Yngwie J. Malmsteen.  In speaking to many fans prior to the show, it seemed like the majority had been following Yngwie since his early days with Steeler or Alcatrazz.  A few others had just started listening to his music recently and we’re captured immediately by his incredible guitar prowess. 

With moments to go until downbeat, a rabid Yngwie disciple ran back and forth through the photo pit screaming at the top of his lungs, “Yngwie, Yngwie, Yngwie”.  Many in the near-capacity crowd followed suit in hopes of coaxing Yngwie out ahead of his expected 8:30pm start time.  Energy levels were taking off and the show had yet to begin.  I could tell this show was going to be one for the ages.

As the crowd continued its “Yngwie” chant, the stage began to fill with a dense fog and lights dimmed.  The place erupted as Yngwie Malmsteen finally took the stage.  Silhouetted against a massive wall of Marshall Amps, Yngwie launched into his amazing setlist with "Rising Force" off his 1988 release, Odyssey. He seemed to have his Custom Fender Strat dialed in on Wednesday night as he sounded nearly flawless.  Next up was "Into Valhalla”, off his 2010 album, Relentless.  Probably one of my favorite live Yngwie songs and took energy levels to a whole new level down in the pit area.  

For the next hour and a half, Yngwie absolutely killed it with 25 more tracks that spanned most of his 20 studio albums.   Throughout the show, Malmsteen demonstrated his amazing guitar prowess on classical pieces such as “Violin Concerto #4 in D Minor” (Niccolo Paganini Cover) as well as “Adagio in G Minor” (A Remo Giazotto Cover).  In addition, Yngwie scorched the Observatory stage with a blazing rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (A John Stafford Smith Cover).  The Orange County crowd went absolutely nuts as Yngwie paid tribute to our National Anthem in signature form along with his trademark salute when the song came to an end.  Truly amazing and a highlight for many in attendance Wednesday evening.

And if you thought it could not get any better, Yngwie wrapped up his monster set with a killer encore including classics “Black Star” and “I’ll See the Light Tonight”. These fan favorites capped off an amazing evening of rock at The Observatory – OC and were a perfect choice to end an incredible evening of rock and roll with the Maestro himself.

If you are one of the few who have not seen Yngwie Malmsteen live, you are missing out on one of the most talented guitarists on the planet today.  His overall performance on Wednesday was remarkable, and his precision guitar work was (as always) second to none.  And when you consider that Yngwie has been shredding for almost 40 years, it makes a performance like tonight’s even more spectacular. 

Stay Frosty and Rock On!


For more information on Yngwie Malmsteen and his and his 2017 World on Fire World Tour, please click HERE.

For more information on Southern California’s premier concert venue, The Observatory – OC, please click HERE.



Rising Force


Into Valhalla

Baroque & Roll


No Rest for the Wicked

Top Down, Foot Down

Like an Angel (For April)

Badinerie (Johann Sebastian Bach cover)

Violin Concerto #4 in D Minor (Niccolo Paganini Cover)

Adagio in G minor (Remo Giazotto cover)

Far Beyond the Sun

The Star-Spangled Banner (John Stafford Smith cover)

Seventh Sign


From a Thousand Cuts

Arpeggios from Hell

World on Fire

Now Your Ships Are Burned

Evil Eye

Trilogy Suite Op: 5



Drum Solo

You Don’t Remember



Acoustic Guitar Solo

Black Star

I'll See the Light Tonight

Matthew Belter

Executive Editor - Long Beach

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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