Worst 'all round live' performance by a guitarist you've seen live

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PhilW1PhilW1 Frets: 562
Opposite side of the coin to the other thread.
My pick is Ritchie Blackmore with Deep Purple at the NEC in the early 90's. I paid a fortune to see this classic (MkII(?) line up back together and he was an absolute disgrace. I've put more effort playing to a near empty pub than he did that night. Ithink they still released the video too. no shame some people.
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  • scrumhalfscrumhalf Frets: 7517
    There was a version of The Byrds that came to the UK in the early 90s, put together by, I think, Michael CLarke, the original drummer. On guitar they had a bloke called Jerry Sorn who played a 12-string Guild 335-alike and was just incredible. They did a long version of Eight Miles High and he was pulling licks out of this Guild that came from another planet.

    However.

    One of the support bands was a well-known merseybeat band who had recently reformed. They shouldn't have. There were so many bum notes it was either the worst merseybeat set I've ever seen or the best jazz set I've ever seen.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 10834
    I’m sure I’ve accidentally looked in the mirror at least once whilst playing. 

    At one of the Birmingham blues festivals there was a guy from Mississippi I can’t remember his name but we talked to him in the bar before the gig, MrsTheWeary became his unofficial translator as she was used to accents from the Deep South. His borrowed guitar for the gig had a floyd rose, he knocked it out of tune by the end of the first song and it never got any better. He was fine really but completely out of tune and no one in the backing band sorted him out. 
    When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die. 
    Jean-Paul Sartre 
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  • zepp76zepp76 Frets: 1663
    I don’t like to bad mouth him but Mick Ralphs was absolutely appalling at the Sheffield blues festival. I mean really bad, it didn’t even sound like playing just noise. Such a shame.
    Now when the day goes to sleep and the full moon looks
    And the night is so black that the darkness cooks
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 51964
    PhilW1 said:
    Opposite side of the coin to the other thread.
    My pick is Ritchie Blackmore with Deep Purple at the NEC in the early 90's. I paid a fortune to see this classic (MkII(?) line up back together and he was an absolute disgrace. I've put more effort playing to a near empty pub than he did that night. Ithink they still released the video too. no shame some people.
    Dishonourable mention for Mr. Blackmore from me too I'm afraid - he's always been one of my heroes, and I did also see him on one of the reunion MkII tours (1987, House Of Blue Light), at which he was great... but I saw him a couple of years ago with Rainbow and it was just poor. The band were like a bad pub Rainbow tribute band, and he didn't play a single one of the classic solos. I'm not a 'you must play it like the record' fan at all, but he didn't even make any attempt to play anything remotely similar or as good. OK he's getting on a bit now and maybe he's lost some of his former dexterity - but if so, do something completely different. Don't charge money for seeing 'Rainbow' and then give a half-arsed effort like that.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • OssyrocksOssyrocks Frets: 1264
    I’m not saying worst all round performance, but maybe the most disappointing ever was Eric Johnson. Manchester RNCM.

    Apparently he had a row with the sound crew and spent all day soundchecking. It didn’t help, it was appalling. So bad that I nearly walked out.
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  • munckeemunckee Frets: 6655
    Not guitar related but Paul Mccartney at glasto was a horrific disappointment.  He really couldn't be bothered until the live cameras started half way through and then turned the cheese up as high as he could.
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  • RedlesterRedlester Frets: 414
    John McLaughlin- Royal Festival Hall about 25 years ago. 

    He wasn't awful and played guitar very well as you'd expect. But the technical competence wasn't put in the service of anything remotely interesting in musical terms.  It was bland. And he didn't come on until about 9:30pm. This gig was going on and on, smooth jazz hotel lobby music, long solos etc. I left at what felt like 11:00pm for a late train, as I had work the next day. 

    It was a good band too- Dennis Chambers on drums IIRC- but as I say pretty dull stuff. I've just checked online and he was touring "The Heart of Things" album at the time. 

    I'll tell you what else was weird: The place wasn't anywhere near full. I was sat in the Gods near the back. There were only about ten people in the top tier. They could have sat me anywhere, and I my ticket placed me next to a complete stranger. I mean I could have had a full row to myself and they put me near some random bloke. I did move anyway.

    One of the few gigs I walked out of, partly because I was knackered and partly because it wasn't worth staying. 
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  • Michael Schenker group. He was absolutely wasted and could barely play. Backing band seemed very amateurish too, was crap all around.
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  • chromatunachromatuna Frets: 146
    Making it a hat trick for Blackmore, 79 or 80 at Wembley. Played for less than an hour, really couldn’t be bothered. Awful and a kick in the face for the fans. Resulted in a bit of a mini riot. Saw Rainbow before when Dio was still around and it was fine
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  • phil_bphil_b Frets: 1471
    this is pretty bad



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  • Jimbro66Jimbro66 Frets: 1853
    Albert King. I always really liked his singing and playing and his great guitar tone but......  I saw him close a show that featured several top blues men and although his playing was as good as ever his guitar sound was excruciating. High volume and piercing treble compounded by an awful phaser pedal. It took the enamel off your teeth. After two or three numbers people were shouting to him to turn it down. He just carried on so quite a lot of the audience started walking out and it wasn’t long before I did too. A huge disappointment.
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  • Philly_QPhilly_Q Frets: 9282
    Michael Schenker group. He was absolutely wasted and could barely play. Backing band seemed very amateurish too, was crap all around.

    Same for me, they were supporting the Scorpions.  Schenker spent half the set lying on his back at the edge of the stage.  It was pretty funny though. 

    He got himself sorted out after that, but I still think he's weird - always wearing that woolly hat and shades, and he's so skinny now, he doesn't look at all healthy.

    Another time I saw Schenker, on a G3 tour with Uli Jon Roth and Joe Satriani.  At that time he had dyed black hair and a Jeremy Beadle beard.  He wasn't terrible, but he wasn't very good either.

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  • MoominpapaMoominpapa Frets: 1325
    Sorry to say it was a John Martyn gig. I loved his music and was psyched to be there, but he was already well liquored-up when he came on. I don't think he knew where he was and looked & sounded like he was just hoping to make it through the show, When he fucked up the beginning of one of my favourite songs of his because he was drinking beer and needed to  belch, I decided it was time to go and not see one of my musical idols disintegrate any more before my eyes.
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  • ReverendReverend Frets: 2446
    Ive seen Schenker a few times on form and he is untouchable. 

    However,  i also saw him supporting Scorpions. Ouch
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  • Sorry to say it was a John Martyn gig. I loved his music and was psyched to be there, but he was already well liquored-up when he came on. I don't think he knew where he was and looked & sounded like he was just hoping to make it through the show, When he fucked up the beginning of one of my favourite songs of his because he was drinking beer and needed to  belch, I decided it was time to go and not see one of my musical idols disintegrate any more before my eyes.
    I saw him in the mid 90s at a small festival, he was well oiled by the time he hit the stage. He probably told more jokes than play music. If I'd paid to specifically see him, I'd have been disappointed.

    As a side note, but never witnessed by me (wasn't born at the time!), there are a couple of pretty horrendous bootleg recordings of Free when Paul Kossoff was in full-blown junkie mode. He literally can barely play throughout, John Bundrick, the keys player picked up the majority of the slack.
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  • WhitecatWhitecat Frets: 3707
    Just in general the Smashing Pumpkins were a horrible live band - with all guitarists being guilty of not caring. Saw them twice - once while Jimmy was in rehab and then again when he rejoined but they had fired Darcy. The one thing they played that I enjoyed was the second time with Jimmy (who really is an amazing drummer) - a longer (!) version of ‘Drown’ that was just amazing. Everything else they played was either sped up or phoned in. It made me sad because I still think they were an incredible studio band and I love their albums, but live it just didn’t work. 
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 11968
    Whitecat said:
    Just in general the Smashing Pumpkins were a horrible live band - with all guitarists being guilty of not caring. Saw them twice - once while Jimmy was in rehab and then again when he rejoined but they had fired Darcy. The one thing they played that I enjoyed was the second time with Jimmy (who really is an amazing drummer) - a longer (!) version of ‘Drown’ that was just amazing. Everything else they played was either sped up or phoned in. It made me sad because I still think they were an incredible studio band and I love their albums, but live it just didn’t work. 

    I think they were a studio project with Billy doing everything, but the drums on a lot of the stuff so it's probably not surprising they couldn't replicate it live.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • WhitecatWhitecat Frets: 3707
    Whitecat said:
    Just in general the Smashing Pumpkins were a horrible live band - with all guitarists being guilty of not caring. Saw them twice - once while Jimmy was in rehab and then again when he rejoined but they had fired Darcy. The one thing they played that I enjoyed was the second time with Jimmy (who really is an amazing drummer) - a longer (!) version of ‘Drown’ that was just amazing. Everything else they played was either sped up or phoned in. It made me sad because I still think they were an incredible studio band and I love their albums, but live it just didn’t work. 

    I think they were a studio project with Billy doing everything, but the drums on a lot of the stuff so it's probably not surprising they couldn't replicate it live.
    For sure - but even Billy seemed like he didn't want to be there on the nights. Expected more passion from him, but it was what it was.
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  • horsehorse Frets: 944
    Whitecat said:
    Just in general the Smashing Pumpkins were a horrible live band - with all guitarists being guilty of not caring. Saw them twice - once while Jimmy was in rehab and then again when he rejoined but they had fired Darcy. The one thing they played that I enjoyed was the second time with Jimmy (who really is an amazing drummer) - a longer (!) version of ‘Drown’ that was just amazing. Everything else they played was either sped up or phoned in. It made me sad because I still think they were an incredible studio band and I love their albums, but live it just didn’t work. 
     I saw them after Gish prior to Siamese dream at Nottingham Trent student union, and it was great, even though they played a lot that hadn't been released yet / I didn't recognise  - really exciting.

    Then saw them at Rock City - possibly last night of the Siamese dream euro tour I think, and to celebrate the occasion they played Siamese dream in full. Have to say that did drag a bit for me - something about knowing what song's coming next made it less enjoyable. Think they still sounded pretty good though, but my memory of both gigs is fading.
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  • NeillNeill Frets: 399
    I don't think I have been to many concerts that have been ruined by being too loud, but back in the 1970's I saw Cheap Trick and Rick Nielsen's guitar volume was so high you really couldn't tell what he was playing.  
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  • LodiousLodious Frets: 1515
    Ossyrocks said:
    I’m not saying worst all round performance, but maybe the most disappointing ever was Eric Johnson. Manchester RNCM.

    Apparently he had a row with the sound crew and spent all day soundchecking. It didn’t help, it was appalling. So bad that I nearly walked out.
    That's funny, because I was about to say Allan Holdsworth at RNCM. He had a fridge full of effects and obviously cares a lot about his tone, but in the context of a concert hall, you couldn't hear a note he played. A total waste of time, and very frustrating to witness. I feel like I've seen him live, but not heard him. 
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  • MoominpapaMoominpapa Frets: 1325
    Neill said:
    I don't think I have been to many concerts that have been ruined by being too loud, but back in the 1970's I saw Cheap Trick and Rick Nielsen's guitar volume was so high you really couldn't tell what he was playing.  

    Just out of interest, was that gig at Lancaster University @Neil ? Went to a couple of gigs there in the mid-late 70s and their  hall had the acoustics of a fully-porcelain-tiled public convenience.
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  • dindudedindude Frets: 7251
    Ossyrocks said:
    I’m not saying worst all round performance, but maybe the most disappointing ever was Eric Johnson. Manchester RNCM.

    Apparently he had a row with the sound crew and spent all day soundchecking. It didn’t help, it was appalling. So bad that I nearly walked out.
    Mines the same, love Eric’s playing and saw him in a small venue in London, it was unlistenable, the sound was arse and it effected his performance, which was similarly arse. Sad to see. I’d persuaded my wife to come along too, never has come to a gig with me since! 
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  • Philly_QPhilly_Q Frets: 9282
    Lodious said:
    Ossyrocks said:
    I’m not saying worst all round performance, but maybe the most disappointing ever was Eric Johnson. Manchester RNCM.

    Apparently he had a row with the sound crew and spent all day soundchecking. It didn’t help, it was appalling. So bad that I nearly walked out.
    That's funny, because I was about to say Allan Holdsworth at RNCM. He had a fridge full of effects and obviously cares a lot about his tone, but in the context of a concert hall, you couldn't hear a note he played. A total waste of time, and very frustrating to witness. I feel like I've seen him live, but not heard him. 
    That's the opposite of me and Queensryche.  I was stuck at the very back of the Town and Country Club, and I am short.  I couldn't see anything at all on the stage, not even the top of anyone's head.  So I have heard Queensryche live, but not seen them.
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  • NeillNeill Frets: 399
    Neill said:
    I don't think I have been to many concerts that have been ruined by being too loud, but back in the 1970's I saw Cheap Trick and Rick Nielsen's guitar volume was so high you really couldn't tell what he was playing.  

    Just out of interest, was that gig at Lancaster University @Neil ? Went to a couple of gigs there in the mid-late 70s and their  hall had the acoustics of a fully-porcelain-tiled public convenience.
    @Moominpapa - interesting you should mention Lancaster as I used to live just up the road in Kendal and my wife did a post grad course there, but I don't think we ever went to any gigs.  TBH I can't remember where it was - though I should!  I think it was Sheffield and either the University or the Polly (as it then was) but I went to scores of gigs at both venues and don't remember the accoustics being a problem, quite the reverse.  

    Did you ever get up to the Brewery Arts Centre at Kendal?  They got some surprisingly high profile bands there but yet again the venue was one where the volume had to be spot on or it could sound awful.
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  • NiteflyNitefly Frets: 3350
    Mine was Kevin Ayers.  He'd finished with Soft Machine, but hadn't got The Whole World going, so I guess 1971?

    Anyway he was completely wasted before he came on.  He sat down, did half a song, said "Ah, fuck it" and went off.  Not best pleased!

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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 10834
    Nitefly said:
    Mine was Kevin Ayers.  He'd finished with Soft Machine, but hadn't got The Whole World going, so I guess 1971?

    Anyway he was completely wasted before he came on.  He sat down, did half a song, said "Ah, fuck it" and went off.  Not best pleased!

    MrsTheWeary paid a small fortune to see Elton John when she lived in Little Rock and he stormed off after four songs. She turns over the channel if he comes on the TV or radio, never forgiven him. 

    When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die. 
    Jean-Paul Sartre 
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  • GrunfeldGrunfeld Frets: 3470
    Michael Schenker group. He was absolutely wasted and could barely play. Backing band seemed very amateurish too, was crap all around.
    Yep.  I was going to mention Schenker.  Seen him many times -- he's my favourite guitarist ever but I think this period was about 2000ish? maybe a little later.  It was dire.  It was the only time I could ever truly say that I could play better than Michael Schenker (no pleasure from that though).  I'm really pleased that he's sobered up and sorted his sh*t out.  I like his new style of playing too.  Makes me smile though to be singing along, as a godless atheist, to the new stuff which has gone all Christian and a bit Jesus.  Doesn't bother me.
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  • drippycatdrippycat Frets: 65
    If it's too loud I'd have to say Motorhead. The first Motorhead meet at Bingley Hall was 2-8pm backup bands of the usual loudness. Then the main event came on and you couldn't tell one song from the other apart from the occasional hook. It was the same for the other 3 gigs I saw them do. I know it's supposed to be 'If it's too loud you're too old', but I was 15.
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  • BloodEagleBloodEagle Frets: 4849
    edited January 13
    drippycat said:
    If it's too loud I'd have to say Motorhead. The first Motorhead meet at Bingley Hall was 2-8pm backup bands of the usual loudness. Then the main event came on and you couldn't tell one song from the other apart from the occasional hook. It was the same for the other 3 gigs I saw them do. I know it's supposed to be 'If it's too loud you're too old', but I was 15.
    Id have to agree re: Motorhead - they were the first gig I ever went to (also aged 15) and they were so loud I didnt have a clue what song they were playing, it was just ludicrous - I was off school for the rest of the week because I couldnt hear a thing.
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