Jul 04, 2009
Montreux Jazz Festival (Stravinski Hall) Featuring Steely Dan, Dave Matthews, Chickenfoot
Montreux, Switzerland
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In the past I have seen a lot of great concerts. I saw Queen + Paul Rodgers twice, which was awesome, because Queen are my alltime favorite band and seing even a part of them live was a dream come true. I saw the Eagles, also twice, who delivered an absolutely flawless performance both times - musical perfection. I saw Bill Frisell open air on a soft summer night, which was one of the most intimately moving musical experiences of my life. I saw Lynyrd Skynyrd, who were also great. I saw Johnny Winter, which was a humbling experience. I saw Roger Waters with his current band, which was overwhelmingly powerful and intense. I saw Status Quo who deliver an incredibly energetic performance every time. I saw Kris Kristofferson - solo, what an intense personality! I saw Simon and Garfunkel, who were a total disappointment. I saw Jimmie Vaughan who I think is one of the most underestimated guitarists of our time. And I saw Bruce Springsteen, B.B. King, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Mark Knopfler and many more.

And I saw THE FOOT!!! Allow me to tell you about the whole experience:
Me and my collegue from work got into his convertible VW Golf after work at the music store on that saturday and took on the road to Montreux, which is at the other end of the country. Montreux itself is beautiful. No wonder so many international stars have homes on lake Geneva.
OK, now here's the REALLY COOL THING: one of our business partners managed to get backstage passes for us. So we got those and got a little backstage tour. You wouldn't believe the equipment they got ready just for backup at an event like that. Drums of all kinds and brands, SEVERAL Hammond B3s plus Leslies and some of the sweetest, hottest vintage amps you can think of. Fender, Marshall, Vox... you name it.
So we were having one hell of a time and were in a great mood.
When the performance of the Dave Mathews band was over we secured ourselves the best spot in the front and waited for the moment.
AND THEN THEY CAME!!! Zero to way off the scale in less than a second. So much power! So much Energy, Such Skill! No prisoners! I have NEVER seen a band like that before. Four guys having a great time together, enjoying themselves and getting a total kick out of playing together - and being absolutely superb at it!

OK, I admit it: I am a guitarist and the main reason why I came was because I was interested in seing how Satriani would play in this position as a band guitarist, which was something new for him. Well, he played ... exquisitly... overwhelming... mindblowing. But the things that really struck me most were the performances of the rest of the band. Never before have I seen such a drummer. The way Chad Smith seemingly without the least effort covers both, brutal and straight forward rock beats and funky, groovy accents at the same time and still has enough energy and brain cappacity to goof off behind his drums (without missing a single beat) is simply superhuman.
Sammy Hagar is an outstanding vocalist and a perfect frontman. His vocal abilities are of a rare quality. And in an Allstar lineup like Chickenfoot, most other frontmen would probably simply drown in the overwhelming presence of the rest of the band. But Hagar always knows his spot. He is way in the front when he's needed in the front and he is somewhere in the background, when someone else is getting his moment in the spotlight, but never disappearing.
Last but not least - Michael Anthony. I had the chance to have a quick chat with him before the show. He is an incredibly down to earth and friendly guy. There is absolutely nothing "starry" about the man. The way he talks to people feels more like some builder on his coffee break - laid back and relaxed. But on the stage he is whirling around like Rumpelstilzkin, caught up in a tornado. The foundation he lais with his groove is so solid that even the earthquake he produces can't shake it. Michael Anthony: The walking Tunderbolt. Oh yeah, and his harmony vocals have the percision you get from the Eagles, but with the power you can only get from a band like ... well... Chickenfoot...

My personal favorite nonmusical moments were, when Sammy reminded Chad, who was keeping busy, beating the shit out of his drums, that the doctors told him to take it easy on his shoulder and Chad replied "I am!" and added another out of this world fill and the moment the management or whoever it may have been told the security people to remove the railings in front of the stage and the audience could move up all the way to the band. The guy with the I don't know how many million dollars TV camera who missed the moment and almost got trampled was probably a bit less excited about it though...

So that is a quick recollection of my impressions of Chickenfoot. What a band! So tight, so together, so strong, so excited!!! So exciting!!!

Praise the Foot!

You guys kicked ass!
The show started at midnight, just the perfect time...and you rocked the whole place for two hours easy. Wow. Even coming back for more when you weren't supposed to...
And the energy...the chemistry that's going on between all of you is just awesome!
I'm so grateful you were able to play, especially because of Chad's shoulder...it's great that he decided not to take a break, but I hope it's not too serious! Sammy showed us that big bandage on Chad's arm...
Anyway, you made my night, I didn't want that show to end, ever. Too bad I didn't get to meet you guys afterwards, I'd have loved that!

Rock'n'roll is still alive!