I like to play Guitar Hero. So when I saw the Guitar Hero Championship listed on the Great American Music Hall’s calendar, I thought it would be a pretty fun little event. Not only was it not what I expected, but it was way way way way WAY better.
Guitar Player’s Guitar Hero Championship is a competition between 10 finalist guitar players, who perform a few minutes of their own material in front of professional guitar player judges. It was quite a stellar list of judges:
Joe Satriani: Guitar virtuoso, who has taught Kirk Hammett how to play the guitar.
Steve Lukather: From Toto, and was the session guitarist for Michael Jackson’s Beat It.
Elliot Easton: From The Cars
Greg Howe: Session musician who has worked with Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson
Mike Varney: Producer, who has worked with quintessential ’80’s band W.A.S.P.
Nuno Bettencourt: Guitarist for Extreme (yes, More Than Words), former guitarist for Satellite Party, and has also worked with Criss Angel
Last year’s winner Trey Alexander came out and showed us why he won, playing with his teeth and behind his head. Here’s his winning performance from last year:
Now for the 10 finalists:
There was a wide range of styles: classical, jazz, Latin, rock, rockabilly, and country. All of the performances were great. The judges commented after each performance, focusing on a combo of stage presence, composition, and skill.
In the intermission after the first five performances, Nuno Bettencourt came down and played a song, and then played a little improv with Greg Howe.
After a long deliberation, the winners were chosen:
Second Runner Up: Danny B. Harvey
First Runner Up: Les Robot
2007 Guitar Hero: Ladd Smith
While there was a demo of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, the Guitar Hero Championship is a night about real guitar players.
Next year when this event rolls around, you should plan to be there.