Gig review: YNGWIE MALMSTEEN at Enmore Theatre, July 9 1990
By STEVE MASCORD
YNGWIE MALMSTEEN is refreshingly easy to take the piss out of. He doesn’t put up any defences, compares himself to great composers and masturbates his guitar like the ultimate sonic megalomaniac.
And so here was Yngwie, who I’d never seen before but had already branded as a wanker, starting his show with smoke and a ridiculous solo, then out trots a skinny blond bloke with a high voice to sing his songs. Everyone’s singing politely in their seats as per security’s instructions and Yngwie is fitting around the stage and flicking guitar picks into people’s faces.
Yeah, what a wanker.
But about three rather silly songs in, everything changes. A group of hardly punters rush the sombre bouncers stationed at the base of the stage and a human tidal wave follows, trashing the first three rows. Their fists are in the air, they’re on each other’s shoulders and collectively they envelope Yngwie and band. Suddenly, frontman Goran Edman grows an extra vocal leg, Malmsteen is moving at a breakneck velocity and – yes – they’re entertaining.
The songs, still, rarely rise above average, but Yngwie’s claims that this band makes all his previous line-ups ‘look silly’ begin to take on some substance. There is some energy and – even – chemistry there.(continued below)
Inevitably, the Swedish thunder good loses it all and goes back to being obsessed with his own dexterity. About one minute and four thousand notes into the encore, I yawn and head for the door.
Yngwie had been self-indulgent for sure, although I had quite enjoyed his feedback theatrics. For what it’s worth, no one who dealt with Malmsteen during this week in the country had a bad word for him. On stage, he appeared to have a genuine affection for his bandmates and even his solos never went on to the extent of obvious extreme egotism.
From the evidence on show tonight, Yngwie is just doing what he wants to and doing it well. I may not like it very much, but a sold-out Enmore did.
Good on him.
This review originally appeared in KERRANG! MAGAZINE