Eric Johnson

I took my 16 year old son Bret to see one of his guitar idols. I asked him to write some thoughts for this review and the following paragraph is what he had to say about the show.

"Kickin' off the night with the first several songs from the new album Venus Isle, Eric Johnson played out an excellent show. Johnson's music is sometimes hard to classify or compare with others because his playing style is very unique. Eric uses a wide variety of playing styles in his songs and they vary from easy listening to blues and even all the way to rock. Everyone at the show seemed to like the ever popular Cliffs of Dover and Righteous, both songs from his second album."

It is hard to define the guitar style of Eric Johnson. He really IS in a class by himself having mastered many different styles including rock, country and blues, to name just a few. His playing is absolutely amazing -- it is so clean, precise and complex. He is able to take you on some beautiful musical journeys.

This night at the Guthrie he was in his own element and really able to express the many different facets of his guitar playing personality. Different than when he was in town last fall for the G3 tour with Satriani and Via where he tended to hold himself back. Here he was relaxed and in complete control and put on one superb show.

He did a surprising number of blues songs in addition to his tribute to "SRV", including "Rock Me Baby" and "Red House". After performing his song "Venus Isle", from his new album, he commented that this was such a clean take that he should have recorded it. I can vouch for that, it sounded remarkable!

He was also able to create some amazingly different sounds with his different guitars. He would pick up a new guitar and it would almost sound like a different performer had stepped on stage. He just kept getting better as the night went on. After the 3rd encore we got the idea that he was having so much fun he didn't want to stop...what a great night by one of the premier guitar players on stage today. He will return to the Twin Cities at the State Fair this fall.

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Copyright © 1997 by Ray M. Stiles
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