In this DVD, Larry Carlton and Steve Lukather, two guitar masters from diametrically opposite ends of the LA studio session scene, share the billing for the first time in a live concert setting. Surely this is what guitar dreams are made of.
The first track, Jeff Beck's The Pump, is given the extended improv treatment. Lukather is in fine form and his tone is breathtaking. His mastery and control of feedback, nuanced by Touches on the vibrato bar as well as his very accurately executed swooping bends show a more recent Beck influence.
Opting for a fat, mildly overdrawn tone from his Gibson ES335 and Dumble amplifiers, Carlton duly responses. With his soulful tone and immaculate touch, we are reminded of all the things we love about Larry Carlton. He takes a lot of liberties, even quoting 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' before going into his soaring trademark fusion lines.
The second cut, Blues Force, a Fourplay tune, is a hard swinging shuffle with the main melody played in twin-guitar harmony. Carlton switches to a vintage Les Paul Special for this tune. In its day, the Special was introduced as a lower end, no-frills Les Paul guitar, with a simple slab body, unadorned neck and P90 pickup. And Larry really makes that guitar sing, proving once and for all that it is really all in the hands.
The next tune, It Was Only Yesterday was originally from Carlton's self-titled second album 'Larry Carlton'. Larry introduces this song with Johnny Smith-style chord voicings before launching into the tune as a chord-melody arrangement replete with counterpoint lines, artificial harmonics and closed-chord voicings. Lukather then enters and restates the melody with a vibe and feel that is totally vintage Carlton. Uncanny.
On the fourth cut, Lukather launches into his trademark rendition of Red House, the famous Jimi Hendrix tune. This is the token vocal song on the DVD and I'm guessing it is one of Lukather's favorites since he sings it so often in his other different bands. His rather manic blues-inflected rock solo is followed by Carlton's elegantly understated blues lines. Again, Carlton sets up his solo so well you can cut the atmosphere with a knife. Truly a master at work. As Lukather humbly says to the audience, "There's not many people that can play a guitar like that", one can not help but nod in agreement.
If you're a fan of virtuoso guitar playing, I'll leave you to check out the rest of this superb concert for yourself. Get this on DVD as the audio quality in both DTS and Dolby 5.1 is superb.