Ever heard a classical Spanish guitar duo cover a Metallica song? Neither had I until Rodrigo y Gabriela’s cover of the song ‘One’ trickled into my ear holes at a party. After sitting next to the speakers rocking back and forth with a look of awe on my face two things happened – I got kicked out of the party and I was hooked on Rodrigo y Gabriela. The same happens to most people that hear them (minus the ‘get kicked out of the party for creepiness’ part).
While the duo have a relatively limited repertoire of original music, everything they perform (cover or not) has a distinctly unique twist and is performed with such intense musical virtuosity that it might as well be their own, because it is arguably better than the original. That being said, Rod and Gab are far too classy to ever make the same claim and always give full credit to the giants whose shoulders they stand on. It does cause one to debate whether one craves more original compositions or more kick-ass cover-medley acoustic jams.
Speaking of the giants, Rodrigo y Gabriela list their top 3 musical influences as Metallica, Megadeth and Slipknot, followed by classical and jazz artists such as Al Di Meola, Strunz & Farah and the Alex Skolnick Trio. It all adds up to an extremely eclectic variety of giants’ shoulders and results in a mind-boggling live show.
Live In Japan is similar to Live: Manchester and Dublin, featuring many of the favorite metal-esque cover songs such as ‘One’, ‘Orion’ and ‘Stairway To Heaven’ as well as jazz classics such as ‘Take Five’ (originally recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet) all intermingled into a cacophony of musical genius that bridges all genres. As all of their live shows, however, every song is made unique, some are jammed to new levels (such as a 10 minute long version or their song ‘Foc’) and obscure-but-recognizable musical references are subtly woven into each song which even the most knowledgeable audiophile would be hard pressed to identify. The emotional rollercoaster of attending a Rodrigo y Gabriela show is indescribable, but one can listen to an album like Live In Japan and be enthralled by imagining what’s happening on stage. The show jams it’s brains out until each musician takes a break while the other solos (inspiring the debate as to which one you like better), the solos transition smoothly into a pristine ‘Stairway’ cover and then climbs to screaming crescendo with ‘Tamacun’ and ‘Diablo Rojo’. Both musicians (especially Rodrigo) make a point to involve the audience by imploring them to sing and clap along, cracking jokes, telling stories and soloing on request. All of these factors combined have made Rodrigo y Gabriela one the greatest word-of-mouth successes of all time have cultivated a religious cult following all around the world with very minimal marketing. They let their music do the talking…and it’s very convincing.
The Point: Yet another insane specimen of live musical performance from Rodrigo y Gabriela – I recommend it for anyone who has any inkling of appreciation for the beauty of acoustic guitar. Hopefully it will inspire you to see them live at any expense. AN ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY MUST-SEE LIVE SHOW!Rodrigo y Gabriela - Live In Japan,