A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood
Les Paul, Slash, Joe Perry, Buddy Guy
In 2006 a group of amazing guitarists came together to pay tribute to a legend who inspired them and influenced countless other artists. Slash, Neil Schon, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Buddy Guy, Joe Perry, Joe Satriani and others played at Universal Studios in honor of Les Paul. Thankfully, this was before Les passed away in 2009, so he was able to appreciate the tribute.
The performances are amazing. Slash plays while Edgar Winter sings “Superstition”. Satriani shreds on “Satch Boogie”. Buddy Guy and Joe Perry collaborate on “Going Down”. Shayna Steele sings while Neil Schon tears “I Wanna Know You” up. Among the other performances, we even get to watch and listen to ninety-year-old Les play a few licks. While the performances shine, the real meat of the show is the documentary that the songs periodically interrupt. Mixing archival footage, performances, and photographs with contemporary interviews, we learn about just how influential Les Paul was to music. If he was just a guitar player, his place in history would be cemented. His techniques were innovative, combining country, jazz and blues with licks that had never been played before. Guitarists have been emulating him since his first album, and will be finding inspiration from his imitators for generations. Paul not only innovated guitar playing technique, he innovated the way guitars were built. He was a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar, and those stories are told by him during the documentary. The Gibson Les Paul series of guitars have become among the most sought after instruments in various genres of music. In addition to the instruments, Paul innovated in the recording studio. He pioneered both overdubbing (sound-on-sound) and multitrack recording.
Listening to artists and producers talk about how much he contributed to popular music was even more entertaining than watching the performances. From some of the clips being played under voiceover, it looks like there may have been an end of the show jam with several of the artists on stage at once. It would have been nice to see that on the video. That nitpick aside, If you want to see some legendary guitarists jam on some great songs, take a look at this show. But if you are at all interested in the history of music and one of the legends of the business, this is a must watch.