If you put Deep Purple/Rainbow guitarist Ritchie Blackmore in a blender with Baroque composer Johannes Sebastian Bach and Italian Classical-era violinist Niccolo Paganini, sprinkled with a dash of Jimi Hendrix, and dressed the mixture in black leather pants and a swashbuckler’s blouse, you’d have something pretty close to Yngwie Malmsteen. As the pre-eminent figurehead of the neo-classical metal movement, the Swedish wunderkind emerged in the early 1980s to claim the throne as the king of classical arpeggios played on distorted electric guitars. He’s spent the decades since enjoying his unchallenged reign from his kingdom in Florida, where he lives when not touring the world behind consistently ambitious marriages of Bach and rock, in the process, reminding mere mortal guitarists that they aren’t ever likely to unseat him.
Most recently, Malmsteen and his wife hatched the idea behind the “Guitar Gods Tour,” which finds Malmsteen headlining a bill that also includes another of his primary influences, German guitarist Uli Jon Roth, formerly of the pre-hair metal band Scorpions. Roth’s dazzling technique and ability to marry the electric howl of Hendrix to the refined strictures of baroque music has made him a god to several generations of rock guitarists.
Malmsteen, Roth and their guests Bumblefoot and Gary Hoey will bring the “Guitar Gods Tour” to Braun’s Concert Cove (11891 Main Road, Akron) at 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25 (Ticketweb.com).
– Jeff Miers