Well, I was hoping someone
(most likely someone in the states) would recognize the guitarist as Billy Squier
. He was real big in the 80s as just straight up rock music in the vein of groups like Led Zepplin or Aerosmith; although Squier's success came in the early 80s, a bit after
all of the bands that became categorized as "classic rock".
I was expecting this concert to be decent as I saw him once before as part of the Ringo Starr All Starr band and witnessed that he was a good guitar player; but I wasn't expecting Billy and his own band to totally kick ass and tear the roof off of the place like they did.
The band was a standard group of five musicians: two guitars, bass, drums, and keyboardist. The other guitarist was Marc Copley. I'd call him the rhythm guitarist except that he played some pretty intricate stuff, and backed or played along with Squier on various solos and such. Squier seamlessly blended playing lead guitar and singing, better than any I have seen; it looked like he had been doing it his whole life. He played better than what I've witnessed from people such as Lindsey Buckingham or Mark Knopfler.
As for vocals, many of these older rock bands tune their songs down a key because they don't have the vocal range that they had when they were younger; not the case with Squier! He it all of the right notes, all the songs were in the same key as on the albums, and he did it as effortlessly as he played guitar. I was quite impressed -- surprised, actually. And the band as a whole was spot-on; they were really tight. The sum of all of this -- plus an enthusiastic crowd like only Cleveland can deliver -- made it an incredible event.
I know a fair number of musicians, and I have often heard people say that musicians peak in their late 40s to mid-50s; I thought this was true of several old bands I've seen in the past ten years, and it's definitely true of Squier -- after watching some old concert footage of him from the early 80s, I'd say Squier is definitely at his best today.
As icing on the cake, this was the first bona fide rock
concert that my wife has ever been to; we saw David Bowie in 2004, but that's more pop, less rock. I was hoping that my wife would enjoy the show; she's never been interested in rock music. As it turned out, she had a blast, and really got into it -- surprised me!