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Artists: Richie Kotzen - Peace Sign Tour
Where: Camden Underworld - London
Date: 10.08.09

Sauntering up to land of North London, I as usual tried to suss out who the likelys would be from the Richie Kotzen fanbase, never having been to one of his gigs before it was certainly a new experience and I couldn't wait to hear the master musician play in the flesh. Touring his eagerly anticipated new album 'Peace Sign' (released September 2009), it was announced that it was the first time in five years that RK had been in the UK, so no wonder the atmosphere at the burly Worlds End Pub was buzzing with so much excitement. Even 'Captain Jack Sparrow' himself managed to put in an appearance, bizarrely!

There as a photographer also, yet missing the safe-haven of the gallery, I pushed my way through an over packed, over steamy, beer fuelled Underworld, to perch under the very talented Mr Kotzen's nose, determined not to be perturbed by the intense green spot light bleaching the stage like an alien invasion.

Kicking off with the opener from 2004's 'Get Up', 'Losin' My Mind' blitzed through the crowd like a two ton heavy thing, this beast paved the way for the night to come and I was knocked out already. Straight into the brooding 'Love Divine', punching out his trademark raspy and sultry vocals, this pleaser cruised over the solid bass and drums which eased slickly over the crooned chorus to the squealing solo with every part virtuosity, impressively leading off with his left hand only up the neck. Moving into the dark and incredibly powerful, 'Misunderstood' ('Into the Black' 2006, which could so easily have been written by Chris Cornell) it was every bit easy to see why fans had come from far and wide tonight as he held the room without trying. 'Paying Dues' the first track from the new album, turned up the heat, and there was no stopping this beast getting loose as RK barked out over the careering rhythm like an out of control freight train. The crazed and insanely complex solo, played even faster than the recorded track dared to leave a few jaws southerly. The grooving 'Peace Sign' was surprisingly the only other new Album track played during the evening.

Kotzen and band (whom embarrassingly I cannot name! Enlightenment welcome) provided a staple and more than impressive setlist that I'm sure die hard fans would not quibble over; which comprised of favorites such as 'Everything's Good', the audience requested 'You Can't Save Me', the amazing 'All Along the Watchtower' and the encore 'Reach Out I'll Be There'.

It's easy to see why this Guitar Meister continually goes from strength to strength when you experience knock out performances such as this; It is easy to attribute Kotzen's success (in part at least) to the fact that since he since he officially burst onto the rock/metal scene way back in 1989 with his self entitled debut album, he has with every part of his own identity managed to add and not lose 'his' sound in the joining of every band he has contributed to, whilst being able to align these great feats with his own solo career. One thing is for certain I am now fast becoming a die hard fan.

--Maya Ahuja

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