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Eric Johnson and Alien Love Child
Sound Quality
5 (excellent)

Alien Love Child hit the stage around 9:30 opening with Zenland, the first song on 2000's "Live and Beyond" album.  Eric was playing a red strat which I assume was a signature, had two Twins, a slant and straight front 4x12 cab sitting side by side, and some kind of an older Marshall that I've not ever seen before - it was a small box head like a JTM 45, but it had more knobs.  Huh  Clean tones were amazing as always.  Of course, I dig his take on country western Holdsworth.  However, he seemed a little tentative, and his dirty tones were not as good as I've heard in years past.  It seemed too bassy and muffled - back when he used 100W tops he could take your head off, and this Marshall wasn't giving up the high end sparkle at all.  I know he downsized a few years ago because of hearing issues, but maybe he needs to use a treble booster or something.

Drums were handled by Bill Maddox, who is really good, but hardly breaks a sweat back there.  He makes it look really effortless.  Bass was handled by Chris Maresh, and he's also an excellent bass player.  ALC leans a little harder on the blues and blues based rock than EJ does with his solo stuff.  They hit most of the live album, along with a few newer tunes that I wasn't familiar with.  Eric stayed kind of tentative and cautious most of the night.  Maybe he knew I had snuck a recorder in.  He finally loosened up at the very end of the night.

Highlights were "Last House on the Block", "Zap", and "Are You Experienced".

Overall for EJ it was a bit of a letdown because he was being so careful.  Maybe a 7 on a scale of 10.  Compared to most mortal guitarists though, it was still mind blowing.  Overall a good time was had by all, in a very comfortable venue that's just about the perfect size for rock music.