Bon Jovi – Raise Your Hands (Richie Sambora)

Solo timing: 2:50-3:18

We all know living on a prayer. It’s literally played everywhere, except the Congo, don’t know if they have music of this caliber there.

This is not only my favorite Bon Jovi song but we have a solo worthy of review here. Two things come to mind when hearing this song:

1) The movie Spaceballs where Barf (played by John Candy) is eating barf while rocking out to this song.

2) The solo.

Harmonics are on point here. Richie busts out a quick shred playing some solid work all within 30 seconds. When I hear this solo I think 80’s Bon Jovi concert where the solo is actually happening in front of you. Other solos take you elsewhere, this one brings you to them live in concert. Nice try Bon Jovi, I’m onto you bud..

Ps. If Richie had a mustache he would be Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s.

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Boston – Hitch A Ride (Tom Scholz)

Solo timing: 2:32-4:11

First time I heard this solo was 2009 when I purchased the album.  I was surprised it was not heavily played on the radio and wondered why I didn’t hear this before.  Right before the solo Brad says, “Carry me away for the last time,” then Tom Scholz hammers out the most epic outro solo of all time. The overdubbed 2nd guitar catapults the solo into the next century while his euphoric notes leave you speechless throughout the entire solo. Sholz’s staccato picking will have you catch “More Than A Feeling” and will leave you wanting to hear it over and over again.  This hidden gem has timing of drums to shred a perfect match.  Usually I’ll listen to the solo on an average of 10-15 times before a review however this one slipped into the 20-30 times range just because it’s that powerful.

Timeless classic.

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Guns N’ Roses – November Rain

Solo timing: 3:58-4:45

One of my favorite solos to watch. The music video is set in a church where Axl is getting married. Slash’s role is ring bearer however he can’t seem to find the ring..

No worries, Duff to the rescue, “Bro I got you.”

Slash proceeds to the alter, drops off the ring and does an irish goodbye but for good reasons. He’s about to unleash a full shred which 3 towns over will hear.

Alright let’s get to the shred. This is a top down cruising at various speeds desert weather type of solo. The notes marry each other in a way that if your parents would hear it, they would approve the marriage for its radio friendly nature. It’s comfortable, soothing, and Slash makes it look effortless in the music video.

Envisioned convo between Director of video and Slash.

Director: Lets keep the top hat while you shred.

Slash: Nah bro, just want a Marlboro Red and my axe, start filming.

-Mark

Pantera – The Sleep

Solo timing; 3:00-4:42

Lots going on here. It’s a 2 part solo with a break in the middle and then Dime continues to shred.

First part: 3:00-3:43

First 19 seconds you face the facts that you’re flying in the dark. Not sure what’s next, Dime takes you to his house of shred which he abruptly kicks in the door at 20 seconds to provide an electrifying “soaring over the clouds” riff whilst whammy is on point. If you’re listening at a low volume, you would lose out by not kicking it up a couple of notches. He doesn’t let his foot off the gas until there’s a small break leaving us wondering if shred is complete.

2nd half: 3:53-4:42

Two words: Strong finish. Whammy bar damage is an understatement here. If I’m a professor of Whammy, this would be the solo I’d make all the students learn first. Everything else is easy after that.

Chalk this up as one of the classics metal solos out there. Dime may be gone but his music is very much alive today.

-Mark

Zakk Wylde – Between Heaven and Hell

Solo timing: 2:09-2:35

The process for reviewing solos is as follows; Listen to solo 10-20 times to ensure I don’t miss the mark. This ensures I’m fully invested in the solo. Each one is unique and requires a fair handshake.

Today we’re discussing the guitar solo from Zakk’s first “solo” studio album Book of Shadows, song is “Between Heaven and Hell.” It’s a bit more light touch and introspective than his previous work with Pride & Glory.

Two words sum up this shred: Mini Vacation.

Right when the solo starts he says, “Somewhere” as if to say, I’m taking you to your somewhere. Right when the solo takes off you immediately feel good, picturing a sunny beach day with a slight snooze while you’re rocking this song via headphones. When you hear the slide used it gives a tropical feel of white sand and clear water, the opposite of any New England beach. When the solo is over you want to go back and listen again but you also want to listen to what’s next. I went back to listen.

-Mark

Ozzy’s “No More Tours 2” Review- Mansfield, MA

Last time I saw Ozzy was at Ozzfest (early 2000s.) Knowing that Zakk was riding shotgun with Ozzman is a duo you can’t pass up. Joe Holmes was a great guitarist during those years at Ozzfest however Zakk has a certain showmanship on stage where he commands the crowd/guitar and puts on a true performance. Here are some pics from the show. More importantly Zakk’s solo performance will be discussed after pictures.

When I mentioned showmanship at the top that’s exactly what happened this night. Halfway through “War Pigs” Zakk suddenly exits stage left and starts walking through the crowd (pic below)

What’s he doing? He’s getting ready to unleash the shred fury upon the crowd, he waltzed around engaging the fans where the crowd starting going Wylde… He stopped walking after a minute, got up on the ledge and crushed it. This lead to many solos (Miracle Man, Crazy Babies, Desire, and Perry Mason). Zakk clearly paid attention in shred class as defined below.

Shredding 101: Must have shred stance when shredding to the crowd.

Shredding 102: Uniform must represent level of shredness you can perform. Kilt is earned once you can shred at level 10.

Textbook form below…

Would be great to get video from the ones up close in the pic above, actually it’s probably on YouTube.

-Mark

Ozzy Osbourne – Hellraiser

Solo timing: 3:11-3:34

Zakk Wylde does it again on this one. Very similar solo to “Desire” in my opinion. Takes you in different directions throughout the solo however it fits perfectly with the song. Beginning starts off soaring into long stretched out notes, gearing you up for the merciless shredding about to take place all within seconds halfway through. Ending focuses on giving you a ride on Zakk’s rollercoaster of solo. Listening to this makes you want to learn guitar or get better if you’re playing already. Perhaps I should trade in my drums sticks?!

-Mark