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Govan dazzles with six-string sorcery


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Guthrie Govan’s debut Australian performance at the Adelaide International Guitar Festival was truly spectacular.

The British-born guitar virtuoso came with probably the highest recommendation I can think of, with world-renowned maestro Joe Satriani describing him as “totally freakin’ amazing”. Satch was right! Govan is totally freakin’ amazing.

From the opening chords, he displayed lightning-fast fingers that pulled almost inhuman notes from his guitar. His sorcery on the six strings is truly something to behold. The guy can simply play anything and any style. I thoroughly enjoyed having my ears utterly blitzed by this magician, as did the full crowd at the Dunstan Playhouse.

He began with his signature prog rock sound of ‘Sevens’, ‘Waves’ and ‘Bad Asteroid’, then moved into more funky areas with ‘Wonderful Slipper Thing’, ‘Fives’ and ‘Hangover’ and onto probably the highlight of the night – his ode to country music – ‘Rhode Island Shred’. Govan was simply electric.

Signing off with an encore peformance of ‘Erotic Cakes’, this was a supreme virtuoso performance (even under the duress of severe jetlag) and special mention must go to his backing band, too.

The crowd was possibly bemused by Govan’s onstage persona. He isn’t your typical ‘rock axeman’; Govan sports loose-fitting jeans and T-shirt,  with long wispy hair and beard that give off a visual more akin to ’60s flower power. His self-deprecating and über polite British wit also mask a truly gifted individual.

That said, there is simply no doubting the man’s talent. Given I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing many rock guitar greats perform live – including Satriani, Vai and Morello – and Guthrie Govan is easily among that elite group.



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