Review: Wikipedia crowns Tommy Emmanuel King

Review: Wikipedia crowns Tommy Emmanuel King

Emmanuel’s sell-out, standing ovation-inspiring performance at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire last December was going to be hard to beat, but Emmanuel proved he can stand up to his Wikipedia reference.

Leicester Square Theatre – 14 March 2010

Before heading to Tommy Emmanuel’s gig on Sunday I was busy researching, ie exercising my googling skills, in order to find out what finger-picking goodness I could look forward to.

Unsurprisingly being lead to the Wikipedia reference site, I stumbled upon a definition of ‘Emmanuel’, as ‘Jesus, God is with us’ in Hebrew. What interested me more was Wikipedia suggested the term may refer to ‘Tommy Emmanuel (Australian guitar player)’.

So I headed off to Leicester Square awaiting a religious experience. If Wikipedia says Tommy Emmanuel is a guitar god then it must be true.

And the guitar virtuoso didn’t disappoint.

Emmanuel’s sell-out, standing ovation-inspiring performance at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire last December was going to be hard to beat, but Emmanuel proved he can stand up to his Wikipedia reference.

This time around his showcase was more of an intimate, low-key affair.

He said before the show, it was to be more of a ‘thank-you’ to fans who made his Shepherd’s Bush gig such a memorable performance as part of his four-decade music career.

Opening for Emmanuel were the Frank Vignola Trio.

With bassist Gary Mazzaroppy and young guitar extraordinaire Vinny Raniolo, 25, Vignola produced some great jazz numbers.

The talented yanks seamlessly connected a chain seemingly spontaneous soloing with harmonious layering as well as some jaxxy jig choreography too.

And after a dance , the Frank Vignola Trio pleasantly warmed the stage (literally, actually as Tommy later said) up for Tommy.

Review continued below

Despite being hardly able to talk, Emmanuel spritely bounded on stage for what was a two-and-a-half hour guitar feast.

It was evident the 55-year-old wasn’t lacking in energy or intensity despite being under the weather.

The seemingly religious nature of the performance continued when Emmanuel presented the lyrics of one of his usual covers, Jerry Lewis’ ‘Today Is Mine’ in spoken word, due to his throat problems.
“Today is mine. My own special cup to fill.
To die a little that I might learn to live. And take from life that I might learn to give. Today is mine,” he said.

Playing a jazz guitar from the 1940s, Emmanuel played favourites such as his Beatles medley, ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and an amazing solo using a feather drum stick to play percussion on his guitar and microphone as an introduction to ‘Mombaza’, but Emmanuel kept the jazz flavour flowing.

When the Frank Vignola Trio joined Emmanuel on stage for the last three songs, it was evident we were witnessing a magical musical moment with the talented guitarists’ chemistry infusing with pleasurable intensity.

Emmanuel is already planning to visit the UK again in November, so be sure to attend. You don’t want to miss out on such a religious experience.

Review: Tommy Emmanuel @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Tommy speaks with Australian Times


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