Gibson Live at The Grove
NAMM 2020 – The Grove – Anaheim, CA – 1/16/20
Review and Pictures: Marie Randall
As Part of NAMM 2020, Gibson hosted an all-star event at The Grove in Anaheim. Host John Stamos rocked onstage playing some tasty licks on his sunburst Les Paul, only to bump into a music stand and reveal he was actually shredding to a tape.
The night’s house band was led by Conan O’Brien bandleader Jimmy Vivino on guitar, with the stellar Rolling Stones bassist Darryl Jones, and legendary drummer Kenny Aronoff.
Stamos introduced Gibson CEO James “JC” Curleigh who talked about some of Gibson’s challenges and a promise to do better in the future, and his excitement about bringing back the “old school” (so called by his son) Kramer line. He then introduced outgoing president Dave Berryman who confessed Epiphone was his baby and the Casino his favorite guitar.
The night started with some budding guitarists of the future, then on to some too-cool teens, and progressing to the much anticipated veteran axe slingers.
Jared James Nichols rocked a wild version of “Mississippi Queen”.
A stand out to me was Celisse Henderson, who Jimmy Vivino said reminded him of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the legendary SG-playing gospel singer. She had the crowd on its feet and tons of new fans surrounding her afterwards.
Lzzy Hale and Joe Hottinger of Halestorm were joined by Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner along with Chuck Garric, bassist for Alice Cooper on Halestorm’s “I Miss the Misery”.
Elliot Easton of The Cars was joined by Santana singer Andy Vargas for “Oye Como Va”.
Eagles’ guitarist Don Felder covered SRV’s “Pride and Joy”. He then was handed his iconic white double neck SG and was joined by Slash for “Hotel California”.
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top came out and discussed the benefits of Mexican food, and was later joined by Robin Zander and Rick Neilsen for the Cheap Trick classic “Big Eyes”.
Other performers were guitarist Tash Neal and Marc Labelle of Dirty Honey. The night ended with an all-star jam of Led Zepp’s “Whole Lotta Love”.