ohhhhh noooooooooo... "sloppy playing and bad jokes..." was Bumblefoot's reaction when I dropped the news on him about this review. BBF's casual yet self depreciating manner is typical of a man far more willing to downplay his awesome musical abilities, than pop into his studio and pickup a trumpet for loud honk. Luckily, this personality is left at the door when BBF's live show is in town.

The minute Ron hits the stage at the RMA, his huge musical persona explodes into a display of stunning musicianship and consummate showmanship. BBF is living proof that a lightshow and spandex are not needed to keep your eyes fixed on the band for an hour, not when a big beard and a wonderfully timed 'fuck' will do.

The set opens with 911's excellent "Don Pardo Pimpwagon", a furious up tempo rocker that swaggers with 70's cool and a new millennium's worth of technique. Bumblefoot's crisp and relatively dry tone sizzles through the speakers on my TV. In fact the production on this DVD (essentially a very good bootleg) is excellent overall. The show is shot via two cameras which capture all the action, but offer no close ups.

It's about a minute in when I realise I'm not solely focused on watching BBF's hands to see how all the crazy licks are being performed, instead, I'm already enjoying the show... a good sign.

BBF - Live at the RMA gets better too. BBF's music is notoriously complex, yet songs such as "Guitars Suck", "Raygun" and "Fly in the batter" come across with the band clearly relishing the challenge. Smiles between Bumblefoot and fellow guitarist Chris Ptacek are reciprocated throughout the entire show, and the moments where Bumblefoot launches into mind boggling guitar solos draws priceless facial expressions and head shaking from Ptacek. One of my favourite moments from this concert is where Ptacek receives a joke scolding for improvising over one of BBF's intriguing spoken words. Not many people could get away with venomously spiting "who said you could fucking solo over my diatribe" and raise a big laugh.

Another treat in store from this DVD is in the shape of a Questions and Answers session. To begin with, a rather dumbstruck audience sit silent, seemingly scared to ask a question for fear of another 'joke' scolding. Bumblefoot soon turns this around however, with constant prompts and more great one liners. Another hilarious moment is when a member of the audience asks "what do the wings on your signature Vigier do?"... Bumblefoot's reply; "they flap when I move the wangbar". Well of course they do.

The Q&A section of the DVD is a nice touch, and I for one am glad it was left in. It's always good to hear first hand some of the experiences that maketh the man.

Bumblefoot is without doubt one of the worlds most innovative and likable musicians, and this DVD is a great chance to catch him in a relaxed and funny mood. His voice is also in top form, as "Fly in the Batter" and "TJones" testifies. At times he is almost eerily close to Tom Jones' powerful yet soulful yelling...all done while simultaneously nailing the toughest guitar licks known to man. I can't recommend this DVD highly enough.

For ordering info check out BBF's online store:

  Essential Guitarist Rating :: BBF Live at the RMA