I just stumbled across this clip. Tom Petty sounds really good, and Jeff Lynne, the most successful b-talent perhaps in rock history, also sounds swell. George’s son Dhani—the spit and image of George—looks like he’s never been happier. And the guitarist does a beautiful job of recreating Eric Clapton’s original obbligato accompaniment, does he not? He does.
But just wait until the three and a half minute mark for the real guitar solo to begin. If you likee the rock music at all, you must watch this. With the sound cranked. NOW.
If this is not my favorite guitar solo of all time, it has rocketed into my Top Ten. I've listened to this a dozen times now and I get goosebumps every damn time.
Because he’s one of the most brilliant singer-songwriters of the past thirty years, a phenomenal singer and an unsurpassed bandleader and performer, he sometimes gets overlooked as a guitarist. If this solo doesn’t qualify him as one of the truly all-time greats in rock history, then such things have no meaning.
The word “blistering” is not strong enough. His complete and total mastery of the instrument, the flawless technique, the searing tone, the fluidity of movement, how he plays around the singers, the way he effortless drops littles quotes from Clapton’s original solo into the middle of this maelstrom and then back out…sweet Jesu, this is the essence of rock and roll guitar.
You know, I’d normally be concerned about overselling it, about how folks couldn’t help but be let down by the actual performance. There’s no danger of that.
[Now the real question: what the hell happened to the guitar?]