When I was a kid, my guitar hero was Geoff Achison. He had a Les Paul deluxe from 69 and in my 10 year old mind, it wasn’t the hours of hard work that made that noise… it must be that guitar and if I was going to be a great guitar player, I needed an original Les Paul Deluxe with mini humbuckers. That was it!
That’s an expensive dream for a kid but my father agreed to match me dollar for dollar and I started busking at every chance I got and sucking up to aunties around my birthday and Christmas.
I checked the trading post frantically every week till I saw one come up. A 71 in sunburst. Trouble is, I hadn’t raised nearly enough at that time.
I called the guy and said “I can’t afford it but can I PLEASE just come over and play it!?”
I guess he found some joy in watching a guitar he had owned for 20 years give such happiness to a little kid because he decided on the spot to sell it to me for what I had. I took her home immediately.
My Les Paul has been my most cherished possession ever since. I toured with it through my years in bands, it travelled to the USA with me, recorded a bunch of albums and was even signed backstage by BB King.
She’s beaten up now but on the extremely rare occasion these days that I play electric, I always show up with whatever fancy new thing I’ve been dying to try, play it for the first song but then ultimately grab the Les Paul and the fancy new thing sits to the side.
I grew with that guitar in my hands. I’ve never been about specs or action or anything like that really. I went from a kid at blues jams to pub muso to touring artist with that guitar. You can’t spec a guitar to give you that feeling.
It was big in 2015, huge in 2016, and today the Australian Music Association has announced the 2017 return of the Melbourne Guitar Show to rock Caulfield Racecourse on August 5 and 6 – and this year, it’ll be bigger than ever. Proudly presented by Triple M and Australian Musician, the line-up boasts not only an incredible haul of local guitarists, but also massive international artists – UK’s legendary Steve Hackett (Genesis), Canada’s renowned Nick Johnston and UK superstar Alex Hutchings.
In addition to some killer performances, MGS will also hold a monster exhibition that will feature a gigantic variety of electric and acoustic guitars, effects pedals, amps and more state-of-the-art guitar technology, both home-grown and from around the world. It will continue to be Australia’s biggest guitar pop-up shop…and that’s not all. In addition to this, the Melbourne Guitar Show will host information seminars, demonstrations, and live performances from Australia’s most talented guitarists, including: Lloyd Spiegel, Nick Charles and Bob Spencer with many more to be announced.
This year will be extra special as the Melbourne Guitar Show welcomes UK guitar royalty, namely, the original Genesis guitarist and successful solo artist in his own right, Steve Hackett, in a very special premium ticketed event. Hackett will be touring Australia for the very first time with his lavish Genesis Revisited tour, playing classic Genesis prog-rock tunes as well as selected material from his 25 solo albums. For the Melbourne Guitar Show however, in a more eclectic and informal setting, Steve will play an exclusive up close and personal acoustic-based show featuring musical director Roger King on keyboards and woodwind/ brass virtuoso Rob Townshend. This will be the only Australian performance by the Steve Hackett Acoustic Trio. Genesis, only ever made it to Australia once, in 1986 – years after Steve and singer Peter Gabriel left the band, so Steve is making it up to fans by bringing some Genesis magic to our shores. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for long serving Genesis fans and aficionados of 70s prog-rock. Steve will also participate in an onstage Q&A session following his guitar show performance. Excited about the upcoming tour, Steve says, “I’m thrilled to bring my Genesis Revisited tour to Australia. I’ll be playing there for the first time and I’m hugely looking forward to it! It’ll be great to meet fans and friends, and I know it’s an incredibly beautiful country. I can’t wait!”
Another star joining the stacked line-up is the Canadian guitar virtuoso Nick Johnston. Known for his catchy, melody-driven instrumental music Nick has been able to carve out his own unique style within a crowded landscape of instrumental guitarists. Nick’s playing has attracted sponsorship from massive international brands including Friedman Amps, D’Addario and Schecter Guitars. Also on board this year, we welcome world-renowned guitarist Alex Hutchings (UK), a modern fusion guitarist par extraordinaire, lauded by many as one of the finest players in the genre. His international following has exploded in recent years thanks to millions of YouTube views via both his own channel and JamTrackCentral (alongside such contemporaries such as Guthrie Govan, Andy James and Jack Thammerat). Regularly touring around the globe, Alex performs under his own name and as an international demonstrator for BOSS/Roland.
Drawing over 5,500 guitar lovers and enthusiasts to last year’s exhibit, the Melbourne Guitar Show is gearing up for the biggest event yet. The voice of the Australian music products industry, the Australian Music Association (AMA) will be teaming up with Australianmusician.com.au and presenting sponsors Triple M and Aon to present this year’s guitar-centric weekend. “We are looking forward to a show this year that builds steadily based on the merit and popularity of the first two and on the presentation of the best people we can find”, says AMA executive officer and MGS organiser, Rob Walker. Not only will the 2017 MGS provide a hands-on chance to see, hear and play a broad range of the world’s favourite brands, it will also see exhibitors offering great show deals, plus an opportunity to get close to some hand-crafted, locally made instruments and epic guitar and gear collections. Describing the exciting developments, Rob continues, “We will have more exhibitors this year, as well as bigger stand presentations by many brands. We are in discussions with an increasing list of players who want to be a part of it, so we are sure this show will provide great value for guitar enthusiasts once again.”
The first artist line up announcement includes: Steve Hackett (UK), Nick Johnston (Canada), Alex Hutchings (UK), Lloyd Spiegel, Nick Charles, Bob Spencer, Shannon Bourne, Lloyd Spiegel, James Ryan and many more to be announced over the coming weeks.
The Melbourne Guitar Show will be held at Caulfield Racecourse on August 5 and 6.
Tickets are on sale now!
Online ticket prices when pre-ordered:: Adult day pass $20, adult weekend pass $30, family day pass $35, concession day pass $10, concession weekend pass $15, premium ticket** $40
**Premium tickets include admission to Steve Hackett show – limited tickets available
MELBOURNE GUITAR SHOW DETAILS
SATURDAY AUG 5 | CAULFIELD RACECOURSE |10.00am – 6.00pm | TICKETS
SUNDAY AUG 6 | CAULFIELD RACECOURSE | 10.00am – 6.00pm | TICKETS