Made my debut at the Chance last night in Poughkeepsie, NY and it exceeded my expectations like never before! Despite the freezing temperatures (you try lugging gear and not breathing!!), the crowd was big and VERY receptive.

When the music’s right, the vibes follow.

You know you’re in for a good show when the soundman tells you that he loves you already for not having any singing in the band (score one for being instrumental!) The crowd filed in nicely and some guys were talking to me as if they’ve been following my progress on social media. Definitely very cool.

We started the night at 7:30 and as soon as we hit the first note of “Nuclear Paradise”, we were definitely on fire. Tommy and Jimmy floored it with their tight fat grooves, which made my life easier. I was free to pull out my patented “moves” and not worry about “Are these guys going to forget a part?” Some cues were missed, it happens, but you have to have a trade-off. Do we stand there and play note-perfect, or let loose and mess up some notes? We are there to entertain as well as flex our chops. And the crowd responded with much enthusiasm, which is always nice.

But for me, the kicker was having Uli Roth come up to me before I played; he pat me on the shoulder and said “Go get ’em, tiger!”

Yep. I can wear that like a badge forever.

And what surprised me was having people come up to me to buy cds and tell me how much they enjoyed everything. I would like to think that even with vocal-less songs, there was communication between the band and the crowd. One woman said I reminded her of Vai, Satriani, and MacAlpine (I hear his name quite a bit, and while I’m nowhere close to his talents, it really is flattering!)

Kristen Capolino was amazing, she played with a lot of fire and attitude, and yet had a smile on her face the whole time. She clearly loves what she does and the audience couldn’t help but get infected by her stage presence. She told me that my set kicked ass and that we need to play another show together. She’s right 🙂

As for Uli…well, what can I say that hasn’t been said? Except that he played songs that Scorpions haven’t played since the 70s! “Longing For Fire”?? “Sun In My Hand”?? THIS IS JUST TOO COOL! But the best part of his set was “Fly To The Rainbow”…if Hendrix came back for one final show, this was the moment. Uli had the crowd transfixed and totally silent as he made the most unreal noises on his Sky guitar. I would put this moment up along with when I saw Robin Trower in 2008; it was total pure bliss.

And yes, I got to hang with Uli after the show, we talked about Scorpions and it was heaven for me. Oh and I gave him a signed cd and he asked “This is a Steve Bello meet-and-greet now?” And we all shared a good laugh about that. Even if he doesn’t listen to the cd, I am glad he has a copy.

The Chance wants me back, so watch for more details hopefully soon.

Oh and “Marblehead” SMOKED!! 😉