Eric Gales is fast developing a reputation as something of a spotlight stealer. In other words, such is the ferocity of his live improvisational prowess, whenever he links up with one of his guitar-playing peers on stage, he usually ends up leaving said stage having absolutely blown everyone away.
There is evidence to back this up. At Joe Satriani’s G4 V6.0 Experience last month, Gales teamed up with Satch, Steve Lukather and Mateus Asato and helped contribute to one of the best jams of the year so far. Rewind the clock even further, and Gales turned in 2021’s most astonishing live solos while cameoing for Gary Clark Jr.
Now, Gales is back to his usual tricks, having recently been recruited by funk maestro Cory Wong for a live jam of the latter’s Cory and The Wongnotes track, Meditation.
Wong – who is having a notably quiet year by his own insane standards on the album release front – brought out Gales during a Power Station tour show last Sunday (February 19) at The Ritz in Raleigh, North Carolina, who immediately undersold what his contribution to the track would be.
“So, I’m going to try my best to play one or two notes, and I’m going to get out the way,” the blues titan told the crowd, before immediately reneging on his declaration and playing far more than just the “one or two notes” he promised.
In fact, what he did end up playing was perhaps one the finest live blues solos of his career. Sitting at just around the five-minute mark, Gales’ death-defying fretboard throwdown has all the hallmarks of a video that will stand the test of time as being a sonic manifesto on how to really shred the blues.
Indeed, we anticipate listeners will return to the video to watch on in awe at the sheer magnificence of Gales’ effort, which turned Meditation from a soulful bop into a vicious solo masterclass of the highest order.
From the early wah pedal pentatonic licks to the finale’s Whammy-charged bends, the solo navigates just about every technical trick up Gales’ sleeve, with the Magneto signature artist – opting for an upside down Fender Stratocaster for this outing – blitzing through dizzying licks, lightning-quick scale runs and tasteful blues motifs.
Part of what makes Gales’ playing such a force to be reckoned with is his ability to marry fretboard pyrotechnics with elite phrasing and note selection, with the guitarist never once wasting a note, or putting in one too many where they don’t belong, in his latest electrifying outing.
Words don't really do Gales’ effort here any justice, but Wong himself offered a nice closing summation in the video's description by nicely articulating the question we imagine was on everybody's mind: “Can someone please teach me how to play guitar like Eric Gales?”