Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Zakk Wylde at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

 Jeffrey Wielandt was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, and grew up in Jackson. He started playing the guitar at age eight, and as a teenager he would practice almost non-stop between coming home from high school and leaving the house the next morning, subsequently sleeping through the school day. He played locally with his first band Stone Henge, then later with another local band Zyris. He sent Ozzy Osbourne a demo tape in 1987 and was hired; renamed for rock star purposes, Zakk Wylde played in Osbourne's band until 1995. Based in Los Angeles, California, Wylde led Lynyrd Skynhead and Pride & Glory from 1991 to 1994, auditioned for Guns N' Roses in 1995, released a solo album in 1996, then formed Black Label Society in 1998. He returned to Osbourne's band in 2001 while continuing Black Label Society. Wylde's second solo album, the acoustic Book of Shadows II, was released on April 8, 2016.

Wylde is known for his wild guitar playing in Osbourne's band and Black Label Society, but his skills were used differently tonight at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom. As the lights dimmed and his band came out, fans cheered a silhouette of a man with a long beard, long hair and a tall top hat. Members of Black Label Society comprised the band: guitarist/keyboardist Dario Lorina, bassist John DeServio and drummer Jeff Fabb. They launched the set with an extended version of "Sold My Soul," with Wylde ripping at his trademark Warhammer guitar for about 10 straight minutes, including playing it behind his head and with his teeth like Jimi Hendrix. Halfway through the set, Wylde refueled with a 15-minute "Throwing It All Away," during which he walked through the audience while playing dizzying lead runs. The entire program was culled from his two solo albums, so most of the concert was surprisingly much milder than his reputation suggests; the audience was introduced to a softer, more introspective Wylde. Several songs featured Wylde on piano or acoustic guitar, and even on the electric songs the tempos were slow. The evening was not the concert of a metal master, but of a southern-style singer-songwriter with mean guitar licks.

Visit Zakk Wylde at www.zakkwylde.com.