Marty Friedman
Eightball Club, Thessaloniki, Greece

As we grow up, fate brings things in such a way that we have to be thankful about the past influences we had from older people, especially regarding our music taste. It was in 1988 when I had the chance and luck to listen to the second album of Cacophony ”Go Off!”. As I was trying to discover the paths of hard rock and heavy metal, this was something unique and maybe my first ”extreme” experience, as it was something that seldomly could someone encounter in his way. The same year it was Megadeth’s third album ”So Far, So Good, So What!” that made its way through my ears, something totally different but the same impressive to the mind of a seven year old guy. And in case you wonder why this prologue, everything in life happens for a reason. Not always, but most of the times.

Two years later, there was an album called ”Rust In Peace” that changed my life in many aspects, in such a way that I still consider it one of the best five albums I have ever listened in 30 years of lifetime. And as I was trying to understand what hit me, the answer from my cousin who had given me that Cacophony cassette brought things in order: ”Here plays the guitarist on the left cage of ”Go Off!”. At last, it was clear why I was so astonished. The guy’s name was Marty Friedman and from then and on he is considered more than a hero in my conscience. For more than ten years he helped another charismatic guitarist, Dave Mustaine, drive the Megadeth force where it should have been from the beginning. And one day suddenly, he left the band because he didn’t like things as they had become.

One of the most controversial decisions of all times, but Friedman was honest at what he believed and he didn’t want to be part of something he considered becoming full circle with. He took the decision to move in Japan permanently the last years and he’s been considered a very respected member of the society of the country of the Rising Sun. The last thing he did, raising money for the tsunami catastrophe from the deadly earthquake some months ago, proves that he respects the land that hosts him and he decided to sell all his old guitars for this reason. This gifted and talented person after so many years of career, managed to come to Greece on his own for the first time, leaving the best possible impressions to all his fans, whether they belong to the guitar world or not.

Accompanied by three very talented Japanese musicians, Takayoshi Ohmura on guitars, Ryota Oshinari on bass and the insane battery torturer Mitsuru Fujisawa. They played for more than two hours material from most of Marty’s albums, with the solo of ”Tornado Of Souls” waking the crowd for good, while he also played ”Asche Zu Asche” by Rammstein (!!!) among his other compositions. Truly outstanding performance by all the members, with Fujisawa giving his own show behind the drums, Ohmura battling with Friedman in the solo section and Oshinari taking the lead vocal part in some Japanese compositions,making them sounding even better than the studio recordings, with his great, ethereal voice and presence.

The suprise of the night was the presence of Gus G. on stage, to help Marty with some more shredding and soloing. Especially the encore with ”Paranoid” by Black Sabbath was more than great, being a track they both know and love much, with Marty having covered this with Megadeth and Gus G. witnessing it in most Ozzy Osbourne’s gigs. Marty declared that Gus G. is one of the best guitarists in the world this moment and after a triumphant ending, he promised he would do everything possible to visit us again. I was very happy to see him after 14 years and realizing that some people are not affected by time. In fact, he seemed even younger than in 1997 and here lies a quote that another great musician told me once: ”Rocking keeps you always younger”. Long live the ones following their vision, just like Marty does.

Report: Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.
Photos: Louis Konstantinou photography.