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On August 12, Tommy Emmanuel set foot in the western Australian city of Perth, marking the end of his Australian tour with one last outstanding concert. Right before the concert, Toonari Post had the opportunity to go behind the scene with Tommy Emmanuel to talk about his career. When asked about his opinion on the current music generation, the 57-year-old musician told us: “music is in the eye of the beholder.”
Emmanuel explained his point of view backstage before the show: the “eye of the beholder” means that music is not a case of good or bad, but rather dependent upon personal taste. Without criticizing today’s modern musicians, he said “I would not listen to the radio or watch TV at any point, but my daughter sure would.”
He explained his idea of music by saying that it “comes from the soul and the heart” as a pure form of expression and when it sounds good, it is good. He continued to say that music was never about how complicated your skills are or how fast or slow you can play. His point of view was understood by us and the rest of the audience, when he performed ‘Angelina’, a song dedicated to his daughter, later that night during the concert in Perth.
At the concert, the stage and lights were all set for Tommy when he proudly greeted his audience and received a warm reply back from the audience. Tommy then gave them a special surprise, introducing two great American artists to join him on the stage, who have been touring with him. They were Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo, two highly regarded musicians who also play the acoustic guitar.
Frank and Vinny threw an outstanding and unique performance that no one expected for the opening act. They played an array of complicated classical pieces that they had smartly arranged. One was the fast-paced piece “Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Another, the genius “5th Symphony” by Ludwig van Beethoven.
To the sound of applause from the attending crowd, Frank and Vinny left the stage, paving the way for the long awaited Tommy Emmanuel. Just before he started playing, Emmanuel talked about his time spent with the great guitarist Les Pail and how he was able to keep up with a legend like Pail on the first live show he did with him when he was only a young fellow.
He followed this anecdote with the story of his favorite guitar brand “Maton,” saying that he played on Maton guitars long before they were well established and known for what they are today. Emmanuel’s old guitars, which had been his favorites, have been taken back to the factory and will soon be placed in a museum, according to his own account.
As the show was coming to an end, Tommy brought another surprise to the audience. He called on Frank and Vinny to join him for a trio performance that was one of its kind. The three guitarists went on with a perfect flow of melody and rhythm, touching upon styles of music from jazz to blues and finishing off happily with “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.
That final number was the perfect symbol of the perfection of the evening, that the world is indeed wonderful in the presence of music.