Last Thursday and Friday, September 22 and 23, guitar virtuoso, Buckethead, performed two nights in a row at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City. Buckethead, who is no stranger to the venue, packed in fans both nights and performed unique sets each night.
In recent years, Buckethead has been essentially off the radar when it comes to live shows. While sitting in his coop somewhere, he’s been busy putting out album after album. Although these new albums may not be chart topping releases, the man with the white mask and bucket on his head never disappoints.
The second show on Friday the 23rd was what every Buckethead fan could have wanted. The venue was packed tightly before Buckethead got on stage and seemed to keep getting tighter and tighter as the show went on. The show started shortly after 8PM with “Welcome to Bucketheadland.” With a catalog like the one Buckethead has, it’s impossible to tell what the man is going to throw at the crowd. After the opening song, it was another popular tune called “King James.”
The night prior, fans in the crowd said Buckethead had played almost 3 whole hours. Unfortunately, Saturday’s show was only about 2 hours total, but no one was complaining. Back in May, Buckethead made one of his first tour stops, for what seemed to be ages, at B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill. At that show he played 2 sets totaling 23 songs, that included “Nottingham Lace” and “Lebrontron.” This time around, Buckethead only played a total of 18 songs. The decrease in songs was more than likely due to Buckethead playing 2 nights in a row though, so there weren’t any complaints.
Anyone that has seen Buckethead before knows that there isn’t much going on, up on stage. The stage itself is pretty bare. There are two Marshall cabinets with EVH 5150 heads. The floor contains a slew of guitar pedals and cables. Lastly, there are two pearl white Gibson Les Paul guitars, custom for Buckethead and sometimes a bass guitar. Buckethead doesn’t have any fancy backdrops or custom lighting like other bands/musicians have either. When someone goes to see Buckethead, the show is watching him play and listening to the music he can create. There are absolutely no gimmicks at a Buckethead show. For those who don’t like the “costume” and “story” behind Buckethead, it’s something to look past since this guy is easily one of the best musicians of our time. Plus, the fact that no one has publicly seen or heard this man speak shows that Buckethead takes his image seriously and will probably never do what KISS did and lose the costume.
The beginning of the set seemed to be hit after hit for Buckethead fans. It was a great feeling knowing almost every song Bucket played from the start. Other songs early in the evening were, “Want Some Slaw?,” “Big Sur Moon,” “Siege Engine,” “Giant Robot Theme,” and most of all “Jordan.” After all these songs, fans turned to one another in almost disbelief at the set they were hearing.
One of the most entertaining parts of any Buckethead show is watching him improvise his songs. Songs like “Soothsayer,” one of Buckethead’s most popular, doesn’t sound like how it is on the record. Buckethead improvises so well, he can completely change a solo to one of his songs and make it even better.
The night ended not with Buckethead showing off his incredible guitar skill, but with his dancing and nunchucks skills. After his presentation of the robot dancing and nunchucks, Buckethead took out his sack of toys and handed them out to his fans who were close to the stage. Lucky fans got to leave the venue with different masks, action figures and more.
Buckethead Setlist: Welcome to Bucketheadland, King James, Want Some Slaw?, Crash Victim, Big Sur Moon, Siege Engine, Giant Robot Theme, Jordan, Mad Monster Party, Gory Head Stump 2006: The Pageant of the Slunks, The Redeem Team, Fountains of the Forgotten, Shaded Ray, Buckethead’s Toystore, Soothsayer, Jowls, The Embalmer, Jam, Toy Presentation