Sunday, Sept. 26; KiMo Theatre (all ages, 7:30 p.m.): Of the literally thousands of musicians I've seen live over the years, exactly two of them have rendered me impotent to accurately describe or explain their respective performances and techniques. One is flamenco maestro Paco de Lucía. The other is Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel.
There are plenty of fitting adjectives that can be used to describe Emmanuel's gift—breathtaking, jaw-dropping, gorgeous, superfreakingfantastic, etc.—but none of them used in any combination can begin to actually describe what the man can do with six strings and a hollow chunk of wood. Simply put, Emmanuel's talent is proof that there is a God. Has to be.
The guitarist's Albuquerque appearance last year was an evening of pure magic—a perfect blend of technique and musicality, accentuated by Emmanuel's sense of humor and unnerving humility. And while many a legendary guitarist has had a profound enough impact on regular people to inspire them to pick up a guitar and learn to play, Tommy Emmanuel is more likely to make seasoned performers want to retire their instruments. Next to him, everyone else just wears a guitar.