So we all know that Paul Gilbert is certainly fleet fingered on the electric guitar. But what about on the acoustic? Despite being long considered one of rock's top shredders (just check out his faster-than-a-speeding-bullet work with Racer X), interestingly, it was a schmaltzy acoustic ballad that served as Gilbert's career breakthrough -- Mr. Big's "To Be with You." And on his 2003 release, Acoustic Samurai, Gilbert picks up the acoustic once more. Recorded live at Tokyo's Hard Rock Café, the 16-track set finds Gilbert in a largely goofy mood, as evidenced by the album's opening -- the nonsensical singalong "Potato Head," a cover of ABBA's "Dancing Queen," and "I Like Rock" (just by looking at the latter's title, you know its lyrics won't be confused with Shakespeare anytime soon). Quirky pop continues throughout -- as evidenced by such lighthearted ditties as "I Am Satan" and "I'm Not Afraid of the Police." While it was undoubtedly fun for Gilbert to get all this goofiness out of his system (and it sounds like the constantly clapping/singing audience is having the time of their lives), Acoustic Samurai is for hardcore fanatics only.
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato