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NAMM Rocks Anaheim: Saturday

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Last week NAMM took over Anaheim, bringing its endless expanse of music equipment, some serious weirdness, and attracting some of the best musicians in the biz. Big hitters this year included Yoko Ono, Steve Vai, Rancid, Bootsy Collins and Shela E. During Saturday's closing, the entire convention center was serenaded by Ted Nugent's Star Spangled Banner (...and you, sir, are no Jimi Hendrix).

The last few years the number of exhibitors has been insane. In two days, it was barely possible to make it through the drum section and part of the guitar area. According to MaryEllen Sorci of Foggy Mountain Music, it is so inexpensive to have instruments made in places like Korea nowadays that smaller companies are able to present custom instruments.

The merch giveaways and lavish parties by companies like Zildjian have been seriously toned down. Everyone blames the economy" and pays begrudgingly for their own drinks. Gone too are the mega rock concerts to demo the instruments. Luckily, every hotel in the area had performances in every ballroom and even crowding the lobbies. Lobby performances this year included Al Kooper and Peter Tork.