Recently, my buddy Adspar mentioned on his blog that, in his opinion, Stevie Ray Vaughn is the greatest guitar player ever. I can't prove one way or the other, but I would have to admit Buckethead for consideration. Even though I haven't seen any pure world-class guitar players, such as Steve Vai or Joe Satriani, Buckethead easily blows away everyone I've seen, and I would have a hard time believing even Stevie Ray could play some of the stuff Buckethead can play. My friends and I stood drooling in awe for the entire show while he played. He's just a disgustingly amazing player.
Buckethead played with a simple stage setup: he had a drummer and a bassist, and that was pretty much it. The three of them played for more than an hour, then played another half-hour encore. Mixing some blues, acoustic guitar, and even a banjo into a set dominated by classic rock and some metal shredding, his versatility, speed, and precision were incredible to behold.
Adding to the mysterious aura of Buckethead is the unconfirmed rumor that he's actually in his 40 or 50's. I tend to think this is quite probable, as it would explain both his constant appearance in costume, and, more importantly, just how insanely talented he is.
What makes Buckethead a freak of nature is due, in great part, to his sheer size. Standing at least 6'8, he towers around 7 feet with his ridiculous bucket costume piece. Being such a large dude, he also has monster-sized hands. Any guitarist will tell you that this can be an unfair advantage, and Buckethead uses his natural gifts to an embarrassing degree. He would play notes so quickly that it would be impossible for the untrained ear to catch up, which is what happened to me often. Seeing him hammer notes in quick succession, across 5 frets with the greatest of ease, made everyone watching incredibly jealous and star-struck. Everytime he crushed the guitar with a devastating solo, you could hear people turn to their buddies and say "That's fucking incredible... he's so sick" over and over again. And he was.