What a great concept – a touring act of three, well-known guitar masters up on stage doing their thing with an added bonus at the end. The music world is very thankful for Joe Satriani’s vision for his G3 project and the Dallas/Ft. Worth music fan got their fill last Friday night at the Toyota Music Pavilion. He brought along Dream Theatre’s John Petrucci and Def Leppard’s Phil Collen this time and the audience was amazed from the very first note.
Phil Collen needs no introduction to the rock world, but his side project (Delta Deep) is a bit unknown to the casual fan. His expertise has guided Def Leppard to the heights of stardom a million times over so his set was a refreshing breath of fresh air for his fans. The hyperactive “Quadrant 4” started off his set and the guitar pickin’ was phenomenal. The amps perked up during the instrumental “Yo 2 Joe” and took a decidedly wicked turn during “Bless These Blues”. It still seems a little odd seeing Phil tear into the blues like that but it’s his passion now and we should all be grateful that he loves it so much. Finally treating the audience to some new stuff, he laid into “Burnt Sally” from his Delta Deep band and it was amazing. A little side trip into Deep Purple’s “Mistreated” and then another new one, “Down in the Delta” – Phil and his band hit all of the right notes throughout his set. A special shout out to his singer, Debbie Blackwell-Cook, who belted out the lyrics like there was no tomorrow.
John Petrucci’s masterful techniques have guided the cerebral Dream Theatre’s unmistakable sound for a long time and his guitar technique is as close to perfection as you can get. His set seemed a tad shorter but it was thoroughly stunning. From the first notes of “The Wonder Woman Theme” to the last ping of “Glasgow Kiss” – Petrucci was magnificent. His technical ability is second to none and the fluidity (and fierceness) that he attacks his guitar with was enthralling. “Jaws of Life” was a great example of the up and down abilities he displays – higher highs and lowers low are no match for this guy. “Cloud Ten”, “Damage Control” (my favorite) and “Glass-Eyed Zombies” all shredded in their own special way.
The wait for Satriani to take the stage was excruciating – I have long admired his work but never really saw him live before. From the late-80’s Surfing With the Alien to his most recently released What Happens Next album, Joe has been in a very rare class of guitarists. We all have marveled at his guitar playing but he has also done a great job of putting together complete albums that entertain from start to finish. Kicking it off with a few of the new tunes, “Energy” and “Catbot”, Joe’s fluid style was a real treat to see. The audience was super stoked and I envisioned that there were many long time fans in attendance that had seen him before. Stepping way back in time, he reeled off “Satch Boogie” effortlessly as he had in the 80’s and I had finally got to witness his perfection live for myself. More new tunes followed: “Cherry Blossoms” and “Thunder High on the Mountain” and while they were foreign to me – most of the crowd was eating it up. Joe’s stage presence was very commanding and his interaction with his fans was genuine. 2015’s Shockwave Supernova gave us the thrilling “Cataclysmic” as he bounced back and forth from his vast catalog = new “Headrush” – old “Circles” and “Always With Me, Always With You” (freaking sweet!!!). Finishing it off with 1992’s “Summer Song”, Joe had worn the audience out with his brilliance but there was more to come.
The real treat of the evening was seeing all three of the performers come together to rip off a few cover tunes to send the audience at the door feeling totally complete. The rocking & rolling “Highway Star” from Deep Purple kicked off the finale, a superb cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” followed and the semi-obscure “Going Down” from The Alabama State Troupers (and covered by many) ended the evening and the guys looked like they had been playing this one together for years. It was a real treat to finally witness a G3 show and it made me wonder why more guys don’t get together like this and just play for the pure fun of it.
Cover photo courtesy of Roman Pena/Rap Photo Co. © 2018