Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: Ikeda Theater (Mesa Center for the Arts)
Date: Thursday January 18, 2018
WHOA… On Thursday night we were assailed by 3 of today’s greatest guitarist in a 3 plus hour extravaganza. We heard everything from gut renicing blues to speed guitar riffs. Joe Satriani is the driving force behind the G3 tours. He got the idea from the 3 Tenors tour. He thought, why not create a tour with 3 of the best guitarists, and thus he created G3. Over the past 20 years, Joe has pulled together 2 other great guitarists for what he calls his G3 experience. Some of the other great guitarist that have toured with Joe in past G3 shows are: Yngwie Malmsteen, Robert Fripp, Eric Johnson, Uli Jon Roth, and Joe’s student, the amazing Steve Vai. For this year’s G3 USA tour, Joe has invited Phil Collen from Def Leppard and John Petrucci from Dream Theater. If you were expecting a lot of lyrics, then this is not a show for you. But is you are one of those “air guitarists” or really like to see some awe-inspiring guitarists perform songs with unbelievable speed and skill then this is your concert event.
The show started with Phil Collen and his Delta Blues band. Phil is one of the driving forces behind the rock band Def Leppard and I assumed we would here some of their great songs tonight. WRONG…. Phil started the show with a cover of one of the great speed guitar songs of the 70’s, “Quadrant 4”. He followed that up with a song he wrote for Joe Satriani that they did together at this last summer’s G4 Experience camp, “Yo 2 Joe”. This was another speed guitar song and Phil was spectacular. Then the band shifted gears and vocalist Debbi Blackwell-Cook joined Phil, bassist Craig Martini and drummer Forrest Robinson for the rest of the set where they played songs from Phil’s new Delta Blues album. They performed a 6-song set that was just over 30 minutes.
They cleared the stage and setup for the next band. The light went down, the background music started and the screen at the back of the stage started showing a set of astral images and dreamscape mountain scenes. All of a sudden, John Petrucci and his band emerged and started laying down some heavy riffs. John Petrucci is one of the founding members of the Progressive Metal band, Dream Theater. As a lead guitarist he is a master of the 7-string guitar. I can say that because he actually graduated with a real degree from the Berkey School of Music. John was accompanied by bassist Dave LaRue and drummer and Dream Theater bandmate Mike Mangini. John is known for his unique high-speed alternate picking. I have seen John perform a number of times on past G3 shows and Dream Theater and I can say that he is one of the greatest guitars today. If you ever see him you can’t believe that one person can play that fast.
After a short stage change, they main man was up, Mr. Joe Satriani, the Master of the whammy bar. Over the next hour we were to experience the mastery of the guitar by one of todays best. Joe band consisted of bassist Bryan Beller, drummer Joe Travers and Mike Keneally on keyboards and guitar. They played over 1 hours and performed 10 songs. One of my personal favorites was when Joe played “Always With Me, Always With You”. This was a departure because it was not a speed or heavy metal melody, but more melonic. The other thing I like about Joe is his guitars. He likes to have fun on stage and his guitars with their strange alien’s figures play right into it.
He has even commented that his white guitar with aliens on either side of the pickups with the strange looks are there wondering about the strange notes he sometimes plays. At one-point Joe pulled a Jimi Hendrix and started to play his guitar with his teeth.
Now came the true highlight of the night. John Petrucci and Phil Collen joined Joe and his band for a 3-song jam. They started with a cover of the Deep Purple song, “Highway Star” with Debbi Blackwell-Cook providing vocals. If for no other reason, this was the reason to purchase a ticket to this show, to see these 3 guitarists perform “Highway Star” with their super-fast shreds and power riffs. Throughout the song, they traded off leads and the finger work on the guitar neck frets was truly outstanding to witness. As Bill and Ted so rightfully stated, “EXCELLENT”, or as Wayne’s World said, “We Are Not Worthy”. They then covered the Stevie Wonder song, “Superstition” and ended the show with a 15 version of “Going Down”.
All Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2018
G3: Joe Satriani, John Putrucci & Phil Collen
Joe Satriani’s Band
John Petrucci’s Band
Phil Collen’s Band
Joe, John and Phil: G3 Setlist:
Highway Star (Deep Purple song)
Superstition (Stevie Wonder cover)
Going Down (The Alabama State Troupers cover)
Joe Satriani Set List: (Album/Cover)
Energy (What Happens Next)
Catbot (What Happens Next)
Satch Boogie (Surfing with the Alien)
Cherry Blossoms (What Happens Next)
Thunder High on the Mountain (What Happens Next)
Cataclysmic (Shockwave Supernova)
Headrush (What Happens Next)
Circles (Surfing with the Alien)
Always With Me, Always With You (Surfing with the Alien)
Summer Song (The Extremist)
John Petrucci Set List: (Album/Cover)
Wonder Woman Main Theme (Hans Zimmer cover)
Jaws of Life (Suspended Animation)
Cloud Ten (???)
Damage Control (Suspended Animation)
Glassy-Eyed Zombies (Not On Any Album)
Glasgow Kiss (Suspended Animation)
Phil Collen Set List: (Album/Cover)
Quadrant 4 (Billy Cobham cover)
Yo 2 Joe (Single from G4 Experience Camp)
Bless These Blues (Delta Deep)
GTR Intro/Burnt Sally (Delta Deep)
Mistreated (Delta Deep)
Down in the Delta (Delta Deep)