Review by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents (https://www.dannyzeliskopresents.com/ )
Venue: Talking Stick Resort – Ballroom (https://www.talkingstickresort.com/ )
Date: Friday January 26th, 2024
Tour: G3 Reunion Tour 2024
What do you get when you have 3 of today’s greatest guitarist on stage together, a sonic orgasm. Don’t expect a lot of dancing or singing at a G3 concert. This event is designed to show off the skills and spectacular talent of 3 of today’s greats guitarists. Initially conceived by Joe Satriani back in 1995 as a tour featuring 3 of today’s great guitarist, the initial tour was in October of 1996 and featured Joe Satriani, his longtime friend Steve Vai and Eric Johnson. Over the years many different guitarists have joined Joe on one of the many G3 tours. To celebrate this year’s tour, Joe brought back this original trio. Joe and Steve go back many years to when Steve was a teenager and took lessons from Joe. Over the years they have stay friends and Steve has toured with Joe many times on the G3 tours.
I have seen the G3 tour 3 other times. Each time I was amazed at the abilities of these guitarists. It makes us mere mortals only dream of learning and practicing enough to be a fraction as good as these artists.
This tour shows the different styles of these 3 men. Steve is the consummate showman. While Eric is more stoic. Joe is just the ring master of the group with a flair for the dramatic. It is no wonder Steve and Joe have similar styles of play and performance, they grow up in the same place in New Jersey and Joe was Steve’s teacher. Eric background comes from Texas where he was exposed to more of the southern/Texas rock/blues style. Joe and Steve typically play 7 string guitars while Eric played a 6 string Strat. It was amazing seeing all of the different guitars stacked up on the side of the stage.
Each artist got 45 minutes to perform their own songs. Then after each had their turn, they all came on stage together to perform together. They only performed 3 songs for their group performance. They started with Cream’s classic hit, “Crossroads”. They then did a lesser know song by Jimi Hendrix called “Spanish Castle Magic”. They each performed small solo sections during each of these songs. Finally, they ended the night with another Jimi Hendrix song, “Foxy Lady”. Unbeknownst to the group, Sammy Hagar joined them and sang. Sammy was at the Barrett’s Car auction just down the street and decided to come over and see his friend and band mate Joe.
First up tonight was Steve Vai. Steve has a long history of bands that he has played in including Frank Zappa (Actually saw Steve on that tour back in 1980 at Celebrity Theatre), David Lee Roth, and Whitesnake. Now we come to the truly outrageous part of Steve’s performance. Hydra was the 3 headed beast that Hercules slew. Steve had a 3 headed guitar created and he calls it Hydra. Just like Hercules, Steve attacks the guitar and tames it. It is one of the most beautiful guitars you will ever see. Also, Steve used a different guitar for each song.
Next up was Eric Johnson. With Eric’s background, it was not surprising that the majority of his songs were all blues oriented. Unlike Steve, Eric did not showboat, but instead was just a perfect tactician. For his 45-minute set he performed 8 songs. Unlike Steve, Eric did sing a couple of his songs and his guitarist also sang one of the songs. He also used the same guitar for his entire set.
Last up was Joe Satriani. Joe always goes last. Every time I have seen Joe he is always wearing dark glasses (or sunglasses). Joe was not as animated as Steve, but did move all around on the stage playing to different parts of the audience. During his 8-song set he did play 3 of my favorite songs, “Surfing With the Alien”, “Satch Boogie” and “Big Bad Wolf”.
Each of the musicians received multiple standing ovations during their sets. But during the last set with all 3 performing together, the entire audience was standing. I am sorry I don’t have any photos for this review (also my cell phone is old and sucks). However, I did see a large number of people recording parts of the show, so you should be able to find clips on YouTube.
If you are into guitar music and want to see some of the best musicians today touring then you really need to see the G3 tour. Be prepared for 3 hours of mind-blowing guitar licks and power riffs. The tour has just started so check out their website to see if they are coming to a city near you.
G3 Tour 2024 Social Media sites:
Joe Satriani’s Social Media sites:
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/JoeSatriani
Steve Vai’s Social Media sites:
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/SteveVaiHimself
Eric Johnson’s Social Media sites:
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@OfficialEricJohnson
Steve Vai’s Setlist:
Zeus in Chains
Teeth of the Hydra
For the Love of God
Eric Johnson’s Setlist:
Land of 1000 Dances (Chris Kenner cover)
Trail of Tears
Impressions (John Coltrane cover)
Here With You Again
Cliffs of Dover
Joe Satriani’s Setlist:
Raspberry Jam Delta-V
Surfing With the Alien
Big Bad Moon
Always With Me, Always With You
Final G3 Jam with Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson and Steve Vai:
Crossroads (Cream cover)
Spanish Castle Magic (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
Foxy Lady (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover) (with Sammy Hagar)