The opening number really said it all, spelt out on the impressive LED backdrop.
'I Just Wanna Rock' might not be Joe Satriani's signature tune (yet) but I think
it sums up his musical view over a career spanning two decades or more.
This gig - halfway into an all-too-short and rare UK tour - was a masterclass in
sustained quality and high energy.
Two hours plus of head-on guitar pyrotechniques may instil the fear of God into
many listeners and I have no doubt that the majority of the sell-out audience
were confirmed guitar nerds. But Joe Satriani manages to introduce enough light
and shade into the process so that only the most unimaginative music fan would
baulk at the prospect.
Naturally Satch was promoting his very fine new album and several tracks sat
very well amongst some of his older material. 'Revelation' - coming mid-way into
the set - was a real corker, and one of the highlights. This has an absorbing
melodic twist and turn before breaking into trademarked Satch sonic meltdown.
This went well with the older track 'Cryin' another slow-burn with every note
perfectly intonated and all emotion duly wrenched.
On the more upbeat material, the new tracks 'Overdriver', and 'Musterion' came
over well together with old faithfuls 'Ice 9' and 'Satch Boogie'. There was a
welcome outing for 'One Big Rush' from 1989's 'Flying In A Blue Dream'. The only
real dip, in what was an incredible virtuoso performance from end to end, was
'Time Machine' - the sort of guitar muso navel-gazing piece that gives the
instrumental guitar genre a bad name.
Things soon picked up, though, with a slight interlude when Stu Hamm (who
reminds me of a younger 'Duck' Dunn) thumped the hell out of his bass and then
into 'Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing ' and Surfin' With The Alien', and a
rousing encore 'Crowd Chant' and 'Summer Song'.
With one of the best sound mixes I have heard at this venue, all credit to
Satriani's sidemen too, including second guitarist and tour manager Galen
Henson. Although evidently low in the mix he did provide a useful counterpoint
filling in the spaces where necessary although in truth there weren't many of
those tonight either in the audience or in the music.
Review by David Randall
Photos by Lee Millward/GRTR!
I Just Wanna Rock
Flying In A Blue Dream
One Big Rush
Out Of The Sunrise
Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing
Always With Me...
Surfing With The Aliens