Joe Satriani Brings G3 Excitement To the Orpheum

By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images

Joe Satriani is one of the most prolific and charismatic guitarists in the world today. I was recently blown away by his newest release, What Happens Next. Its straight-forward simplistic nature, made it a record that I can relate to. While what I enjoy, is usually experimental progressive style, Satriani knocked me on my ass with this album, especially since it featured Glenn Hughes on bass and Chad Smith on drums. Not only is he known for his righteous riffs and licks, he is also responsible for putting together a concert tour, that features him and two other guitarists showing off their chops, calling it G3. Joining him on this G3 segment is Dream Theater master John Petrucci (he has done G3 6 times already) and Def Leppard axe-man Phil Collen, in his first G3 tour. Matt and I traveled to a new venue in Los Angeles, Calif. that we have not been to yet, the Orpheum. It is similar in structure to the Wiltern, only with seating both upstairs and down.

We did not get to see a whole lot of Collen, on account of traffic on the way there and parking issues. We ended up seeing him play his last song of the evening, “Down in the Delta,” with his Blues side-project Delta Depp. Helping him with the vocals was Delta Depp songstress Debbi Blackwell-Cook. From what I saw, he nailed it on the blues riff. I always knew he was a great guitarist.

Full Phil Collen slideshow below:



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Petrucci hit the stage next, and he brought his faster, darker approach to rock. He kicked off his 45 minute set, with the theme from the hit DC movie, Wonder Woman. It sounded amazing being played on guitar. Accompanying him on this musical journey was Dream Theater compadre, drummer Mike Mangini, and Dixie Dreggs bassist Dave LaRue, who was featured on Petrucci’s 2005 solo release, Suspended Animation. From “Jaws of Life” to “Damage Control,” Petrucci was a force of nature, while playing signature seven-string guitar. He was a shred master with his heavy riffs. Accompanying the music was a visual video screen in the background, where it was very dream-esqe. It was perfect and trippy to watch. Petrucci just loves touring with Satriani, as he told the fans, and it shows by his performance when closing the set with “Glasgow Kiss.” He would return later for the legendary G3 jam.

Full John Petrucci slideshow below:

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The alien rocker glided to the stage with the opener “The Energy.” Most of the songs Satriani performed came from his new album, and they sounded unbelievable live, especially with my favorite “Cherry Blossoms.” He would do a duo with his second guitarist and keyboardist, Mike Keneally. Both of them electrified the crowd with their musical chops. Along with bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Joe Travers, Satriani rocked the stage, with a good mixture of his classic stuff (“Circles,” “Satch Boogie,” and “Always With Me, Always With You), and his newest stuff (“Catbot,” “Headrush,” and “Thunder High on the Mountain”). When changing guitars, he would address the fans and show his appreciation for their continued support throughout his illustrious career, as well as joke around with them. Before ending his set with “Summer Song,” Travers whipped out a drum solo, that stirred up the fans emotions.

Full Joe Satriani slideshow below:

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The show was not over, for every guitarist came out for a 3 song impromptu jam session. The best part, was the guests coming out to join the fun. Singing the jam was Mr. Rock ‘N’ Roll himself, Glenn Hughes. Also joining in on the fun was Collen’s Def Leppard guitar pal Vivian Campbell and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer, Chad Smith. Performing to The Alabama State Troupers’ “Going Down,” Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” and Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” the night just got a whole lot better. Hughes hits those high falsetto notes without even breaking a sweat, giving me goose bumps. Every time he finished a verse and chorus, Collen, Petrucci, and Satriani took turns showing off their riff skills. A chill would run up my spine with each new note. This was a true spectacle to witness.

Full G3 slideshow:

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Like all good things, it ended. This was a night of guitar magic, where three talented musicians came together to put on one hell of a show. Satriani is a true guitar lord, who loves to share his gift with the world, along with Petrucci and Collen. This was my first big show of 2018, and what a way to kick it off. To Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, and Phil Collen, I salute you. Horns up!!!

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