It has been many, many years since last seeing Mr. Satriani (I believe it was the “Surfing With the Alien” tour in Louisville, KY; back when he had hair for you younger folks), so this was a particular thrill for me. Being self-identified as a guitar nerd, I have however kept up with all of his music and love everything he has produced. I was about ready to come out of my skin waiting for him to take the stage…
Let’s start with the venue: The Florida Theater, located in downtown Jacksonville, FL is a beautiful, historic building. Once an unkempt police station, it was renovated and reopened in its current state in 1927. The architecture is absolutely gorgeous and does not have a bad seat in the house, even the back row. If you are ever in Jacksonville, it is worth stopping by and seeing this iconic building.
The concert: If this was not sold out, it was very close and the crowd was on its feet long before to show opened. Showing the wide variety of fans, I saw shirts from The Black Dahlia Murder, Def Leppard, Van Halen, one, thread-bare Frank Zappa shirt, Styx, Fleetwood Mac among many others; showing his wide influence in music. I also found that people came from as far as Atlanta (six hours away) to see this Guitar God play. The show began with his fantasy art and animation projected on a white curtain in front of the stage. The roar from the crowd was MUCH louder than the concert ever got. Excitement seethed from every corner of the building. When the curtain dropped the aisles filled with people dancing and screaming. No banter, no verbiage: straight into his stellar instrumental masterpieces; zero to sixty in about a thousanth of a second. Throughout the show, his artwork and animation played behind an almost overwhelming amount of dramatic stage lighting which added visual depth to his mind blowing playing.
Needless to say, this was a three hour guitar solo and I will not waste time on the obvious: it was CD perfect for every note! I spent the entire show either shaking my head in disbelief, laughing when I couldn’t get my head wrapped around what he was doing (other guitarists know what I am talking about) or just floating away, lost in is superior songwriting skills. Seeing him play again was so much fun. He is so relaxed, always smiling and playing from one side of the stage to the other so everyone got a coveted view of him. It is apparent that he still absolutely loves what he is doing. In all honesty, I could not tell if he was having more fun than the audience.
Not to be left out, his touring band is nothing short of spectacular. Mike Keneally covered keyboards and guitar. To call him the rhythm guitarist would be unfair since he showed that he could trade licks with Joe whenever it was called for. On keys, his range is incredible. From ethereal sounds to his solo piece that was reminiscent of the Jazz great, Chick Corea. He is equally talented playing either instrument. Keeping down the low end was Bryan Beller. Wow! This man is a player; able to keep perfect rhythm, lead or even trade lines with The Man himself. His picking hand simply disappears into a vibrating mass. I have never seen a finger bass player play this fast. Quite impressive. Marco Minnemann rounds out the band on the drums. This man is a monster. So good, in fact, when he goes off tour with Satch, he needs to try out for Rush since the great Neil Peart is retiring. Needless to say, Satriani had the stage among players equally talented to himself, but could only be expected. 100% entertaining, start to finish!
The Bottom Line: With Joe Satriani’s undeniable talent, universal appeal, killer band and obvious love of the stage, this is one tour not to miss if it drops near you! – Odyssey
Further tour information can be found HERE