Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Joe Satriani at the Hampton Beach Casino on April 7th

There are 3 types of people that frequent these gigs, the first is someone like me who doesn't play guitar, the second is someone who plays and views something like this as a staring and concentration contest and the third and definitely the worst is the guy who plays and tells everyone within earshot that he plays too after adding alcohol. I've heard and unfortunately met some of these guys. Additionally now are the number of parents who had their young children with them which was something I hadn't really noticed before at Joe's shows. Then again if you have a 30 plus career in the music business then the stuff should trickle down to a younger audience. Especially if it's great.

   Yet you can't view Joe's music as being huge on a commercial level. Yes he's been very successful as an instrumental guitarist and is widely regarded as one of the best in this field but he does have some crossover appeal because he has tried to push the boundaries of instrumental rock and has added lyrics too where needed. But the main reason is his ability to write memorable tunes that stay with you. Melody, technique and variation has kept me reaching for Joe's music again and again over the years.

   Live I've seen him roughly 10 times in the last 20 years and the band he has now is probably the best, these guys played on his last album and it shows. There's a sense of fun and camradarie on stage that's infectious with the audience. The paycheck's a given but these guys love playing with one another. Mike Keneally on guitar and keyboards is the cool multi-instrumental uncle you wished you had, wool hat and Eddie Vedder approved flannel shirt a given. Marco Minnemann is a monster behind the kit, I've never seen the second part of a set open up with a drum solo and you really are an idiot if you are not back in your seat to witness it. Bryan Beller looks like a metalhead with the long hair but his playing offers so much more.

   The band walk on stage a little before 8 and proceed to play for well over two hours. Starting with the title track Shockwave Supernova from his last album it's followed by my personal favorite Flying In A Blue Dream, that solo always gets me. Time from Crystal Planet was incredible and seems to be one of those deep album cuts that stays in the set. The band touch on many of Joe's past albums and Not Of This Earth from his debut was a great addition as was Friends from The Extremist. I wonder would he ever entertain playing at least one song from each album in the set similar to what Judas Priest did on the Epitath tour. As for some jamming there was plenty time for that too most notably on Ice 9 and Satch Boogie. An encore of Big Bad Moon and the inevitable closer Surfing With The Alien (Joe's Paranoid?) made sure the fans got their money's worth. The kids too who were all still awake with their ear plugs. As for the token audience bellower I play too guy, he became very quiet as the set wore on. Please go see this band.


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