G3 Hammersmith Apollo 25-4-18

There are very few artists who release a new album but the upcoming tour sees you take other guitarists on the road to showcase their material and talent but G3 is what Joe Satriani does.

After a US tour with Phil Collen of Def Leppard Europe sees Uli Jon Roth formerly of The Scorpions filling the starting slot and as the clock hits 7.30 his 5 piece band file out stage left for a 40 minute set with the following songs played.

Sky Overture
Sun In My Hand
We'll Burn The Sky
Air de Aranjuez
Fly To The Rainbow
The Sails Of Charon

Uli playing has a spacey feel with the accompanying back drop there was a Pink Floyd vibe to opener Sky Overture with Uli's lengthy guitar runs having plenty of held notes.

Uli takes lead vocal's on Sun In My Hand before The Scorpions We'll Burn The Sky is played as tribute to his brother Zeno who passed recently.This song saw Niklas Turmann on vocals as well as his guitar duties.

The following instrumental Air had Uli,Niklas and a third guitarist all showcasing their talents with a mid song shredathon with all 3 trying to out do the other.

The Sails Of Charon another Scorpions song saw Uli in full flow with lead break after lead break and the set ended to a standing ovation.

Next up was John Petrucci of Dream Theater who I am a huge fan of so the chance to see him play songs from his sole solo album 2005's Suspended Animation was a real treat to be had.

He was backed by his Dream Theater band mate Mike Mangini on drums and Dave LaRue of Dixie Dregs,Flying Colors and a former member of Joe Satriani's band.

For 50 minutes jaws dropped at the stunning musicianship on stage and this is what they played.

Wrath Of The Amazons
Jaws Of Life
The Happy Song
Damage Control
Glassy Eyed Zombies
Glasgow Kiss

Opener Wrath Of The Amazons was a romp through the Wonder Woman theme tune with John's heavy down tuned guitar riff moving continent's before moving into Jaws Of Life off Suspended Animation.This saw John really start to open up with a series of solos full of style,dexterity and hell the man can shred with the best of them.
After Dream Theater's The Astonishing album where there were fewer guitar solos in the full blown rock opera this was a joy to see the man on full form fingers a blur and obviously having a ball under his all consuming beard.
The band interplay was mind blowing and seeing Mangini on a 1 bass drum smaller kit in relation to his normal drum layout.Again the man is a star with his hands and feet a blur with his telepathic understanding with John there for all to see and Dave showing us what a player he is too.

John introduced the band as the metal element of the night to huge cheer's before a new happy song called The Happy Song which saw John playing an upbeat number with a beautiful melody guitar line and loved watching his hand speed on the main riff.Stunning.

Another new song Glass Eyed Zombies with a slight drop in pace with a big riff followed by a melodic interlude.The song sees Mangini and LaRue stop starting and watching the interplay you need an extra pair of eyes to follow all that is going on.John plays a lengthy melodic solo before mid song the pace increased with the big initial riff back and Mangini earning his money with a double bass onslaught that John matches in the guitar solo.Wow.

Cd opener and classic Glasgow Kiss with John holding notes in his melodic picked playing and every eye in the place watching a man and band at the peak of their powers.
Huge applause and a deserved standing ovation ended a set of wonder.

Another quick turnaround and Joe Satriani and his 3 piece ban(Joe Travers on drums,Mike Keneally on keys and guitar and Bryan Beller on bass) played the following 55 minute set.

Satch Boogie
Cherry Blossom
Thunder High On The Mountain
Super Funky Badass
Always With Me Always With You
Summer Song

Following John Petrucci's set every night has lit a fire in Joe with opener Energy off latest album What Happens Next saying everything about Joe in one song.

The sheer energy and vibe on stage was incredible from the first note in fact I don't think I have ever seen Joe so animated.His guitar playing is from another galaxy with streams of notes cascading from the fret board and noises a guitar shouldn't ever make.

Satch Boogie is always a highlight with Keneally now on guitar,in fact at times he seemed able to play keys and guitar at the same point,with the crowd responding accordingly.

Cherry Blossom was delicate with the screens tripping blossom and Joe's playing stellar with emotion and poise a watch word.

Thunder High was a master class in music and lights and visuals all coming together as one.With lightning on screen and lights flashing against the darkness and the music awe inspiring it was an an incredible sight to behold and the music ebbed and flowed 

Super Funky Badass second half of the song had Keneally now  showing his class on lead guitar before he and Joe took it to the stars with a dual solo of the highest order that as Joe said could go on forever.

Always With Me is always a treat with Joe at his emotional best before Summer Song took it all home with a standing ovation for a man at the peak of his powers.

Encore time is a G3 jam with the following songs played.
Highway Star
All Along The Watchtower
Immigrant Song

Niklas was back on vocals for 1 and 3  with Uli on lead vocals for track 2 and a smorgasbord of lead soloing from all.Immigrant Song at one point had Niklas on Joe's guitar soloing with Joe on tamborine and Uli's other guitarist joining in the soloing so 5 solo spots and the evening ended with hand shakes and the crowd on their feet again.

G3 looks as much fun for us on stage as it does for us in the crowd as we watch master craftsmen at work and play.

All pictures credited to Laurence Harvey and used with thanks.

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