Released: 2004, Epic
This really should have been called Yngwie and Friends. It is clear that Yngwie is so far ahead in terms of technical skill, composition, improvisational ability and delivering a fiery performance that he stands out like a sore thumb. In essence it seems that Satch and Vai opened for him!
The second G3 disc is far superior to the first one back in 1997. I’m glad the concept was brought back because it is a phenomenal idea and a phenomenal line-up of talent. Getting the preliminaries out of the way…another top-notch package! It has over 20 photos and lots of credits for all the gear heads. Recorded live in Kansas, last year the sound is immaculate. Crystal clear, the crowd noise is sitting nicely in the mix although, unlike many metal live albums the crowd is quiet except for between songs. I don’t know how much, if any tweaking was done and frankly I don’t care, this disc sounds great!
I’d be curious to see if this is the full, unedited concert as each big ‘G’ has about 20 minutes. I’ll bet the show was longer.
Overall the song selection was very enjoyable, probably my favorite was Steve Vai taking the ‘Reaper Rap’ from the Bill & Ted soundtrack and turning it into this monstrous extended solo piece. And of course he does his trademark ‘talking guitar’ with a dash of audience participation on the cut ‘Whispering A Prayer’.
Joe had by far the most demure set, with the least shredding. He seemed out of his league. Vai choose a slow song to start with, an odd choice but seemed to have more crowd response than Satch did. Vai also had the backing band to beat. Macalpine, Sheehean and Bissonette? Holy! What an assembly of talent!
Then came Yngwie. It was clearly his crowd getting the best response and playing the fastest and longest. This perhaps stems from the fact that doesn’t play the USA as often as the other dudes, so maybe the crowd was happier to see him. Yngwie played ‘Red House’ which was a poor choice as it was a jam song on the last G3 disc, and besides it’s not a song I’m fond of. Yngwie stuck mostly to his newer stuff except for the almost mandatory ‘Trilogy Suite’ and had the most dynamic and interesting set from blues to classical to blues to shred. A true showcase from the man that most consider to be the best.
The second disc was ever so slightly a let down because for whatever reason I’m not a fan of Hendrix or Neil Young. I see the obvious reasons to cover two Hendrix tunes, but as mentioned earlier YJM already did a Hendrix cover. Didn’t they talk before they all went out? Why not drop the two Hendrix jam tunes and bust out a Al DiMeola, or even a Clapton tune? Why not something really wild like a Led Zeppelin, Queen or Black Sabbath medley? The song choices were pedestrian at best.
The performances on the other hand were anything but pedestrian! Yngwie again clearly the crowd favorite starting the jam off with Voodoo Child. The songs seem to drag on a bit with solo after solo after solo, licks, riffs, tricks it is all there in all it’s full-shred glory.
Yngwie still can’t sing to save his life but damn if it doesn’t sound they are having fun, just winging it. I suppose I came to the ultimate realization is that overall I’m not a fan of jams as it stands and especially when I have no attachment to the songs being deconstructed and reconstructed. All in all it’s a G3 dream. I hope we don’t have to wait another seven years for the next one.