Wednesday, April 13th, 2005
The Commodore Ballroom
Vancouver, BC Canada
***Review & All Photos By Lord of The Wasteland
If there is a law against excessive air guitar, the sold-out crowd at The Commodore on this night would have been arrested en masse.
With such luminous students as Metallica?s Kirk Hammett to his credit, legendary axemaster Joe Satriani graced The Commodore on what was billed as ?An Evening With Joe Satriani? treating 900+ fans to a jaw-dropping night of technical wizardry, soloing and effects I never knew were capable of coming out of a guitar. Forsaking any opening acts, it was announced Satriani would be playing an extended set but in this case, ?extended? was an understatement. Satriani played two sets (with just a fifteen minute break between) that totaled just over THREE HOURS! The man was certainly on and even by the end, he still appeared ready for more.
Every album in Satriani?s 19-year career was covered with the exception of 2000?s ENGINES OF CREATION and he even attempted vocals, albeit they were nothing to write home about. Sadly, ?Big Bad Moon? and ?The Extremist? were left off the set however a blistering version of ?Summer Song,? a tune played to death in Sony commercials in 1994, was the most notable cut of the evening. A radically reworked version of ?Always With Me, Always With You? from 1987?s SURFING WITH THE ALIEN was a real highlight, as was ?Moroccan Sunset? from the 1995 self-titled release and ?Starry Night? from 2002?s STRANGE BEAUTIFUL MUSIC. On these tracks, Satriani and his band jammed out and demonstrated that they were there not only to dazzle the crowd but also to have a great time. Matt Bissonette (replacing long-time collaborator, Stu Hamm) even brought out a stand-up bass for the first few tracks of the second set. Sharing a stage with Satriani cannot be an easy task but Bissonette and drummer Jeff Campitelli certainly hold their own. Satriani, of course, held the audience captive with his playing. His line of effects pedals and superhuman fretwork abilities truly is a sight to see and hear live. For someone who is not that well-versed in the six-string sciences, it could easily be an exercise in patience, as essentially, this show was 180 minutes of wankery and soloing. Even I found myself drifting at times during the extended jam session of ?Strange.? One of the best examples of Satriani?s skills was demonstrated on the new track, ?Bamboo,? where he did anything and everything possible to get a sound out of his guitar. Truly amazing. Satriani?s backing band is solid but they were all confined to the far right of the stage and didn?t move much at all, while Satriani had free reign. With his shaved head and ever-present wrap-around sunglasses, Satriani seems to possess none of the inflated ego held by many of his contemporaries. Hosting an after-show meet-and-greet with fans, Satriani is clearly an affable person who remains grounded despite his exceptional talent.
Joe Satriani is no singer and he isn?t the most charismatic performer either, but he certainly does know how to wow a crowd with his playing and expressing appreciation for their time and applause. For fans of Satriani?s music and incomparable guitar playing, this tour is a must-see. Over three hours of six-string acrobatics can be a bit ominous but 900 people were more than willing to drink it all in.
Up In The Sky
House of Bullets
Lords of Kharma
Up In Flames
Always With Me, Always With You
Hordes of Locusts
Hands In The Air
Is There Love?
Flying In A Blue Dream
Surfing With The Alien
***Thanks to Jamie at House of Blues for the ticket and photo pass.
***Visit Joe Satriani?s official site