Chris Loomis

G3: Joe Satriani – John Petrucci – Phil Collen @ Balboa Theatre – 01/20/2018

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G3 Jam @ Balboa Theatre – 01/20/20182018 is off to an amazing start as guitar wizard Joe Satriani has brought back his G3 tour for a six-week run across North America that showcases some of the best guitarists in the world. Since its inception in 1996, Joe Satriani has taken the G3 tour on the road with the likes of Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Eric Johnson, Paul Gilbert and many more of music’s premier guitarists. For 2018 Satriani has brought back G3 veteran John Petrucci from Dream Theater and Def Leppard’s Phil Collen. G3 played Balboa Theatre in downtown San Diego on Saturday night January 20 to a capacity crowd of enthusiastic guitar fans.

G3 features each guitarist performing a set with their solo band then joining Satriani onstage at the end of his set for a multi-song jam and on this night Phil Collen got the show kicked off with some scorching guitar solos as he was backed by his bandmates in his Blues side project Delta Deep. Now most may scratch their heads as to why Phil Collen is on this tour but the man is indeed a shredder as demonstrated at this show – he can play fast, slow, Blues, Rock and many were heard stating how pleasantly surprised they were regarding Collen’s guitar mastery.

Collen also called out Debbi Blackwell-Cook, the vocalist for Delta Depp to sing a few songs from their 2015 self-titled debut that included “Mistreated” and “Down in the Delta”. Blackwell-Cook is one hell of a singer as she equaled Collen’s talent on guitar with her voice. Delta Deep plays a genuine old school type of blues that most just can’t duplicate . . . the crowd seemed to really enjoy their performance.

After a brief intermission, things got a little darker and a bit faster when Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci took the stage. Playing his seven-string signature guitar, Petrucci and Dream Theater band-mate Mike Mangini on drums and Dixie Dreggs bassist Dave LaRue jammed through 45 minutes of killer music that featured Petrucci’s heavy riffing and just all out shredding.

Joe Satriani @ Balboa Theatre – 01/20/2018In between songs Petrucci stated “being on the G3 tour with Joe Satriani is the most fun a guitar player can ever have”. A large video screen showing dark, dreamy images along with spectacular lighting of various colors helped set the mood for the duration of Petrucci’s time on stage.

The anticipation was high during the second intermission as the venue waited for Joe Satriani to take the stage. The lights dimmed and the band began their set as Satriani appeared wearing dark black Oakley sun-glasses and a shiny chrome Ibanez six -string strapped over his shoulder as he enthusiastically started the show with the song “Energy” off his January 12 release What Happens Next, followed by another new song “Catbot”. Satriani’s new album is definitely a premier slab of music as it rates right up there with some of his best work.

Satriani’s backing band consists of high caliber musicians that are seemingly from the same Alien planet Satriani hails from. Drummer Joe Travers, bass player Bryan Beller and guitarist/keyboardist Mike Keneally are truly remarkable on their respective instruments. Each had an opportunity to demonstrate their craft, Travers with a brief drum solo, Beller with some killer bass licks and Keneally traded off riffs with Satriani on “Super Funky Badass” which was without a doubt the highlight of the show.

Satriani’s guitar talents along with his body movements and never-ending guitar faces equal the complete package. He is a true entertainer with absolutely in-human guitar skills. The sounds he can produce with his guitar are mesmerizing. Satriani ended his solo set with one of his biggest hits “Summer Song”.

Petrucci and Collen as well as Debbie Blackwell-Cook on vocals joined Satriani and his band on stage as they played a three-song jam that included Deep Purple’s “Highway Star”, Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and “Going Down” by The Alabama State Troupers. The songs allowed each guitar player an opportunity to shred a solo or two and it was quite a sight to see and hear the threesome play side-by-side-by-side. An EPIC night of divine guitar brilliance with an even more EPIC ending.

The North American leg of the G3 tour runs through the end of February before hitting Europe with Uli Jon Roth replacing Phil Collen.

Joe Satriani Photo Gallery

John Petrucci Photo Gallery

Phil Collen Photo Gallery

G3 Jam Photo Gallery

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