G3 visited Cincinnati last night which is not one of this tour's normal stops. Those of you who get to see Joe and friends on a regular basis are indeed lucky and if the tour passes nearby and you are considering going, definitely do it. You'll see three great guitar players with fantastic bands. I give the show a 9 for reasons I'll explain at the end.
Paul Gilbert - DON'T BE LATE TO THE SHOW or you'll miss PG as he opens. He plays a lot of material from the new CD "Get Out Of My Yard" and it's fantastic! He also throws in a couple of RacerX songs which is a good thing because Bruce Bouillet (also of RacerX fame) is in PG's band. Bruce was jumping around and interacting with the crowd almost as much as Paul was and he is a phenomenal player in his own right...matching Paul lick for lick. The only problem is that Paul's set seemed too short but that could be that I'm a fan of his going way back. I realize that time is probably tight in a showcase like this but an extra 10 minutes for another couple of songs would have been really nice. That said, I was thrilled that PG was a part of this G3 and I genuinely hope that time, schedules and all of the other logistics I'm sure go into putting together a G3 allow for him to participate in future runs. We all know that he is an accomplished player but in addition, he's fun to watch and very entertaining. Thanks to both Paul and Joe for making it happen!
John Petrucci - I obviously know who he his and his background but I can't say that I've ever heard much of his solo material and I don't own any of his music. He was therefore, the unknown element for me. I have to say I was riveted by his performance. He's a brilliant player and his solo material had a melodic quality I really wasn't expecting (i.e. there was substance, a lot of emotion and melody in addition to shred). His band was a classic trio with Dave LaRue playing bass and Mike Portnoy on drums (who is a lot of fun to watch in addition to being an accomplished drummer).
Joe Satriani - What can you say that hasn't been said a thousand times already? Joe makes it look so easy but we all know that it's not! Without spoiling it for anyone, he relies heavily on his earlier catalog but as most know, he keeps the songs fresh with new intros and improvisation. He only played one song from Super Colossal in Cincinnati which was a little surprising. Dave LaRue gets to show his chops at one point which was nice (great choice for bass Joe....Dave, I like your work!). Jeff and Galen were more in the background but they definitely added a lot to Joe's set.
G3 Jam - I won't ruin the surprise on how it starts (in case you don't know) but the namesake portion of the show was extremely entertaining. Each of the three traded licks and solos throughout the 5 songs of the jam. Paul and Joe took on vocal duties on some Hendrix and Rolling Stones classics (once again, PG was quite the entertainer). I know these guys do this night after night so you sometimes wonder if they are just going through the motions. It really appeared as if they were genuinely having a good time and that made the jam all the more fun to watch.
Rating - I give the show 9 out of 10 primarily because of the sound. It was just too loud and hard to discern the nuances and technical prowess being displayed by the three. Joe's set in particular was over-the-top (dial it down from infinity to maybe a 10 or 9!!! :-) ). What I also could not understand is why Bruce Bouillet was kept under wraps during the G3 jam? I was never a huge fan of RacerX but this guy can play and certainly would have added to that portion of the show (I believe it's been done in past G3s with the inclusion of Tony McAlpine and Billy Sheehan from Steve Vai's band).
These are small matters however and the rating is not reflective of the sets put on by the stars and their bands. It was an extremely fast 3 1/2 hours and well worth attending. Thanks Joe, John, Paul and bands for visiting Cincinnati and we hope you stop by again in the future!