G3 2018: Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, and Phil Collen At Toyota Music Factory!! – Irving, TX 1/26/18

JOE SATRIANI, the master of guitar wizardry brought his G3 Tour featuring John Petrucci of DREAM THEATER and Phil Collen from DEF LEPPARD to the Toyota Music Factory in Irving, TX for a night of electrifying madness while promoting his just released solo album What Happens Next. Being a longtime fan of Satriani I was beyond stoked to see him perform live once again. What a way to bring in the weekend than with a wide variation of musical styles ranging from soulful hard rockin’ blues to a much heavier metal groove and escalating to the magnificent guitar maestro himself.

The G3 delivered an exhilarating concert for a little over three hours for a night of screaming instrumental brilliance.  Satriani founded this tour in 1996 having numerous guitar players alongside him throughout the years.

Each individual artist performed a set of musicality with their own band members, and ending with a triple shot of super star veterans on stage for an ultimate mixture of exquisite talent and taste that made for a mind-blowing jam to close out the night.

Every trip I’ve made to TMF reiterates the continued growth of new restaurants and bars opening and business appears to be thriving. As far as the amphitheater, seating is relatively spacious, excellent for sight and the sound quality is superb. I jump at the opportunity to see a concert at this venue. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the staff and security are helpful and friendly. The concession stands serve good finger food, and there’s also a wine bar selling it by the bottle and all the stands provide excellent customer service. The venue continues to excel at bringing top shelf acts to the metroplex with some great lineups already scheduled in 2018.

Phil Collen opened the show with his band DELTA DEEP who performed a set of hard rockin’ blues with a soulful twist. The four piece band just released their second album East Coast Live on the same day of the concert…how thrilling!  Band members include Debbi Blackwell-Cook (vocals – former backup vocalist for Michael Buble), Craig Martini (bass), and Forrest Robinson (drummer). Collen, dressed in black leather pants and a white t-shirt with pinstriped vest, played a six-song set largely from their 2015 self-titled debut: “Burnt Sally”, “Down In The Delta”, “Bless These Blues”, and a more down homey version of DEEP PURPLE’S “Mistreated”.  

Debbi has a downright soulful voice that wreaks of emotion; a powerhouse who really belts it out. Collen, truly talented and versatile is one sensational guitarist who laid down some incredible blues rock guitar riffs and solos throughout the night. I have a great deal of admiration for accomplished musicians striving to challenge themselves with a new vision, broadening their musical horizons to something new.

Collen did just that and his transition was well received by the crowd and I expect to hear more of this band in the near future when he is not touring with DEF LEPPARD.  

John Petrucci blasted off the second set with a heavier, more metal groove featuring a killer rhythm section of Dave LaRue on Bass (ex-DIXIE DREGS) and DT’S own Mike Mangini. Walking onto a pitch black stage the video backdrop appeared with the JP insignia, opening with “Wrath Of The Amazons” and “Jaws Of Life” from  2005’s Suspended Animation. Petrucci was pumped up literally and figuratively with decibels rising to the highest level. Metal fans were yelling and whistling as Petrucci said “Thank you for inviting us and welcoming us here. This is my seventh G3 tour and it’s really so much fun. I have a bunch of music to play for you tonight.”

The first two songs were kind of dark and heavy. And now for something completely different and a little more upbeat called “The Happy Song”. His sound is massive, playing hardcore and heavy with heart pounding riffs and a heavy emphasis on a bottomless bass.

Astounded by his technique of playing a seven string guitar the fans were totally captivated, hollering at his unique and riveting guitar solos. Petrucci continued with “Damage Control” and “Glassy-Eyed Zombies” where the flashing laser light show was as spectacular as the music with him crushing every song. Closing with “Glasgow Kiss” these guys are a force to be reckoned with especially if you’re down with the metal scene.

Fans poured into the amphitheater just prior to the spotlight shining on the Supersonic Satriani. The guitar guru was accompanied by his extraordinarily talented touring band members: Mike Keneally (keyboards/guitar), Brian Beller (bass) and Joe Travers on drums. Wearing dark sunglasses, Satch entered the stage wailing on his Ibanez guitar playing “Energy” and “Catbot”, two of the new songs he would perform.

He followed that with fan fave “Satch Boogie” from bestseller Surfing With the Alien, where he showed off his two hand tapping technique. His guitar solos were flawless and precise. He told the crowd, “If you’re feeling half as good as I do I know you’re feeling good, right?” then proceeded to introduce his band.  

He continued with new tunes “Cherry Blossoms”, “Thunder High On the Mountain” and “Super Funky Badass” which was self-explanatory. The fans screamed in agreement and clapped with excitement. Satriani’s fingers move like the speed of lightning up and down the fretboard as he plays ingenious guitar riffs, intricate patterns and solos proving his expertise is superior to most leaving not only the audience mesmerized but his own band mates look in awe of him by their facial expressions and grin as they watched him play. It left me thinking, “Is this dude even from this this planet?”

He continued with “Cataclysmic” which has an alien vibe and was the lone song song performed from 2015’s Shockwave Supernova album. His band is beyond impressive and obviously each a master at their craft with Keneally switching back and forth from keyboards to guitar and excelling at both. Beller is a total beast on bass and the hard hitting Travers drove the train when they played “Headrush” followed up by a ballad.

Then Satch took to the mic saying, “I’ll tell you one thing, you know we were out the last couple of years doing this over 30 year Surfing With the Alien Celebration. You just can’t stop saying thank you to all the fans that really made it happen, so thank you so very much.” before dedicating “Always With Me Always With You” to everyone. White lights began flashing as Travers delved into an aggressive but short drum solo and Satriani returned to the stage closing his set while the video screen flashed photos and imagery of the Silver Surfer. He played the most recognizable tune that every longtime fan knows by heart, “Summer Song” off one of my favorite albums of all time, The Extremist.  

With the audience on their feet applauding, Phil Collen and John Petrucci walked back onto center stage. The amazing Debbi Blackwell-Cook joined in to sing lead vocals and the G3 jam was on, beginning with a guitar-screaming version of “Highway Star” from DEEP PURPLE followed by STEVIE WONDER’S “Superstition” and ending the night with “Going Down”. The axe men were stellar as they traded guitar solos and played off each other for an epic night of shredding showmanship. The only downside was the jam could have lasted longer as the fans clearly didn’t want it to end. JOE SATRIANI is one of the greatest and by far the most admired guitarists of our time. The only thing I was left pondering is, what happens next?



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