Written by Daniel Fletcher
Mention the names to Joe Satriani and Steve Vai to a lead guitar player and they would agree they are up the top with the best in the business. Add the former Toto guitar player Steve Lukather, and we have the ingredients for an excellent G3 recipe for their 2012 Australian Down Under tour.
The masters of guitar (Satriani and Vai) have been putting on great performances all around the globe since the the G3 debut in 1996 where they travelled North America, on tour with adept guitar player Eric Johnson. Since then they have played guitar with great guitar players around the globe including Adrian Leg, John Petrucci and Yngwie Malmsteen. So how did they perform while on their Australian tour you may ask?
Newcastle’s Panthers Leagues Club Thursday March 29 set the scene as an environment for the trio. The crowd were wearing their various tribute t-shirts of their favourite artists, and there was excited chatter as the audience swap stories of past festivals and music collections owned.
8:30 pm people have settled in their seats filling the venue as Steve Lukather opens the night. Showcasing his greatest songs off albums such as Ever Changing Times and delivering an amazing performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, dedicating the songs to his late brother. Lukather prepared the crowd and set the stage for an interment and impressive show. Lukather’s Bogner amp and Music Man guitar combination sounded great, he seemed modest in contrast to Vai and Satriani but seemed to have great fun on stage with his band and created a great hype to start the show.
Steve Vai bursts out onto the stage with “The Audience Is Listening” – convenient song, and they most certainly were listening. Vai pulled out every trick in the bag, savagely abusing the whammy bar on his Ibanez guitar in songs such as “Bad Horsey” and finger hammered a guitar with blue illuminating dot inlays. His hair was blowing in the fan forced wind and he battled the keyboard player in an instrumental duel that finished with them playing their instrument with even their tongues. Vai had the audience captivated with “For The Love Of God”. One man even got up from his seat and began dancing like he was in a trance. He was standing in the middle of the rows of chairs waving his arms in motion of the music and swaying.
Joe Satriani followed Vai and kept the electrifying pace with songs such as “Surfing With The Aliens” and “Ice 9″. The song “Up In The Sky” from his Crystal Planet album was a delight to watch as legend guitarist pulled technical tricks only a true virtuoso could perform. The set list was diverse and he stunned the audience with a beautiful extended version of “Always With Me”. He performed songs off his new album too. “Premonitions” and “Dream Song” were well received and he played with feedback and sustained for “The Golden Room” song without squealing one brown note.
Finally the time everyone was waiting for had arrived as all three guitarists came together on stage for one massive showdown. The trio traded licks on the song “Little Wing” and jammed out with “My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama”. They ended the show with “Rocking In The Free World” and received their final standing ovation from the roaring and very pleased audience. Steve Vai mentioned a return visit to Newcastle which audience will no doubtably hold them to on future tours.
The night as a whole went very well – the stage lighting was a marvellous spectacle to behold and the sound quality, superb. Try as they might the audience couldn’t fault them as each performer on stage played flawlessly delivering a show that wouldn’t be soon forgotten.
Review Score: 4/5