Rock and metal fans came together on 25th April 2018 when the biggest-selling instrumental rock guitarist of all time Joe Satriani brought the historic G3 tour to London at the popular concert venue Eventim Apollo and with his of his 16th solo album “What Happens Next” fans were in for a treat of old and new material. Joining the guitar virtuoso are some of rock’s best guitarists John Petrucci and guitar maestro Uli Jon Roth for this European installment coming together for a massive jam session.
Ex- Scorpions’ lead guitarist Uli Jon Roth kicked things off tonight as the lights dimmed the audience cheered as Roth hit the stage with his iconic Sky guitar strapped around his neck. The band tore into “Sky Overture” and hit the 70’s Scorpions Roth era “Sun In My Hand” where Roth took on vocal duties. Not missing a beat, they flowed through the set list of tracks and paid tribute to Roth’s late brother Zeno during “We’ll Burn the Sky” where singer/guitarist Niklas Turmann sang from his heart and touched our souls. Backed by a rock solid band of talented musicians who complimented Roth’s guitar style they ended their short, sharp set with the predictable old time favourite ”The Sails of Charon” which went down immensely with the crowd as they clapped along to the heavy riffs and thunderous beats.
With a fast change over Dream Theater’s John Petrucci made an early entrance to a roaring crowd. Stripped back with just a bass player and drummer this set was simply about Petrucci for Petrucci/ Dream Theater fans and he slayed it with his insane ability to play guitar! His epic extended solos seemed like they were played with four hands, his fingers all over the fretboard that looked like double vision due to his rapid speed. I was caught in the melodious rapture as each song went into technical playing. He shredded his way through the 45-minute set with “Wrath of the Amazons” and beautifully transitioned into “The Happy Song.” Fans were treated to new tracks like “Glassy-Eyed Zombies.” The censorial set closed with “Glasgow Kiss” which is probably one of my favourite tunes because of the unforgettable riffs. The passion for Petrucci was strong as he received a standing ovation worthy of an encore. Humble in nature, he showed immense appreciation and affection to the crowd, full of gratitude. His powerful set was way too short, and he is capable of being a headliner in his own right.
Now the eagerly awaited appearance of the axeman finally arrived. Joe Satriani entered the darkened stage displaying the widest smile and sporting his trademark sunglasses that saw the crowd erupt with excitement and were already on their feet at this seated concert. He ploughed straight into “Energy” and “Cherry Blossoms” with video montages playing on a screen behind coupled with a fantastic light display illuminating the hall. His stage presence was strong, and the energy was electric which sent the crowd into a frenzy of clapping and foot stamping to the rhythm of “Thunder High on the Mountain.” This was one big epic solo throughout! The guitar god demonstrated masterful techniques like 2-handed tapping and extreme whammy bar effects which was out of this world. The band put on one hell of a show with Mike Keneally worthy of a mention as he played the keys and guitar simultaneously. He wowed the crowd with an extended solo where Satriani remarked “we could keep this up all night” and I’m sure the fans would have relished in that.
The set never lost momentum as amps were swiftly wheeled in as Petrucci and Roth joined the band for a delightful jam session of 3 songs. As Satriani is influenced by blues rock icons like Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page it came as no surprise to see thrilling performances of “Highway Star” (Deep Purple), “All Along the Watchtower” (Bob Dylan) and Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” The response was pure hysteria to the opening riffs and Niklas Turmann’s screams did Robert Plant’s classic justice. Each guitarist played tasteful solos each adding their take to the songs, easily identifiable even when you looked away. These guys offered a different tone and technique each recognisable to the player for added depth. I was shocked at the sounds produced from the whammy bar. Petrucci was gentle, Roth stretched his and Satriani, well, he tore his whammy off the scale!
Overall, it was a mind-blowing experience, a fret board-frenzy of a night! Uli Jon Roth cooked up a storm with his opening set and delivered an uncompromising show by taking us back to the 70’s Scorpions classics. The mighty John Petrucci nailed it with inspiring solos old and new using probably all techniques that any great prog rock guitarist can think of. The main man Joe Satriani is in a league of his own, simply breath-taking. Make it your next task to catch this sensational G3 line up in a city near you.