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Steve Vai - Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Steve Vai - G3 Live In Concert CD (album) cover


Steve Vai


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3.75 | 53 ratings

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Petrovsk Mizinski
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The brains behind the original G3 concept was indeed Joe Satriani, a guitar virtuoso respected among musicians and non-muscians alike. For years, guitarists all over the world had been hoping one day Steve Vai and Satch would do a project together. Arguably, Satch did even better with the concept of G3, where a third guitarist would come along for the show.

In this 1996 G3 incarnation, when this recorded, Joe Satriani's band was just a trio, with Jeff Campitelli on the drums and bass virtuoso Stuart Hamm. Each guitarist gets a 3 song individual set, and Joe chose to play Cool #9, Flying In A Blue Dream and Summer Song. Cool #9 is a really bluesy and jazzy number, and certainly features many of Satriani's trademark virtuosic licks. A song that never fails to delight me, and Joe seems to get this really cool emotional vibe that surpasses the studio album version. Flying In A Blue Dream is a mystical, dreamy song, that just takes me off into an adventure. Again what I love about this is that he doesn't just play exactly as per the studio album version, and really seems to give the audience and me the sense that he is trying to create an individual vibe and magic for that night, to distinguish it from the studio version. Summer Song is very upbeat and cheerful sounding, while going through a variety of key/modal changes to keep thing interesting for the listening. Although if I must pick one song that emotes to me the most of his set, it would Cool #9

I had never heard any Eric Johnson prior to owning this CD, so I had no idea what to expect. I was immediately struck with Eric Johnson's guitar, as it was just so remarkably different from Joe's or Vai's tone, or many virtuoso players for that matter. Fortunately, Johnson certainly delivered the goods here, with two more upbeat songs and my favorite of his set, Manhattan, a bluesy/jazzy ballad with a fantastic sense of melody and some very touching guitar solos indeed.

Next up, we get the ever crazy Vai. He immediately gets into a more upbeat song, Answers. For me, what was a really cool thing, was that section after the first round of applause starting at around 5:10, where he seems to be improvising. Some of the licks he plays here , despite the speed, are so touching and melodic. The Attitude song is one of his older songs, and as the name implies, the music is full of attitude, and is a fairly fast paced rocker. But the highlight of his set? For The Love Of God, no questions about it. A ballad of such intense emotions, you cannot help but be moved to tears everytime. Vai makes the guitar scream, wail and cry with his soul and as much virtuosity he displays, the song always feels so human and warm to my heart. The only negative is perhaps that odd noise/feedback section he adds on the end drags on a little too much, but it's not something that really worries me.

The Jam. The moment guitarists around the world had been waiting for, yet didn't even realise all those years they had been waiting for something so incredible. Finally all our hyper talented 3 Gs come out to stun to the audience and of couse the listener of the CD at home or where ever. There are 3 songs here, and they follow the general format of one G on vocals, singing through the verses and choruses, and then finally we get all 3 Gs to jam over the chord progressions. Going Down is a blues rocker, and Satch is remarkable restrained here, but this is not a bad thing. Vai is more prominent with his soloing, but it's Eric Johnson that actually manages to play the most technically challenging licks here, but Johnson does it in such a way you almost don't pay attention to his technicality because his soloing is so brilliant. While Joe doesn't have a great vocal ability, luckily this blues rocker is not out of his reach.

We have a Zappa classic, which features the original opening main riff sounding almost heavy metal here. Vai is of course on vocal, and this is a fine homage to a song from the genius man Zappa. Again, the soloing is a masterclass in how not only to play super fast, but playing fast with tasteful phrasing, melody and feel. Fantastic stuff. Red House is of course, the Hendrix classic. Johnson is on vocals, and while he doesn't exactly sound like Jimi, it's pretty clear he loves Jimi's music. These guys are known as instrumental rock guitarists, all very well versed in Jazzy playing and more, but our 3 Gs can play blues even better than many people that are strict blues players. I could easily feel the blues happening in this, although arguably Vai is probably the weaker of the 3 guys in his blues ability, while Joe just seems like a complete natural, with Eric Johnson being just as good.

An all round amazing package, and for all the fans of virtuosic guitar here on PA, you could do a lot worse than check this out. Here are some of the guys that have been massive influences not only on guitarists in general, but certainly many prominent prog rock/metal virtuosos have been influenced by the G3 guys, and this a great place to see where so many of today's modern guitarists got their inspiration from.

Petrovsk Mizinski | 4/5 |


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