G3 Live in Texas!

The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
Irving, Texas
Jan. 26, 2018
By A. Lee Graham
Phil Collen Set List:
Quadrant 4 | Yo 2 Joe | Bless These Blues | Burnt Sally | Mistreated | Down in the Delta
John Petrucci Set List:
Wrath of the Amazons | Jaws of Life | The Happy Song | Damage Control | Glassy Eyed Zombies | Glasgow Kiss 
Joe Satriani Set List:
Energy | Catbot | Satch Boogie | Cherry Blossoms | Thunder High on the Mountain | Super Funky Badass | Cataclysmic | Headrush | Circles | Always With Me, Always With You | Summer Song 
Highway Star | Superstition | Going Down
If anything can reverse declining electric guitar sales, it’s G3.

Joe Satriani’s touring tribute to all things guitar spreads the gospel, inspires future six-stringers and touches the soul.
And the tour’s latest iteration is no different.

Storming amphitheaters worldwide are Satriani, John Petrucci and Phil Collen, musicians as enamored with wire and wood as their audiences. Their passion took the stage on a cool Texas evening where the guitarists shook things up a bit. Unlike previous G3 jaunts, the current tour injects vocals into the mix, providing some variety for those needing more than fretboard frenzy to command their attention.
Collen understands those fans, balancing prodigious shred chops with the blues. If anyone expected Collen to belt out instrumental variations of Def Leppard hits, they got quite a surprise as Debbi Blackwell-Cook joined Collen for a set rooted in their Delta Deep project.

Blackwell-Cook’s soulful voice blended perfectly with Collen’s blustery style, making “Bless These Blues,” “Burnt Sally” and “Down in the Delta” truly shine. A musician better known for “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “Love Bites” surprised many onlookers. They may have expected pop metal yet enjoyed bluesy stylings that wouldn’t be out of place in Antone’s or other Texas watering holes.

“Quadrant 4” and “Yo 2 Joe” (written for Satriani) upped the shred quotient, while a  barnstorming cover of “Mistreated” proved Collen adept at a style most don’t know him for. Color me impressed.

Up next was Petrucci, delivering a much darker set. In fact, the downtuned, discordant, ominous sounds emanating from the Dream Theater maestro struck the night’s heaviest chord. 

Whether from solo album Suspended Animination (“Jaws of Life,” “Glasgow Kiss”), unreleased material (“The Happy Song,” “Glassy Eyed Zombies”) or the movies (set kickoff “Wrath of the Amazons” was Petrucci’s take on the Wonder Woman theme), all conveyed epic awe.

Making the low end even lower were bassist Dave LaRue and Petrucci’s Dream Theater drummer Mike Mangini. The trio shook the stage with music surprisingly heavy coming after Collen’s traditional approach. 

Petrucci gained energy with every song, with music seemingly healing the guitarist from the flu that Collen explained he was battling. By the time “Glasgow Kiss” closed Petrucci’s set, he seemed rejuvenated and fully recovered. 

Up next was Satriani, touring behind What Comes Next. As always, the musician known as Satch assembled a cracking backing band, with Bryan Bellar handling bass, Joe Travers on drums and Mike Keneally on keyboards and guitar.
Neither surprising nor innnovative, the set fed the fans what they craved — and then some.

Representing the new album were “Energy,” “Catbot” and “Headrush,” among others, while “Always With Me, Always With You,” “Summer Song” and “Satch Boogie” supplying the “classic Satch” quotient.

Rounding out the night was a jam seeing all three guitarists tear it up on Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and Don Nix’ “Going Down.” “Highway Star” pulled ahead of the pack, with all three guitarists tackling Richie Blackmore’s fiery solo. Much less fiery — and downright dull — was “Going Down,” the blues standard that needs to be retired from these jams. So does “Rocking In The Free World,” but that’s another subject.

If G3 tours your town, buy a ticket. Guitar fans will not regret it!