Put Uli Jon
Roth, John Petrucci and Joe Satriani on the same stage and, as Uli
stated, without equivocation, there were indeed “an awful lot of notes played tonight”. The G3 2018 tour rolled into Manchester and boy, it
did not disappoint.
Opening the show, the grand statesman of Teutonic Rock, Uli Jon Roth took
the opportunity to flex his Scorpion’s tail and his short but sweet set consisted of 4 classics plus the epic instrumental opener “Sky Overture”. Vocals were split between Uli himself and one of 2
additional guitarists Niklas Turmann.
For a time his style of fluid guitar playing was distinctly out of
fashion, however, in recent years he has had somewhat of a resurgence as the demand of audiences to hear some of the original Scorpions music live once more. It has to be said, at times, his
guitar was drowned by a somewhat “muddy” mix but this did not take away from watching the grand master at work.
First from the Scorpions set was the beautiful “Sun in My Hand” which was
dedicated to his younger brother Zeno (a talented guitar player in his own right) who passed away earlier this year. This was followed by fan favourites “We’ll Burn the Sky” and “Fly to the
Rainbow”. Closing the set with “Sails of Charon” this was a truly crowd-pleasing set and was greeted with a standing ovation.
And so, on to G2 .. John Petrucci. Best known for his work with Dream Theatre,
indeed he brought along bandmate Mike Mangini to head up his rhythm section, Petrucci is a technical prog-metal guitar hero of the highest order.
Opening with a cover of the Wonder Woman Main theme “Wrath of the Amazons” the
number of notes played had already doubled by the time the piece came to an end. Diving into the out an out metal riff-fest that is “Jaws of Life” the trio had the audience well and
The highlight of his set came for me with the next tune “The Happy Song”,
a relatively new composition and showcasing a lighter side to Petrucci’s playing. However, it was the bass playing of Dave LaRue that stood out here, often mimicking the intricate guitar
work, boy did he earn his paycheck tonight. The set ended with a flawless rendition of “Glasgow Kiss” and as before for Uli Jon Roth the audience rose to its feet with thunderous applause .. and
well deserved it was too.
G1, the main man, Joe Satriani hit the stage running with the opening 2 tracks
from his recent solo album “What Happens Next”, “Energy” and “Catbot” and in fact, the Album was to feature heavily throughout the set. His combination of virtuosity and theatrics is what makes
Satriani a pleasure to watch, and whilst you can only imagine this in the comfort of your own listening environment, seeing him perform is where the magic really happens.
To keep up with him, Joe brings a band of outstanding musicians and
they come to the fore on the extended version of new song “Super Funky Badass”. Guitarist /Keyboard player Mike Keneally is one of those rare musicians who can play both of his instruments at
the same time and then come out in front for a truly epic duet/duel with the main man, where his musicality and technique matches that of Satriani in triumphant style. Oh and let’s not leave out the
rhythm section of Bryan Beller and “new guy” drummer, Joe Travers, all in all perfect.
Audience favourites “Always With You, Always With Me” and “Summer Song” close
out the perfect night of guitar virtuosity.
But wait it’s not over just yet .. of course, the G3 Jam. If Carlsberg did
cover bands then they are probably the best in the world. Opening with a cover of “Highway Star”, all sense of ego was left firmly in the tour bus and onstage the three maestro’s traded solo after
solo with ease and utmost respect for one another. Coming to the centre of the stage with Satriani and Petrucci on their knees in front of Roth, the music flowed in perfect harmony from one guitarist
to the other. Vocals were handled by Niklas Turmann, who was clearly enjoying fronting the all star band.
Uli Jon Roth stepped forward to handle vocals on “All Along The Watchtower” and
once more a 4-minute classic was extended with solos from all the band. Finally “Immigrant Song” closed the evening, stretched to its extreme, but that’s what we came for isn’t it?
G3 2018 APRIL UK TOUR
JOE SATRIANI, JOHN PETRUCCI (DREAM THEATER) ULI JON ROTH (FORMERLY OF SCORPIONS)
Review by Mark Ellis - Rocknloadmag.com