Roseland Theatre: Fri 13 March 1998 ("short" version)

STONE-COLD SOLID GROOVE: Fri 13 March 1998

"I felt so far removed....... and the venue was not so kind to the sounds......."

Every concert is a different flavor. This was the "Crystal Planet Over 21 Only at the Roseland Theatre" flavor. Last time it was "G3 All Ages at the River Queen Showplace" flavor. Each one is unique. I hadn't given much thought to what it would be like *for*me* this second time around, seeing Joe Satriani perform. There will always be a "first- time", and then there comes the "next-time". This much is obvious.

The young man on the phone at the FasTixx 800 number described the venue accurately: maximum capacity is about 1200, there is a balcony with seats, and a main floor in front of the stage where people can dance ("or just stand up close and watch the performance" I thought to myself - there will NOT be room for dancing, I knew that much!)

Based on this info, I knew I would have a choice: stand close to the stage, or sit up high. I knew this in advance, and I'd theoretically resigned myself to the implications of sitting in the balcony (and it's true the reality was not so different than what I'd imagined) but in the end, there was really no way (for *me, emotionally) to be reconciled with my own fate: it is quite simply NOT THE SAME in terms of one's perceptions and experience, being that far away. I had a perfect view of everything..... but I was not CLOSE. It was not possible.

As for the acoustics, the preparatory period of waiting for the show to start and attempting conversation was not encouraging. Lindsay found two seats together by politely suggesting to a young man sitting alone if he'd move over one seat there would be room for us. This done, he and Lindsay chatted prior to the show. I could barely hear what Lindsay said to him, let alone hear his responses. From what I gathered, this was a *first live concert for the young man, who claimed to have been a fan since before |The Extremist|. He indicated |Time Machine| was the first Satriani cd he purchased.

Lindsay begs me to point out we were situated near the center balcony, stage-left, several rows back from the (stage-left) spotlight. We had an *excellent view of the *entire stage.

Crowd noise - lots of it. Way too much. Perhaps I'm spoiled, having attended an outdoor show, and having within the past year attended another rock concert in a proper CONCERT HALL. I was less than pleased at the ambient noise levels; difficulty communicating with someone sitting only one seat over.

The first sounds from Joe's guitar grew into an electric moment as the show began - always a thrill to see and hear him, right there (well, right *down there all that ways away anyway.....)

Of the three opening numbers, the first and third begin with what can certainly be described as high-end delicate finesse riffs - "Up in the Sky" and "Crystal Planet", both high-energy, relentless and just basically KICK-A$$ tunes. Both start with rapid high-end treble flair. Unfortunately it was this upper area of the audio spectrum that suffered from the venue's acoustics. The second song, "House Full of Bullets" lent itself perfectly to the venue's strengths - that one played really well, and right away.

A potential three-way equilibrium/ truce finally emerged - between Joe's playing, possible tweaking at the sound-board, and maybe some mental adjustments in my own perceptions of the sounds (ie, my ears got "used" to what sorts of sounds they would and could hear, and thus became accustomed where to "find" the high-end sounds.)

These first tunes had me pulling my ear plugs in and out repeatedly, fishing awkwardly for the best possible sound, finally acquiescing to what seemed better, more clearly defined sound with minimum insertion - albeit with the loss of some high-end distortion (including what I sometimes call the "teeth" on the guitar - it's a quality I've come to appreciate, over time). Also, the pace of any and all songs in concert tends to be faster than the studio versions, which can add up in a hurry on high-energy dynamos like these little devils. I was racing to get my ears up to speed. The underlying rhythms/riffs came through quite well even though the finesse (at least to start) was harder to grasp.

In spite of audio adjustments and fine-tuning, I enjoyed the opening set. "House Full of Bullets" put a wonderfully solid groove to the evening, straightaway. In fact, it was a truly delightful moment to see Joe's shiny little bald head bobbing up and down from side to side as he grooved to the riff at the start of the song. This is part of the joy of watching him play - to see him enjoy his own music. This is what you don't get, listening to the cd at home.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to experience "Crystal Planet" played LIVE - awesome tune! Fun for all, terrific drumming by Jeff, and a welcome treat to conclude the introductory set. Joe handed the chrome-boy off to a roadie and spread his hands out to his fans, in acceptance and recognition of this warm welcome by the Portland crowd. He introduced the next song, "Time", slung on the chrome-boy handed to him, and proceeded to turn in a rock-solid rendition of this and every subsequent song.

Joe is a consummate performer - he never disappoints - his guitar responds with alacrity to every nuance of his technical command, and the resulting emotional rEsOnAnCe is often breath-taking, and *always Right There inside the song - that performance moment. At several points in the show I remember sitting in awe, quietly staring, wishing to soak the visual/audio image into every pore, hoping to somehow preserve that special space as a mental photograph. I couldn't help but notice: if only I could be closer to that "liquid moment". I could see it, but I felt the distance quite strongly at times, knowing from past experience what it's like to be CLOSE and therefore unable to avoid the awareness of the separation - the ocean of empty air awash with the venue's sometimes muddy sounds - and yet saying to myself even then, I'm here, this is it - there he is, I can see him and I can hear him and it's right now. Yes. I took it all in..... from a distance.

Following "Time" - a wonderfully inventive song - came another relentless high-energy opportunity for Joe to shine: "raspberry jam delta-v". By this time the opening finesse riff was firmly, squarely in place - the song came straight through with no trouble at all. This number presented a unique opportunity for Joe to play with the feedback, during the slower section in the middle of the song. His mastery of the technique, his skill at obtaining the sounds and working the situation to produce a feedback symphony was a true audio delight. That stage had all the feedback you could ask for with plenty to spare (including some the players could maybe have done without). These professionals handled it perfectly - every song, every nuance. When the tune called for a fractal feedback frenzy, like "raspberry jam...", they milked it to good effect.

Lindsay remarked he enjoyed "A Train of Angels" - something about the melody - and then it was time to give everyone a rest, a breather, and an emotional treat, with "Love Thing". I predict this song will soon be considered a new Satriani "classic", and will stand very close to his other works of a similar nature in emotional tone. This one *breathes... that "Wah" just *sends my soul aflutter...

There was appreciative applause from a good portion of the crowd as Joe finished the song and left the stage to *STU HAMM*

...8-O...

...do I miss my guess, or was that "Liebestraum" by Franz Liszt? Stu did his Country Thang (if you hear this and fail to have the urge to start clapping along in time then you must be either tone-deaf or *Dead), Peanuts - all the usual incredible noises from Stu's bass. What A Guy! He is so amazing! After he finished, Joe came back onstage and said, "Who WAS that man on bass?" [[a clear reference to the Lone Ranger - something us 40-something's will remember, but the college crowd might not]] and Stu received a well-deserved round of enthusiastic applause from the crowd.

Next came "Ceremony". I'm pleased to report this song is every bit as much fun on stage LIVE as it is on the cd. For the next song they skipped the ethereal introduction and slammed directly into the rockin-rhythm-riff that is "Lights of Heaven". Within the confines of this live performance, it worked PERFECTLY to start right in on the underlying pounding riff. It was a welcome deviation - it fit the moment and sounded GREAT.

And So....... after blasting through a majority of the new material from |Crystal Planet|, a series of drum-stick-clicks by Jeff kicked off the semi-finale: the crowd roared with delight as Joe delivered a solid and ripping rendition of "Satch Boogie", capping the first portion of the show to tantalizing effect.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

~Doing~The~Wave~

It was sometime about "mid-show"... [[wow, so specific]] I'm not sure what song Joe was playing, but I recall being overcome with excitement and spontaneously raised my arm in response to the music, and then, as if in response, Joe appeared to wave back as he played. It flowed so naturally, it seemed very real. I have no way to know, and logic tells me it may be *unlikely or even *impossible for him to see a fan up in the balcony behind the spotlight, but in the end it doesn't matter. If only for one single moment the illusion was intact and I *experienced* it as real. I will *not put percentages on the probability of either reality but instead simply recognize both possibilities. Real or not, it will be a memory I will always treasure.

After a short break, the three- piece- powerhouse returned to the stage and proceeded to ROCK THE HOUSE with a mini-set of Satriani concert standards: Ice 9, SWTA, Always..., FIABD, TMPHGT, and Summer Song. Joe was in fine form, obviously having a good time. He turned-in a thoroughly solid performance. The crowd was joyful, responsive, excited, and equally experiencing all the delight right along with Joe.

[[There was some decidedly "extra" exuberance during SWTA, when a fan on Stu's side of the stage shook up a bottle of beer and gave everyone on that side a foam shower, I mean, it was flyin way up in the air and everywhere within 20 feet of that guy. This was the *only time during the show I was *glad to be up where I was: high and dry!...8-)...]]

The emotional high-point of the evening came at the very end, when those three guys took the stage for the last time and gave *All of the rest of it up in one single, riveting, jaw-dropping, intense, and loving performance of "Rubina". I sat there amazed at how things had come full circle, in the eternal cosmic spiral of my own experience - awed by the beauty of this song, and the toneful, masterful, soulful delivery by Joe. My heart vibrated with wonder as he carefully and surely ascended each flight of musical stairs leading to the final note of the song, and the concert. Around the second or third level, Lindsay (who can barely recognize Joe's concert standards by name, and wouldn't know the name of *this song if it hit him over the head) moved in close to me and put his arm tenderly around my shoulder - I melted with quiet joy at the perfection of the moment, and nestled in closely beside him, drinking up all the love, and the peace, and the deep feelings that flowed in and out and up and down and permeated every inch of that space. For this it didn't matter how far the distance - this was so close and present it was inescapable, even from the balcony, because I was NEXT TO HIM, my Lindsay - my dear sweet true love - the only place I could be, the only place I could ever want to be. [["No Separation" - that's my new motto]]

in summary, here is the setlist:

= = = = =

up in the sky

house full of bullets

crystal planet

*TIME

rasberry jam delta-v

a train of angels

love thing

Stu Hamm bass solo

*CEREMONY

lights of heaven

Satch Boogie

[[short break]]

ice 9

surfing with the alien

always with me, always with you

flying in a blue dream

the mystical potato head groove thing

summer song

[["encore":...]] Rubina

= = = = =

All things end, and the used-up flavor subsides into the past as the present flavor takes over - the ever-blossoming lotus - the lights came up and we all moved in our separate ways toward the next thing. Now it was (finally) time to mingle with the fans. We both got comments on the T-shirts. I managed to hand out a few flyers to interested passersby. I finally felt somewhat redeemed: the fan- connection- thing had not been a total failure after all. A handful of flyers made their way into the larger JoeFanUniverse, and the rest will find their fate in time.

Full Moon - Live in Concert - Friday, March 13th, 1998 - the Crystal Planet tour plays the Roseland Theatre in Portland Oregon. I was there. It was GOOD. Everyone involved deserves a sincere Thank You, especially that so-called alien holding the chrome guitar: Joe Satriani.

...peace...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

my post to the Comments page ("Talk to Joe!")

= = = = =

Date: Sat Mar 14 13:44

Faye (fayemc@juno.com):

...can't get enough of that "Love Thing" on the "Crystal Planet"! (no pun, it's true!) I was so far away (((hidden in the darkness))) but I was there with the light streaming into your alien shades - the spotlight on your left - that was me, Lindsay, and a young man we met who'd never before seen you perform live - we were all there in the balcony - The Watchers - I took many mental photographs, letting the sight and sound of you - that liquid moment - burn an image into the screen of perception I call myself =I was there= thanks to *you and *Jeff and *Stu for a great show, thanks for Being There at the Roseland Theatre....... I send a smile to you today ...8-)...peace...

= = = = =

(2460)


(&&&) Links to ...

G3 Concert Review ... : ...River Queen Showplace 9/28/97
"Questions" (c) by Faye Manning ... : ... (un)poem dedicated to one of the three "G's"... ...lyric(?)... ...philosophy...
[[coming soon]] Satriani Stories ... : ... fans share their experiences... ...real slice of life stuff...
Front Door ... : ... Contents... ...Dragon... ...What's Cookin'...
|Joe Satriani| 1995... : ... Alternate Listening Program...
Way Precious Kid Stories ... : ...got kids?... ...mine are Major Satch Fans... ...for kid lovers *O-N-L-Y*!
Three Essays on Live Performance ... : ...The Value of Live Music... ...Studio vs. Live - the Yin and Yang of Music...
Notes re (1997) G3 Grammy Nominations ... : ...kudos to the kings of guitar!...



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