G3: River Queen Showplace, Sunday 28 Sept 1997

[[..One Fan's Extremely Biased Concert Review..]]

The sun smiled, and so did I.

The weather had been cold and rainy (winter moving in early, this fall?) but by the day of the concert, Portland Oregon boasted impossibly clear skies. It was a gorgeous Indian Summer afternoon, sunny and warm for this outdoor concert: JOE SATRIANI and the G3 tour, featuring guest guitarists Robert Fripp, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Steve Vai.

The beauteous tones of Robert Fripp on guitar washed over us while we waited on line. There were three of us in the group: me, my husband Lindsay, and Randy - a guy he'd met while on assignment. After we'd located our seats in the second wave of chairs (section G) Lindsay said, come with me. I followed him up front to the expensive seats. He sat down in an empty chair, leaving an empty seat on the center aisle for me, but I was not about to plop down there where I didn't belong. I turned on my heel and walked back to the seat I'd purchased and was happy- to- get- thank- you- very- much.

Back in section G, Randy and I chatted while Fripp played. This was an enjoyable beginning: live "background" music was a stroke of genius. After a time I recognized (from the G3 video) a bright green guitar being handled on stage, and sure enough, under that green and purple leprechaun hat was Mike Keneally jammin' with Fripp. At one point MK hit a startling sound on his guitar and I jumped six inches. Eventually MK left the stage. Fripp continued to play until it was "showtime". His music left me feeling relaxed and mellow.

The skies were clear blue, and radiant. The warm sun was still blazing at 5:15 when Kenny Wayne Shepherd and his band took the stage.

I wasn't sure beforehand what I might think of KWS, since my only knowledge of him was he plays blues. People react with horror when I admit I run hot and cold on the blues: some I like and some leaves me cold. I can't specifically point to what it is or isn't about what I like or don't, so Go Figure.

But I found myself warming to the KWS band in no time at all. Noah Hunt's strong, gutsy, and throaty vocals scored him one very loyal, passionate fan, right here. When he wasn't singing there was some rock and soul blues going down I gotta say was mighty fine and mighty nice. I was really digging this music.

Kenny wore an amazing shimmery silver shirt that flowed like liquid - very expressive and sensual. His long, blond hair fell forward onto his face as he played. His bassist Robby Emerson had the bass slung high on his body, and played it with passion. At one point I noticed the keyboard player Jimmy Wallace looking totally blissed-out (yeaaaaaaa) and when Noah sang "Shame, Shame, Shame" my entire being responded with "-I- -L-O-V-E- -T-H-I-S- -G-U-Y-!!!"

Regarding that skinny young kid from Shreveport Louisiana, Kenny Wayne Shepherd: I'm unqualified to say anything except what I like (I don't play electric guitar, and I don't listen to much blues so I don't know much), what I respond to, and that's pretty much a mystery. I got into the groove right away, so that has to say something.

Kenny is obviously talented, and amazingly young. I bonded with the music he made - he must certainly have been THERE with it, making it something I responded to. How could that musical moment have happened, if not for HIM? I cannot speak to his technical prowess or compare his blues-soul with anything else of the same genre. I enjoyed his music VERY MUCH, and I hope he takes care of himself and nutures what he has going. He can only get better as time goes on. I had a great time, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd was part of making it great, and what else is there?

[[See &&& below for an Update on my review of the KWS Band.]]

Overall I "got into" the band's sound right away, and felt the music move me well along the road to a state of musical nirvana. But being so far away from the stage, and without Lindsay next to me to share the experience, I felt somewhat less- than- carried- away ...

(&&&) Links to ...

Page 3 ... : ... Steve Vai

Page 1 ... : ... Intro... ...Fripp...

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band ... : ... Update to my review... ... October 1997...

Front Door ... : ... Contents... ...Dragon... ...What's Cookin'...

Comments on | Merry Axemas | cd ... : ... Kenny and band play "Rudolph"... ...project headed by Steve Vai... ...various artists perform original arrangements of assorted Christmas tunes... ...Joy!...

...somewhat less-than-able to let myself go and flow with the ecstasies dangled in front of me, just outside my reach.

When the KWS set was over, I determined to FIND LINDSAY. I finally located him back by the sound board, talking to Randy. I made my way back to them, inquiring what they wanted to do for the next set. To my surprise and delight, Lindsay said pretty much the ENTIRE ROW in the section he'd been sitting in was vacant. We made our way to the 9th row and sat down with authority. I was as close as I'd ever dreamed of being (short of Front Row, ya know?) The sun was fading when Steve- Vai- tookthestage- and- began-to-work- his- guitartheatremagic- ohhhhhhh

OHHHHHHH

I was worried I might not enjoy Steve Vai's set, because I hadn't warmed right away to his music on the G3 cd. I thought I might become impatient having to "sit through" SV while waiting to see Joe. I didn't want to feel this way about a talented guitarist like SV but I was prepared for this possibility. I'm extra happy to report I could NOT have been *MORE* WRONG. I was ASTOUNDED, AMAZED, THRILLED, and TAKEN AWAY. I *Adored* Steve's performance. He was SPECTACULAR (and we were close enough to see his eyes ... ohhhhh)

There was one tense moment between sets when a man told Lindsay, I think you're in our seats. Lindsay asked the man his seat number. As it turned out, the man was counting from the wrong direction. He walked away, but Randy, the innocent- looking- boy- from- next- door said, dumb s***! The incongruity of this response was too much: I collapsed with my head in Lindsay's lap, overcome with helpless giggles. Then I heard the same man's voice very close to my ear saying, something tells me you guys don't have a ticket. I blanched, my comic bliss-bubble duly deflated, but when I looked up, he wasn't there. Lindsay quipped, to no one in particular, whaddya mean I don't have a ticket, how d'ya think I got IN? Of course I have *A* ticket.....

Those seats were sitting there empty, going to waste. They might as well be used by ones who appreciated the experience of occupying them, unlike MANY OTHER RUDE AND DISRESPECTFUL TICKETHOLDERS who were taking their seats all during the first half of Joe's set. This was both distracting and APPALLING these people were not able to watch Joe perform. I could not understand why anyone would purchase seats in the very front, and then not be there, ready and waiting when Joe took the stage.

This was a LIVE CONCERT featuring a consumate guitarist - a singular event - even though some didn't appreciate this fact. For the sake of argument, let's imagine this was to be his final concert (Heaven Forbid, perish the very Idea). Would these same individuals have been so cavalier in their attitude if they thought this might be the LAST time they would ever see Joe Satriani play guitar? And who among us can see the future? How can any of us know if or when we will see him, again?

When the lights came up on Joe Satriani's face I kept repeating under my breath that's him, that's really him, that's HIM. I swayed to the music and drank up the moment and all its powerul and yet tender nuances with relish and grateful gladness. I hope the special magic of seeing him perform LIVE never wears off, should I be privileged to attend another of his concerts ("if the accident wills" -K.Vonnegut) in the future we cannot see and cannot know.

Impressions of Joe: after the first few numbers, he seemed to start enjoying himself more, on stage. Not that he didn't seem happy to start, just that he seemed more relaxed and more joyful further into his program. I focused my eyes on his hands, watching him play, but I can't think of anything specific to report, other than it was a dream come true to see him perform on the guitar, close enough to see his fingers do their stuff.

His "Chrome Boy" guitar was an unexpected delight. The reflections off the curves looked like large, flashing, brilliant stars, while the body of the guitar reflected the darkness of the night. The effect was of these incredible stars set in a field of black, moving and flashing with his playing. It was a beautiful and interesting effect - one I never would have imagined. His guitar looked like outer space, itself, only with bigger stars dancing in slow, sensual rhythms.

For "Always With Me, Always With You" he switched to a multi-colored guitar. His signature, soulful tone was abundantly present. I watched his wrists and fingers carefully investing each note as required for the proper sound ..... I found this performance touching, not only for the lovely melody we all love, but to watch him "gentle" those strings to coax just the right feel. This was a treasure to watch that happen so masterfully, like breathing.

ohhhhhhh .......

Here I feel I must defend both my reactions, and Joe's performance. In spite of my "extreme bias", I'm NOT just a love-sick, sappy sucker for the song, itself, or even a star-struck fan "idolizing- Joe's- every- move". I'm sure it was No Big Deal to Joe, who has doubtless played that song dozens and dozens of times in concert. But this was the first time for me, seeing him play it. And it wasn't just the song or my simple and sincere adoration of "Joe". Every song at every live concert exists within its own musical moment, as the artist makes the song happen within that moment. So I'll say it again: the *special thing was *witnessing* his DELIVERY of the song.

The same holds true for the rest of Joe's performance. I got to watch. It was special for me. I'm particularly pleased "Mystical Potato Head..." was included in the standard G3 set list. (Got a personal "thing" for that one.)

"Always With Me, Always With You" moved seamlessly into Stu Hamm's bass solo. I'd read comments about this part of the show on Joe's web page, and I was looking forward to it. Even so, nothing I'd read or expected could have prepared me for this *Very *Fine *Performance, designed to get the crowd feeling GOOD: stomping, clapping, smiling, and having fun. It was a TRUE AND PURE DELIGHT.

The audience SUCKED at the sing-along part! We were TERRIBLE! Just AWFUL! But it was kinda fun to be silly like that and know it didn't matter.

I've puzzled over this, but in the end I've realized I don't have as much to say about Joe's performance. I can only surmise during his portion of the show I inhabited this ..... "adoration space". I could scarcely have had a better seat. I watched everything with rapt attention, simply existing there in that special space. I fully expected to enjoy his performance, whereas I had very little expectations for the other G's. It's no surprise I was delighted when my pitifully low standards were exceeded. With Joe's performance, I was just THERE and it was everything I'd expected it to be.

After Joe introduced his "favorite guitarists" back onto the stage, he said, "this is the part where they let me sing." His remark can only be one of those ironic, tongue- in- cheek things people are known to say casually.

I listened carefully, following the melodic lines with specific attention, to the solos on "Red House". My uninformed and yet carefully observed opinions: KWS was FINE FINE FINE, and R.Fripp was GREAT, I enjoyed both tremendously, and of course ..... Steve and Joe: !!!!! (as usual, what else did you expect.)

They didn't play "You Really Got Me", but by the time they finished I'd spent all my energy. I had NOTHING left to roar for an encore. (The outdoor venue probably made the crowd's excitement less "present" - no echo, like in a concert hall.) I was completely WORN OUT, happy, fulfilled, and blissful.

This was a night I will never forget. It surpassed any expectation I could have placed upon it, simply by being what it was: four talented, professional guitarists and their similarly talented band-members performing their best music LIVE IN CONCERT. When I tried to sum up my reactions, I could not find words big, strong, wide, or deep enough to voice my joy and appreciation. My vocal chords were shot (could it be I discovered a NEW meaning to the term "shred"? --just kidding-- ), my ears rang only a tiny bit but not for long (I had occassionally pressed down my protective plugs to let in a bit more sound just in case I was missing something, and I took them out at the very end for the final applause), I was exhausted to the point of longing to just fall over, my soul was flying, and my heart was full to bursting.

When we got home I immediately posted a comment to Joe's web page, (just in case they checked in the next day) to let them know what a wonderful time I'd had, hoping this would be thanks enough to them for an unforgettable evening that left me.....

.....speechless.

All I could do was let my jaw hang open in amazement and then, just like the sun, smile one long smile as big and wide as the sun and the sky put together.

=================================

(my post to Joe's comments page)

Date: Mon Sep 29 00:03

Just got back from G3 (River Queen Showplace, Portland Oregon) YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh 8-O 8-O 8-O 8-O 8-O 8-O 8-O 8-O 8-O 8-O 8-O 8-O 8-O .......... 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-)


~Links~

"Questions" (c) by Faye Manning ...
... (un)poem dedicated to one of the three "G's"... ...lyric(?)... ...philosophy...
More (un)Poetry ...
...lyrics searching for melodies... ...verses... ...rhymes... ...links to all titles...
Roo's Satriani Collection ...
...a must-visit for the collector with money to burn...
Alien Karma - The Joe Satriani Fan Page ...
...*BEST*WEB*SITE* for trufans of Satriani!... ...fan poll and database, Concert Reviews and photos... ...magazine info / covers... ...tour history info... ...connect with Satch fans!!!...
More G3 Reviews hosted by Glen G. Cianciulli ...
...poke around www.jemsite.com for more items of gUiTaR interest... ...don't miss the Scrapbook, and the Gallery!...
Way Precious Kid Stories ...
...got kids?... ...mine are Major Satch Fans... ...for kid lovers *O-N-L-Y*!
"Woodenheads" (c) by Faye Manning ...
...(un)freeverse inspired by another of the 3 G's... ...more notes on musical performance...
Joe Satriani's Crystal Planet ...
...Roseland Theatre 13 March 1998... ...Concert Review... ...comments on the cd...
John's Corner ....
...words of musical and philosophical wisdom...
Front Door ...
...Contents... ...Dragon... ...What's Cookin'...
Update on KWS Band...
...more comments on the music of KWS...
Merry Axemas...
...all 3G's included on this first volume... ...my comments on each track... ...Joy~!...
Guitare Spielen...
...aWeSoMe SiTe~!!!... ...check out intro to joe under Guitar Gurus...

Latest Update to above Links...

[[..29 Nov 1999..]]

::disclaimer:: some links may have expired or changed since the last update


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