Joe Satriani – Casino NB – 10/04/13

Posted: 5th October 2013 by refrainmusic in Concerts, Interviews


Joe Satriani - Unstoppable Momentum

Joe Satriani – Unstoppable Momentum

There has been some fantastic rock guitar at the casino lately and tonight was no exception at Casino NB with Joe Satriani and his ‘Unstoppable Momentum’ Tour gracing the stage.  Starting the night was Gordie Johnson’s (Big Sugar, Wide Mouth Mason) new project ‘Sit Down Servant’.  Accompanied by Big Sugar drummer Stephane Beaudin on drums, Johnson sings and plays guitar along with his Moog bass pedals for a set of gospel infused blues/rock guitar tunes, slide styled and flowing. The talents of Gordie Johnson have long been appreciated in many different ways, through Big Sugar, Wide Mouth Mason, Grady or playing collaborations like I saw him do a few weeks ago with Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule at the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival in Fredericton.   Johnson is always entertaining and his new project, Sit Down Servant, is no exception.

I got the privilege to briefly speak to Joe Satriani via phone a few months back from his home in San Francisco, a quiet fellow off stage we had a great chat about his new tour, playing in side projects like Chickenfoot (with Sammy Hagar & Michael Anthony of Van Halen fame, and drummer Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers), and his excitement about the new tour.

Satriani was born in Westbury, New York the child of immigrants, inspired to play guitar at age 14, after hearing of the death of Jimi Hendrix.  In 1974, Satriani studied music with jazz guitarist and pianists, the technically demanding instruction greatly influenced Satriani’s playing.  Satriani began teaching guitar, with his most notable student at the time being New York native Steve Vai (both also went to the same high school, both are still good friends today. In 1978, Satriani moved to Berkeley to pursue his music career and continue teaching, his students included the likes of Kirk Hammett of Metallica and David Byson of Counting Crows.

In 1987, and I still remember having the cassette tape of this (I think I still do), he released “Surfing With The Alien” which featured a likeness of the comic character “The Silver Surfer” on the cover.  It also produced radio hits for Satriani, and Alien today is still a favourite album for fans.  ‘Alien’ combined with his next album from 1989, ‘Flying In A Blue Dream’, also produced several songs that were featured in movies and TV shows.  His most acclaimed album came in 1992,’The Extremist’, the album received a huge boost with the song “Summer Song” being used in a Sony commercial.  He’s gone on to record 14 studio albums with his latest being this year’s “Unstoppable Momentum”, been in countless side projects like filling in as guitarist for Deep Purple, starting a guitar trio touring group called G3 with long time friend Steve Vai, the aforementioned Chickenfoot, and produced many albums for other bands.

Joe Satriani - Unstoppable Momentum Tour - Casino NB - 10/04/13

Joe Satriani – Unstoppable Momentum Tour – Casino NB – 10/04/13 – Refrain Photography

Of course tonight I forgot my ear plugs in my car (I go to a lot of shows, gotta protect the ears), and it was loud, but it was a great loud!  Satriani’s touring band behind him on guitar of Marco Minneman on Drums, Bryan Beller on Bass (holy B’s), and Mike Keneally on Guitar and Keyboards were absolutely fantastic, tight, accomplished musicians.  I was especially impressed with Keneally who looks like a ‘grandfatherly’ type guy that looks like he should be sitting on the front porch bouncing a grand child on his knee, not absolutely shredding his guitar with Joe Satriani!  Beller, is effectual on bass, and for me what makes a great bass player, is that you don’t notice them unless you listen for them, they can be the bread in the guitar sandwich that holds everything together.  Marco Minneman was dazzling on the drums and as I sat with two drummers I watched their jaws drop as he went through a mesmerizing 5-7 minute drum solo while the remainder of the band took a break.  When chatting with Satriani, he said that sometimes it’s nice to step back and let someone else be the center of attention, part of the reason why he likes being in Chickenfoot and letting Sammy get the attention (but don’t tell Sammy that).

Joe Satriani - Unstoppable Momentum Tour - Casino NB - 10/04/13

Joe Satriani – Unstoppable Momentum Tour – Casino NB – 10/04/13 – Refrain Photography

Playing for almost two hours, Satriani and band rolled through past and present favourites like ‘Crush of Love’, ‘Satch Boogie’, ‘Always With Me, Always With You’, and the title track off the new album ‘Unstoppable Momentum’, of course one of the last songs of the night had to be one of his most recognizable tunes in ‘Surfing With The Alien’.  The crowd pulled the band back out for a three song encore before sending the very happy rock guitar fan out into the fall night with ears ringing and a smile on their face having seen one of the best.  If you get the chance to see the ‘Unstoppable Momentum’ tour somewhere near you I highly recommend it, you won’t be disappointed.  Thanks again to Joe Satriani, Paul Mercs Concerts, and Casino NB for a great night of music!