Joe Satriani – Symphony Hall, Birmingham – 2nd November 2015

Tonight’s show started with Dan Patlansky, a South African blues guitarist.  His music is very different to Satriani’s, but what they have in common is that both are great guitarists.  Despite that I wasn’t sure how well Dan Patlansky would go down with the Satriani fans, but happily they weren’t put off by the different musical styles and gave him a very good reception.  As well as songs from his most recent album (2014’s “Dear silence thieves”), he played a song that will appear on his next album.  It’s a great start to the night.

There’s no other guitarist that I’d choose to go and see perform an instrumental set – it’s the sort of thing that would normally bore me to death, but Joe Satriani is different.  With Joe Satriani, his music is so beautifully crafted that it holds the attention and rather than it feeling like a couple of hours of a guitarist showing off his talents, instead it is more like a classical music concert.  It’s got that same sort of feel – a rich and very varied sound, and with all the songs having a very different sound to each other, then things never feel repetitive or monotonous.  As a result Joe Satriani is able to keep an audience’s attention for the two hour duration of the concert.
Satriani’s band also get time to shine with each getting a solo.
There’s a great light-show too with video footage also being shown on screens behind the band, which enhances the show, without ever distracting attention away from the music.
A large part of the setlist tonight comes from Satriani’s latest album, “Shockwave Supernova”, along with songs from across his career.  The two hour set ends with “Satch boogie” before the band left the stage for a short break.  The encore starts with the only song to feature any vocals – “Big bad moon”, before the night comes to an end with “Surfing with the alien”

It really is a superb show – obviously it appeals to other guitarists, but Satriani has a much wider appeal and so instead of an audience full of guitar lovers it’s simply an audience of music lovers.  Even if long guitar solos bore you, I’d still recommend you check out a Joe Satriani concert – he shows that a long guitar driven instrumental performance doesnt have to be boring.  A fantastic show from one of the best guitarists around.

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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.