For those of you who may not have heard of Joe Satriani, he is the world’s greatest living guitar player. He proved it once again at Constitution Hall on Tuesday night. Recently, Joe toured with the Bissonette brothers, David Lee Roth’s old rhythm section, and I assumed they would return on this tour. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to see the return of Joe’s original tour mates: Jonathan Mover on drums and Stuart Hamm on bass.
After a mercifully short set of mostly covers by an unknown Canadian band, Joe stormed the stage. He started the show with the first two singles off his last studio album, The Extremist, “Summer Song” and the title track. He then proceeded to perform songs off his breakthrough album, Surfing With the Alien, and its follow-up, “Flying in a Blue Dream”. Early high points included the emotional “Always With Me, Always With You” and a savage reworking of Hendrix’s “Red House”.
The reason for this tour is to promote Joe’s newest album, Time Machine, a two CD career retrospective. The second CD is a full 75 minutes of live Satch, mostly drawn from his recent tour. The first CD contains b-sides and unreleased songs as well as three new songs recorded by the current band which Joe took an obvious pleasure in performing.
One of the unexpected highlights of the night was Stu Hamm’s bass solo, including a magnificent rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that had the crowd on its feet. For an encore, Joe ripped through a take on “Surfing With The Alien” that left the crowd breathless.
[Originally published in Expulsion, an independent George Mason University student newspaper]