Gig review: JOE SATRIANI – Manchester Apollo, 1 November 2015

JOE SATRIANI, Manchester Apollo, 1 November 2015

One thing is certain with a Satriani gig.  The energy levels are going to remain at 200% until the last whammy-bar whistle.  I’m the same age as Satch but he makes me feel really old.

This was the first date of the UK leg of Satriani’s ‘Shockwave Tour’ promoting an excellent new album whilst paying respect to the legacy.  If the historic images that flashed up at the finale were a little brain-washing in their intensity they did underscore an enviable back catalogue.

Joe Satriani - Manchester Apollo, 1 November 2015
Photo: Steve Goudie

It is a credit to the new album that most of the tracks featured sit well with former glories.  And it’s a credit to Satch that he is never afraid of unleashing a new album with a generous selection of tunes, while other mere mortals would only introduce a handful of new pieces into their tired setlists.

However, some might question the choice of new material. For example, the excellent ‘Lost In A Memory’ and ‘In My Pocket’ were passed over for the more perfunctory ‘Crazy Joey’ and the attractive if short ‘Butterfly And Zebra’.  The exclusion of ‘Keep On Movin” was only partially redeemed by hearing ‘If There Is No Heaven’.

JOE SATRIANI, Manchester Apollo, 1 November 2015

JOE SATRIANI, Manchester Apollo, 1 November 2015

Throughout, he is ably aided and abetted by Marco Minnemann (drums) and Bryan Beller (bass) who lay down a wonderfully crisp backbeat.  Mike Keneally is his first lieutenant and, perhaps surprisingly, mostly plays guitar in the live format with the keyboards used sparingly.  He is no slouch either, as evidenced on ‘Cataclysmic’ when the two sparred together like Allman Brothers on steroids.

JOE SATRIANI, Manchester Apollo, 1 November 2015

It is, then, truly a guitar onslaught and more use of keys – and higher in the mix – may have provided a little respite and tonal contrast.  Perhaps that misses the point because Satriani is one of the very few solo instrumentalists who can sustain a two hour show.  But to be picky, some of the material can get a little samey especially when he breaks out of a basic song structure that characterises his best work.

Joe Satriani - Manchester Apollo, 1 November 2015
Photo: Steve Goudie

In this respect, the inclusion of old stagers  ‘Flying In A Blue Dream’,  ‘Ice 9′ and ‘Not Of This Earth’ proved reassuring.  The gig finished with an intense salvo of ‘Satch Boogie’ and the encores of ‘Big Bad Moon’ and ‘Surfing With The Alien’ restating Satriani’s position as guitar hero top dog, thirty years after his recording debut, and not showing any signs of slowing down.

Earlier, Dan Patlansky had reinforced his claim as one of the more interesting new blues rockers on the block, demonstrating his own guitar prowess and songwriting skills not least an impressive ‘Backbite’ from his excellent album ‘Dear Silence Thieves’.

Review and photos (except where stated) by David Randall
Photo gallery by Steve Goudie

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

1. Shockwave Supernova 2. Flying In A Blue Dream 3. Ice 9 4. Crystal Planet 5. Not Of This Earth 6. On Peregrine Wings 7. Friends 8.Time 9. If I Could Fly 10. Butterfly And Zebra 11. If There Is No Heaven  12. Cataclysmic 13. Crazy Joey 14. All Of My Life 15. Luminous Flesh Giants  17. Always With Me, Always With You 18. God Is Crying 19. Goodbye Supernova 20. Satch Boogie Encore: 21. Big Bad Moon 22. Surfing With The Alien

Album review (Shockwave Supernova)
Album review (Dan Patlansky)

UK tour dates (2015)

Nov 01, 2015 Manchester 02 Apollo Manchester, M12 6AP
Nov 02, 2015 Birmingham Symphony Hall Birmingham, B1 2EA
Nov 03, 2015 Glasgow Royal Concert Hall Glasgow, G2 3NY
Nov 04, 2015 Sheffield City Hall Sheffield, S1 2JA
Nov 05, 2015 Cardiff St. David’s Hall Cardiff, CF10 1AH
Nov 07, 2015 Southend Cliffs Pavilion Southend-on-Sea, SS0 7RA
Nov 08, 2015 Bristol Colston Hall Bristol, BS1 5AR
Nov 09, 2015 Portsmouth Guild Hall Hampshire, P01 2AB
Nov 10, 2015 Eventim Hammersmith Apollo London


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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



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