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G3 @ The Tabernacle, Atlanta
by Cullen James
My first concert in over 13 years, guys. I mean, I’ve been in bands during that time and have seen plenty of friends’ bands play, but not an honest-to-goodness concert in 13 years.
And I couldn’t think of a better show to have seen.
Joe Satriani, John Petrucci and Paul Gilbert at The Tabernacle. If you live in the southeast and have never seen a show at The Tabernacle, you really must. It’s a small venue, a little less than 3,000 people max. It’s a converted church and there’s really not a bad seat in the entire house. A very intimate setting. And loud.
Paul Gilbert opened the show. It was Gilbert’s first time as a co-headliner for a G3 show, although he did play with Steve Lukather for the tour in 2001. Gilbert mostly played stuff off his recent album Get Out of My Yard. Of note, his touring band includes former co-band member with Racer X – Bruce Bouillet. When taking the stage, Gilbert and crew entered to the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme song. When they got to their instruments, they all bent over and picked up their instrument cables and then thrust them high overhead. It was a funny gesture, made funnier when you saw that the drummer was doing it too.
Gilbert started off with the song Get Out of My Yard which requires both special tuning, a double neck guitar, and a second person to play. It sounds great on the album, but it amazing to see live. We had great seats for the show – seventh row – and it was like being at a friend’s house watching their band practice.
They played two songs not off of GOoMY. One featured vocals and I wasn’t familiar with it, but the other was Scarified, a Racer X instrumental and probably Gilbert’s most famous instrumental. Watching Gilbert and Bouillet trade solos and harmonize licks was one of the coolest guitar playing I’ve seen in quite some time.
When Gilbert finished up his set, the roadies broke everything down and had the stage set up for Petrucci in 15 minutes. Quite the feat considering the amount of gear these guys use.
Of course, the crowd really popped for Petrucci. We stayed in our seats for most of Gilbert’s set -- standing occasionally to cheer. We never sat down once for Petrucci’s set. When entering, Mike Portnoy (Petrucci bandmate in Dream Theater) got just as big a cheer as Petrucci did. Then bass player Dave LaRue got almost the same level of props.
Petrucci played songs of his solo album Suspended Animation. It was perfect. It’s quite a thing to see him play on video, but it’s quite another to see it live. Petrucci just owns the fretboard. Owns it.
Humor in the set came while Mike Portnoy spent most of the time drumming with one hand and tossing drumsticks back and forth to the roadies. As awesome as Petrucci is on guitar Portnoy is just as damn good on drums.
Satch took stage last. And what can you really say about Satch? It was simply awesome. If Petrucci owns the fretboard, Satriani owns the whole damn guitar. It’s amazing to see how he coaxes the sounds of his instrument.
It’s the 20th anniversary of Surfing With the Alien so Joe played a selection of songs from that album and from his most recent Super Colossal. I didn’t get to hear my favorite recent tune -- Just Like Lightening -- but was quite pleased with the set regardless. Toward the end of Joe’s last song, he slowly drew down his wailing guitar and then Petrucci walked on stage and took over the soloing. As he wound down his jam, Gilbert walked on and took over. Then the crew went into the G3 jam. They played a couple of Hendrix songs, I’m Going Down, and a Rolling Stones tune, all of which Paul Gilbert sang.
It was too much awesome, to be completely honest. My throat is still sore from all the yelling.
If you have the opportunity to catch this tour, I highly suggest it.
Cullen will soon be shaving his head bald to prove his love for Satch