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G3 Tour, House of Blues, 2001

Yesterday Lisa reminded me that the "G3 Tour" was playing that evening at the House Of Blues at the Mandalay Bay. For those of you who don't know, G3 is a sometimes annual event arranged by axemeister Joe Satriani. "G3" stands for "3 guitarists" and it is usual Joe S, Steve Vai (yet another uber-fretist) and a special guest. This year it was John Petrucci (from the group Dream Theater).

I'd forgotten about this! I had plans to take my guitar down to Mars Music and play with some effect units anyway, so I suggested that I go out pick up some tickets to G3 - if there were any left. Indeed there was. Heh.

After an hour or so at Mars Music I decided that the red, butt-shaped POD 2.0 from Line6 had to come home with me.

After I arrived home and dropped off my guitar and new box of tricks, we closed up the house and drove out to the Mandalay Bay to see if we had time for a quick dinner before the doors opened at the House Of Blues. We enjoyed strolling around the restaurants inside the casino, finally settling on appetisers at China Grill.

The show was great. We officially had general admission floor tickets, but the inside of the HOB is more like a club/bar. Upstairs there were seats, but we couldn't go up there without a more expensive ticket. We found a place to stand at the rail of a kind of balcony, and watched the show from there. Each guitarist had about 40 minutes with their own band - usually just bass and drums, but occasional other musicians. Mike Keneally, Billy Sheehan, Stu Hamm, Virgil Donati, Mike Portnoy to name just a few you might be familiar with. What a line-up.

John Patrucci was on first. He's the youngest of the three, he would probably be proud to cite both Joe and Steve as major influences. He played several instruments in the same vein as Liquid Tension Experiment. Summary: Has the Chops but lacking in soul or personality musically. The Guitar Student.

Steve Vai was next. Flamboyant and outrageous as ever, flanked by Mike Keneally (guitar nerd extraordinaire and able to match Vai note for note - should he care to do so) and Billy Sheehan (bass legend) plus another no-name guitarist (who mostly played acoustic and electric sitar accompaniment), Vai took us through a raging set of some of his famous instrumentals, plus some new material I haven't heard before. Wild, experimental, evil. The Voodoo Wizard.

Last up was Joe Satriani. Joe actually tutored Vai in guitar when they were at school together. Shaven head, Oakley shades, and black zoot suit. Joe ripped through some classic numbers from his back catalog. balls to the wall, high-octane guitar instrumentals, accompanied on rhythm-bass(!?) by the legend-in-his-own-lunchtime, under-rated but over-talented Stuart Hamm. Stratosperic, high-velocity. The Spaceman.