This past week I was able to catch the G3 concert as it rolled through Nashville at the historic Ryman Auditorium. Overall, the show was excellent and each guitarist played a great set.
Paul Gilbert and his band played first. The most surprising part of Paul’s set was not how great Paul was (I knew that he was going to be excellent), but how great Bruce Bouillet was. Bruce played with Paul in Racer X, and they played several Racer X songs during their G3 performance, as well as several songs from Paul’s new CD titled Get Out of My Yard. This set was probably my least favorite of the night, primarily because at times the music fell away to make room for the shredding. Going into the concert, I knew little about Paul Gilbert other than what I’d read about in guitar magazines. I’d heard his latest CD, but that’s about as much Paul Gilbert music as I’ve heard. Suffice it to say Paul Gilbert is as great a guitar player as I’d heard he was.
John Petrucci played next, and his performance was my favorite of the night. Similar to Gilbert’s performance, the most amazing part of the show wasn’t necessarily Petrucci’s playing, which was awesome, but the performances of bass player Dave LaRue and drummer Mike Portnoy. Portnoy’s performance was especially good, and I heard many people around me talking as much about him as they were about Petrucci. Of cource, Portnoy and Petrucci have been playing together in Dream Theater for years, so it’s not surprising to see how good they were together. Petrucci played songs from his solo CD Suspended Animation, which I’d highly recommend getting. Petrucci’s playing was awesome, and the music was excellent.
Joe Satriani took the stage last, and it was great to finally be able to see him live after hearing his records for so many years. I didn’t know it, but Surfing with the Alien was released 20 years ago, and Satriani played several songs from that album. My favorite Satriani tune of the night was Cool #9. Dave LaRue performed double duty and played bass for Satriani, and his bass playing was great throughout the night. During Satriani’s performance, Petrucci came out and played a solo on one of the songs, followed by Paul Gilbert coming out and playing with them.
The “G3” part of the show followed where all three guitarists jam together. If you’ve ever seen a G3 concert before, you know that this part of the show is one of the best parts of the night. They started off playing several Hendrix tunes, including Foxey Lady, Purple Haze and a small portion of Voodoo Chile. It was neat to see the interaction among the guitarists, but at times it was almost too much of a cacophony of noise. However, this could have been due to a poor mix at the soundboard.
If the G3 tour stops anywhere near your town, then I’d highly recommend going. It was a great night of guitar playing, and each guitarist played a great set.
Read a review from this year’s G3 concert in Chicago here.