How do you start off a review for something like a Joe Satriani concert? It’s like starting off a review for a piece of gold, or something that everyone already associates with perfection. And perfection is what was delivered to Austin Texas last night, as Joe and his band played the legendary Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater.
Just under a week before, my dad surprised my little sister and I and asked us if we wanted to go, cause he did. So this concert happened under special circumstances, which made it that much better!
And before we dive into this review all the way, the seating arrangements are perfect. From the looks of it, there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. All seats are at the right height so everyone can see the performer (unless you were the unfortunate person who sat behind the guy standing up most of the set… Yes, that did happen to a poor guy in the front rows last night).
After going to dinner, we went straight to ACL for the show. We hung out on the outside balconies until they opened the room doors. We went in and waited for about forty minutes until the lights went dim, and some African inspired intro music started.
The legendary Steve Morse and his three piece band took the stage and ROCKED! This being all of our’s first all instrumental concert, I didn’t know exactly what to expect (which I find strange, being an instrumental guitarist myself). But we weren’t disappointed one bit! Steve and his band brought it, leaving everyone more than satisfied until Joe came out.
A twenty minute intermission, and one trip to the bathroom later, we were all back in our seats just minutes before the lights dimmed yet again…
More intro music and a dark stage was followed by the roar of what could have only been, and of course was, THE Joe Satriani! For the next hour and then some, we were taken on a magic journey, and Joe was driving.
The band ran through a good variety of Joe’s music catalog, completed with an amazing drum solo by Marco Minnemann. Everybody cheered constantly, and the band kicked back in.
A few songs later, they closed with what I’m sure most of the audience was ready for… Surfing with the Alien!
Hearing the famous Floyd-Rose-Rising-Octave intro of the song lead my dad and I to freak out together in a manner that either of us would probably be embarrassed of in other circumstances, but the song was amazing as any other played last night! A real treat to hear Joe play one of his biggest songs live. The only problem is that like the rest of the show, it was over just as it began.
After that, Joe thanked everyone for coming and the band bowed and left the stage; to which I joked, “Hey, he’s going back to the mother ship now!”.
But after the crowd kept cheering, and both guitar techs put guitars back on the stage. The show wasn’t over yet! The band came back out for the best encore I’ve seen – Joe’s signature “Crowd Chant”, and Summer Song! Everybody went nuts!
The whole crowd stood up for the final two songs! People started dancing, throwing horns in the air, and head banging (myself included).
It’s still taking a bit to process the Alien Abduction that Joe and his band performed on everyone.
A few highlights of the show was watching guitarist and keyboard player Mike Keneally keep up with Joe note for note (and then some) on guitar solos they shared together, and listening to and watching the solid low end performance of bassist Bryan Beller (which Joe accidentally hit while he was getting the crowd to clap early in the set… Joe felt REALLY bad!)
Over all, it’s hard to put into words how awe-inspiring it is to see one of your biggest music influences live. And even harder to describe sharing that experience with people you love. Making this show priceless.
I give Joe’s show, 7 stars out of 5!
To see the rest of Joe’s tour dates on the Unstoppable Momentum tour, click here.