June 13, 2014 Joe Satriani Electrifies The Space At Westbury, NY 6-7-14
When it comes to guitars and guitarists, there are many names that ring clear. Everyone knows of Gibson’s famous Les Paul and Fenders’ Stratocaster. Generations of music fans know of Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, and countless others who have graced us with their guitar talent. Any guitar fan or player worth their grain in salt, when it comes to amazingly talented guitar players, should certainly know the name Joe Satriani. Satriani has been dazzling audiences with his guitar aficionado skills for over thirty years. In Satriani’s very own hometown of Westbury, New York he set out to amaze his fellow Long Islanders at The Space at Westbury Saturday, June 7th 2014.
Warming up the stage early was Austin, Texas based Sit Down, Servant; begun as a new musical endeavor by Canadian musicians Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar and drummer Brannen Temple. The music of Sit Down, Servant is a dark mellow mix of blues, dub, and even gospel. Engaging the audience with soulful guitar skills, the band played a great offering of down dirty tunes that this unsuspecting audience thoroughly enjoyed. Sit Down, Servant will continue to support Satriani as he heads off overseas and will most definitely attract attention there as well.
As anticipation grew from the crowd at almost 9 PM, the lights finally went dim and the music was cranked up. Standing before what appeared to be a sold out crowd was the guitar wizard himself, often known to his fans as simply Satch. Satriani instantly began to play the opening lick from one of his newer songs “Jumpin In”. From the moment he struck his first chord it was obvious he was here to make a point and not disappoint in his own backyard. Satriani chose to play a few new numbers such as “Devils Slide” and “Unstoppable Momentum” before transitioning into some of his older more classic material. The fourth stop on this guitar lover’s dream was “Flying In A Blue Dream”. It seemed very obvious that the crowd certainly loves the classic material, not at all however lessening the quality of his newer material. Listening to “Flying In A Blue Dream” is where it becomes most evident how exact and effective Satriani is on the guitar. So much so, everyone could have closed their eyes and sworn they were listening to the studio master, thus eradicating any thoughts of studio trickery.
Keeping up with the older material, Satriani nailed “Ice 9” and “Cool # 9” as if he were by himself in his house just playing to the TV as if no one was around or even watching. His tone, sound, playability, crowd control, and confidence were blatantly apparent. At this point in the show we saw Satriani transitioning into some newer material again, playing such numbers as “A Door Into Summer” and “Lies and Truths”. Interestingly enough, all of his newer material sounds as if it could have been recorded thirty years ago and his older stuff as if it were recorded today. Satriani’s passion in his music and his love for music allows his catalogue to fuse together seamlessly as the listener cannot tell what is new or old; everything sounds fresh.
As the show began to come to its end, Satriani still had some excitement left for the crowd, of which probably knew what was in store. After a momentary hand raise to the crowd to make more noise, Satriani screeched into his famous “Satch Boogie” and once again there was that moment that it felt like listening to his record,which is how great the man sounded live. Another new song in “Shine on American Dreamer” led the way to an amazing drum solo by the talented Marco Minnemann that kick started the beautiful song “Crying”. It is in these tender moments of the show in which it is clear to see how music is translated into human emotion. Every person in that crowd felt the music and it was telling a compelling yet different story to each of us as it filled in the timeline of our own lives; the signs of a master musician.
As “Crying” ended and a faint sound of maracas was beginning to be heard, the crowd knew what was next, the famous song “Always With Me Always With You”. Words cannot describe how beautiful every part of the song sounded as it came to life before the eyes of The Space. The pitch, the timbre, the somewhat annunciation of the notes translated by Satriani’s overwhelmingly abundant guitar skills certainly spoke volumes to the entire crowd. On the heels in excitement, everyone could not wait to hear the famous hammer on guitar part that breaks the middle section of where the crowd erupted into cheers.
After another new song “Crowd Chant”, which seems to have become another crowd favorite, Satriani came back out for an encore with the song that broke him into the mainstream “Summer Song”. Drinkers toasted and people cheered as they knew he had to play this one, and more importantly as his encore. Every part of this song was nothing less than brilliant, the entire band played in unison, and the crowd reacted off of the music and vice versa. This was simply a well tempoed flawless encore.
All in all, the gig showcased not only an amazing guitarist but an amazingly tight band including Bryan Beller on bass and Mike Keneally on keys and guitar. As expected, Satriani certainly surrounds himself with top notch musicians and this band was nothing short of fabulous. The entire gig was nothing short of great and Satriani set that tone, keeping it flowing all night through. Every soul in The Space at Westbury all had the same thought on their mind; Man, what universe did this guitar god come from. With Satriani now headed overseas to this homecoming was a perfect kick start to a European summer tour.