||JOE SATRIANI SENDS SHOCKWAVES THROUGH BANGKOK WITH MESMERISING SKILL
Joe Satriani: Centrepoint Studio, Bangkok, Thailand
27th February 2017
Words: Mark Taylor, Pictures: Bambang Olie Maryanto
Guitar wizard Joe Satriani has spent the past two years whizzing around the world promoting his fifteenth studio album 'Shockwave Supernova'.
For this south-east Asian jaunt, Satriani is treating appreciative fans in Japan, plus the rarely visited countries such as China, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand, with a tour billed as 'Surfing To Shockwave' in honour of the thirtieth anniversary of his breakthrough album 'Surfing With The Alien' that catapulted the guitar supremo onto the world stage.
Minutes before the show, fans stand to attention as the Royal anthem of His Majesty King Bhumibol of Thailand is played and is patriotically and beautifully observed for the revered King who sadly passed away last year.
Moments later the back screen comes alive with sci-fi action and an animated Satriani hero flying through the air, before the man himself appears in the flesh with one of his many Ibanez JS signature guitars making out worldly sounds that shoot straight out past the earth's atmosphere, with a blast of the title track from 'Shockwave Supernova'.
A nice human touch too with Satriani and his band all wearing black ribbons in remembrance of the King made them most welcome in this nation in mourning.
Normally, instrumental artists are just enjoyed by aspiring musicians and to the casual listener the shows can be a meandering affair, but Satriani is not your average Joe. There's no match for Satch as he held his audience totally transfixed as he made sonic sounds full of tasty whammy bar action backed by a powerful tight band who also made an impact themselves allowing Satriani to breath when required.
A musical tour de force that hit the listener like a tsunami, sweeping them away into a Galaxian sea in a euphoric dream like state.
This is not just a one man show. Drummer Marco Minnemann sent out his thunderbolts as soon as the band hit the stage. The versatile Mike Keneally adds keyboards and is also the perfect partner for Satriani when he picks up the guitar and duels like he did magnificently on 'Flying In Blue Dream' and 'Cataclysmic'.
Bassist Bryan Beller adds the beef with a solid display and he knows how to engage with the crowd with a fusion of styles.
'Summer Song' sees a video backdrop of a younger Satriani with a complete set of hair and while his barnet has since vanished, his stunning abilities have not.
The music is mainly hard, heavy and snazzy with a few delicate moments like the jazzy shuffle of 'Friends', dedicated to friends and musicians no longer with us, and the dreamy 'Always With Me, Always With You' gets a big cheer.
Satriani proves how adept he could be at joining a major rock band with a brief medley of Sabbath, Zeppelin, Deep Purple, AC/DC and Hendrix classics played with ease in his own inimitable style.
While Satriani lets his Ibanez do all the singing, 'Crowd Chant' lives up to its name by making the crowd roar before riding out with 'Satch Boogie'.
The guitar maestro does actually sing for the encore hard groove of 'Big Bad Moon' and even does a harmonica break, but it's his guitar wizardry that captivated its audience for over two hours.
Bangkok went surfing with the alien. Totally out of this world.
Flying In A Blue Dream
On Peregrine Wings
If I Could Fly
Butterfly And Zebra
Luminous Flesh Giants
Always With Me, Always With You
Bass Solo + Rock Medley
God Is Crying
Big Bad Moon
Surfing With The Alien