Joe Satriani, live at St.David's Hall, Cardiff with support from Dan Patlansky
Firstly, no words will truly do this show any justice. The pairing of Dan Patlansky and Joe Satriani in one evening made for incredible entertainment, and, all in all, a tour that will be part of story exchanges for years to come.
Opening the evening and exhibiting just how support slots should be executed, South African Blues guitarist and man with the raspy golden voice, Dan Patlansky, took to the stage and played a set that left a permanent impression. Strat in hand, Dan performed opening instrumental track 'Drone', which set the mood in a blinding manner, allowing Patlansky to demonstrate his guitar playing ability to those that might not have been aware of this talent beforehand, lending a tasteful sample of what he was about to unleash.
Making the most of this opportunity, Dan added a welcome variation of tracks from his small but strong back catalogue and was sure to include fan and press favourite 'Fetch Your Spade'. Though honestly, no track fell short of brilliance. 'RUN', a track from his forthcoming album, completely stopped me in my tracks. Harsh vocals, killer licks and a heaviness that many other tracks backed off from, it was an all round eye-opener and a song that has got me completely hooked on Dan Patlansky's sound. I can't recommend this music enough, and his live performance ability just emphasises why he's a relevant talent that deserves a wealth of recognition. Taking the bull by the horns, Patlansky serves as the perfect support.
Just a short break between sets and Joe Satriani hit the Cardiff stage in full force, making it blatantly clear why he holds the much deserved virtuoso status. Bearing a ton of personality and a somehow egoless attitude, Joe's stage entry is met by a thundering roar from eager 'Satch' fans.
Commencing the set, latest album title track 'Shockwave Supernova' cast an idyllic atmosphere in the room and was performed in faultless fashion. Treading on the heels of 'Shockwave Supernova' was 'Flying In A Blue Dream', which gave Satriani and his guitar breathing room to bring his favoured melodic stylistic approach to the forefront, which obviously worked a treat to get the masses riled up (even more so than before). With assistance from an awe-inspiring display of every technique in the book, which Joe wrote, it sent the crowd reaction soaring - quite literally.
There was so many instances in this evening where silence was present between Satriani's harmonic screams. The crowd were undeniably captivated by the experience. This was prevalent through the entirety of the set, and it seemed to spur on the passion and flare of Satriani and his talent. 'Crazy Joey' made such an impression, as Joe attacked the fretboard with a cheshire cat-like grin upon his face, breathing in the support and adoration radiating from the crowd. A solid collection of greats were performed, with the oh so romantic 'Always With Me, Always With You' being a complete treasure of mine on this particular tour. Cliche? Maybe… but there's no reason to not be intertwined with the song's melodic movements and simplicity.
This set was inarguably crafted by a collective of outstanding musicians, who as well as providing the supporting structure to Satch's playing, also had opportunity to take centre stage to flaunt their personal musical blessings. Fellow axeman, Mike Keneally, exclaimed his talent by taking to the fretboard with speed, and frightening accuracy, levelling the playing field and rising to Satriani's high standards. The rhythm section also sent shockwaves with intense solos and builds from percussionist, Marco Minnemann, and bass wielder Bryan Beller. No shortfall was had though out the night, and it left no one pondering over why these individuals are a part of Joe's touring outfit. Completely self explanatory.
I have to question, how would the average rock music fan, or indeed, anyone, absorbed some place in the music industry find the idea of a two hour guitar set? Is it a daunting task to the majority? I can't help but feel that many would pass-up such an opportunity, to witness this sort of 'exhibition' and it's a dying shame. With a superb team of behind the scene staff working the sound, lighting and general management, there is nothing to fault here.
While little words were spoken, Joe Satriani truly makes the guitar communicate in a way which words wouldn't begin to express. After witnessing this, it's evident that years of polishing his stage craft has paid off. Undoubtedly a legend of the genre that hasn't failed to deliver, time after time.
Reviewer: Christiane Robinson