"Live in Tokyo: Satriani / Vai / Petrucci" (Sony; 2005)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Where else can you get the three most prolific guitar players, let them tune, and then let them play to a sold out show in Tokyo, Japan? I thought it would be only in America. I went to the G3 tour when Yngwie Malmsteen was axe-slinging beside Satch and Vai and I’m still reeling from that four years later. 

This DVD starts with John Petrucci from Dream Theater performing a couple of songs from his solo CD entitled, “Suspended Animation.” The first cut is called “Glasgow Kiss” (which is really a head butt) and it sounds like Eric Johnson. It’s very melodic and John plays with a great tone. The song does develop and you get a sense of amazement when you watch him play. His second song, “Damage Control,” has a metal riff like no other in his arsenal. His soloing will cause fits and you may want to stop the video and practice what you just witnessed. It does feel different to have him ripping it up without James LaBrie singing, but his guitar represents the band well. 

Steve Vai is next and a showman all the way. He starts with “The Audience Is Listening” and then “Building The Church” follows. “K’m-Pee-Du-Wee” closes his set. He gives his audience everything he’s got. Vai is backed by Tony MacAlpine on guitar and keys, Dave Wiener on guitar and “the world’s greatest rock'n'roll bass player,” Billy Sheehan. Vai makes his guitar talk to the crowd and, of course, they talk back. Vai is a bit eccentric and I think his bandmates know it. He plays Sheehan's bass and Sheehan plays his guitar; they tap on each other instruments. It's two guys getting every note available out of their respected instruments. Vai really appreciates his fans; he’s got talent but he’s got poise too. Vai changes outfits a couple of times. He’s always giving something new to his fans. 

Next up is Joe Satriani. He speaks a little Japanese after his first song, “Up In Flames.” I like Joe’s set but all of his choices were the quiet starters. His set list included “Searching” and “War.” Listen to those tracks and you’ll know that it takes awhile to get them going but, once they do, sit back and enjoy the ride. Satch wears dark glasses and a ski cap while he plays; he almost seems shy about performing.  

Last, but not least, is the G3 Jam. Satch and Vai have such respect for each other that they bow when they meet on stage. It doesn’t seem for show either. I think they genuinely appreciate each other's contributions to both careers. They kind of leave Petrucci out though. As Vai and Satriani buddy up, John is caught a few times looking over to see what they are doing. John does get to lead on a couple of tracks and he starts with “Foxey Lady” and those guys solo for about ten minutes. If they left a trick out of their bags they make up for with “La Grange” and "Smoke On The Water. "

Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater pounds the skins for the G3 Jam and gives Petrucci the familiar backing he’s used to. There is an audio commentary on the bonus features but it’s the same video for each guitar player. Technical fans would probably enjoy it more than I did. 

If you claim to be a fan of Joe Satriani, Steve Vai or John Petrucci then this DVD needs to be in your collection.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 10 Jul 2022 15:03:28 -0400.