Rock guitar god, Joe Satriani, performed one show at the Powerstation in Auckland to celebrate his new album What Happens Next with a band of rock music heavyweights. The venue was packed with an audience from all walks of life who came to watch their guitar hero in action.
Satriani kicked off the two-part show with Energy and Catbot before erupting into Satch Boogie which earned him his nickname to a loyal fan base around the globe.
The sound and light production of the show was flawless. A spotlight kept Satriani well lit as he performed his solos on a stage bathed in glorious colours and beams. Audio levels for each instrument was on point and complimented each other perfectly. Projected images on a small screen behind the drum kit added a different visual element such as a space-ship navigating a meteorite field during the track Flying. Simple but relevant.
Each note of Cherry Blossoms was crisp and clean as Satriani took the audience on a journey filled with joyous riffs. Thunder High On A Mountain was a song that this author felt appropriately shows the hard rock vein of the new album. It was glorious to see this track performed on stage as Satriani expertly led the dips and rises of the instrumental with his howling guitar... allowing Travers to fill the venue with galloping and 'thundering' beats during the crescendo.
World renowned session guitarist Keneally was quite a striking figure on stage. Dressed conservatively with a nicely groomed beard, Keneally did not look the part of a guitarist who toured with Frank Zappa and Steve Vai along with a penchant for death metal. With a guitar in his hand, we saw a different Keneally... shaking his head from side to side while matching Satriani's solo with a different layer of notes and at times, playing both the keyboards and guitar at the same time to create the soundscape for each song. Beller's bass lines were subtle but effective in matching the alternating pace of each song. His towering stage presence was the exact opposite of Keneally as he waved his long hair about during classic rock poses.
Beller's slapping bass solo introduced the classic Ice 9 and the whole crowd roared when they recognised the song. Satch's mastery of the guitar was like no other as his fingers danced across the fretboard at a blistering speed. His renowned finger tapping technique was spectacular as he led a friendly guitar jam/duel with Keneally during the same song.
Each member of the audience was transfixed and hung on every note, chord and riff that Satriani delivered on different guitars. Wild shouts erupted each time Satriani played the guitar with his teeth. Since his first visit to New Zealand thirty years ago with Mick Jagger, Satriani has truly earned his place as one of the most influential musicians in this country and rightly so, in the world of music.
It was truly a monumental night at the Powerstation... certainly one of this author's favourite concerts in 2018.