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I just finished watching “G3: Live in Concert,” a DVD
featuring Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson and Steve Vai
which was taped in November 1996 in Minnesota.
This disc was released in 2000 under the Epic label
and features each of these three master guitarists
in a set with their respective bands. Each band
performed about three songs. The concert ended
with them reuniting for some impressive jamming
on the classic Blues number, “Going Down,”
followed by Frank Zappa’s “My Guitar Wants to
Kill Your Mama,” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House.”

This entire disc has a running time of about 68
minutes of music. Therefore, it can be assumed
that we’ve been watching highlights from the
concert, not the entire sets performed by each
of the three players with their bands. Nevertheless,
what is on tap is quite impressive, and guitar
lovers will want to check out this DVD. It should
also be noted that some of the playing, particularly
from Vai (1960 – ), a former student of Satriani’s,
could occasionally degenerate into “showy effects.”

Eric Johnson (1954 – ) was probably the least flashy
of these three players, but his stellar musical chops
were on full display. I believe this was my first
exposure to his playing, and I was very impressed.

These convergent concerts were instigated by
Satriani (1956 – ), and this DVD is one of many.
Believe me; I plan to watch more of them! I like
the aforementioned format, which allows each
band to perform separately and then combine for
an all-star jam session at the end. Initially, I was
concerned that this would turn into a “mish mash,”
but the arrangements and solo spots were
quite effective.

Needless to say, the highest caliber of musicians
was in each band. Joe Satriani utilized a basic
“power trio” setup of guitar, Stu Hamm on bass
and Jeff Campitelli on drums, while Eric Johnson
added a keyboard to his group. Vai added his
longtime band mate, rhythm guitarist Dave Weiner,
who occasionally doubled on keyboard while
sharing some impressive lead lines with Vai!

As a bonus feature, a printed biography of each
of the three guitarists is included. This is an
abject lesion in what can occur when stellar
musicians converge on stage.