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Not long ago, I finished watching a second G3 DVD, entitled
“G3: Live in Denver,” a 2004 release by the Epic label. At a
running time of 112 minutes, it was considerably longer than
the disc from their 1996 concert.

This concert was recorded in October 2003, featuring G3 founder,
Joe Satriani, Steve Vai (1960 – ) and Yngwie Malmsteen.
Denver, Colorado was just one of many tour stops for this G3
configuration. As usual, each guitarist and his band
(What bands they were!) played a set for approximately
22 minutes. These sets were followed by a final “jam,” where
all three of these guitar icons played together.

On a purely visceral level, the concert was more impressive
than the one given in 1996. For the most part, it was “heavier,”
with mind-blowing playing which was not limited to the three
front men. In particular, Steve Vai’s band consisted of an all-star
lineup, featuring bassist Billy Sheehan (1953 – ), keyboardist and
guitarist Tony MacAlpine (1960 – ) and Vai’s longstanding
colleague, Dave Weiner (1976 – ), on the “other” guitar.
Jeremy Colson (1978 – ) provided fabulous support on drums.

Satriani (1956 – ) added another guitarist to the power trio
format (guitar, bass and drums) that he’s used in 1996.

Clearly, Malmsteen (1963 – ) had put on some weight since
I’d seen him with his “Rising Force” band at the Hollywood
Palladium, during the mid 1980’s. He’d also added a rhythm
guitarist to his lineup, and traded lightning fast runs with his
ubiquitous virtuoso keyboardist. Perhaps he’s the fastest
guitarist I’ve ever seen in a Rock context, and his Baroque
stylings are unique. However, it would be nice if he didn’t
embellish every phrase with runs, all of the time. Nevertheless,
his amazing technique is a good example of what can be
achieved with diligent practice of scales and arpeggios!

Each of these three guitarists are elite musicians, and I felt
privileged to watch this level of playing. Not surprisingly,
the best part of the concert occurred at the end, when all
three of these masters played together in a set that included
“Rockin’ in the Free World,” followed by two Jimi Hendrix
tunes, “Little Wing,” and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).”
I was surprised that Satriani’s rhythm guitarist was used for
this final jam, although he clearly remained in the background.
As if three guitarists weren’t enough!

This was a fine show, and is an absolute “must see” for
guitar aficionados. It was also well recorded with fine camerawork.

The bonus features included a list of tour dates and printed
biographies for each of the G3 superstars. This concert was
a real “rush” for me, and I’m looking forward to watching
other G3 concert DVDs. Absolutely awesome!

 

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