We were granted the opportunity to photograph the Joe Satriani Unstoppable Momentum Tour at Ruth Eckerd Hall this past Wednesday evening and this is another chart topper on the fortunate list of shows we have covered. One of the best evenings in music to date, and it has been a long tour for this fan...we shall leave that right there!
Mr. Satriani and band: Marco Minnemann - Drums; Bryan Beller - Bass and Mike Keneally - Keyboards, Guitar graced the stage around 9:00 PM and laid out one of the best two hours of a live performance that was what the doctor ordered! To experience one of the best musical libraries created like a soundtrack in a more intimate setting with an artist so fulfilled and in the moment of his craft, live provides the greatest shows. Starting off with Jumpin' In and winding through classics such as: Flying in a Blue Dream; other new selections like: A Door into Summer and Lies and Truths from Unstoppable Momentum. This show was one of the most simple yet the best examples of the artist feeding his crowd and the guests returning the appreciation. There are rather good vocal returns from the crowd to Joe's wizardry with a whammy bar and a few strings in his fingers.
The overwhelming grin on the face of Joe Satriani following the opening song was the map for the remainder of the evening with a great background of video digital art/graphics tied in with open road, rolling clouds and space footage that just flowed with the rest of the show. This four piece ensemble just enjoys their night simply jamming together and inviting their crowd along, sometimes the simplicity can be the key. The crowd started off relaxing in their seats a bit and why not? Watching Joe play is the whole sha-bang of the show and it is a treat to take in! Later on into the end of the two hour stretch, that you wanted to go on all evening, the crowd came to their feet and also a bit closer to the stage to receive the Smothers Brothers style goodnight bow of these four gents enjoying what they do. The finale and encore included: Always with Me, Always with You, Surfing with the Alien; a crowd particpation chant and Summer Song closed out the evening, as it draws to a close for 2013.
Mr. Satriani claimed a number of times that he always enjoys the crowd in Clearwater, and it was evident they did feel at home in this performance from start to finish. Thanks to Michelle and camp for an evening to remember on all fronts. These experiences remind me why I am blessed to do what I can with a passion of my own.
The double bill on this tour is one to catch, hands down. Joe is a smart man in that he has the Steve Morse Band opening dates with him until October 3rd. Steve Morse is a wizard of his own right as he has played with the Dixie Dregs, Deep Purple and has been recording (as a guest and solo) and touring since 1984 with the Morse project throughout. Steve is said to like a challenge in his playing and projects and from this opening treat it is clear to see. Their performance was honestly one of the best sounding, tight and grabbing openers this fan recalls taking in. This is not a night to arrive late you do want to get there in plenty of time for both acts, as this was also a simple three piece set up and musicians simply in the moment or song and impressive beyond description.
After October 3rd, Steve Morse leaves this tour to pick up with Deep Purple on October 12th, in the UK, so this was a rare gem caught by chance and what an opportunity. If you are able to ever catch Steve Morse in any project playing live, you truly must. The ease both these gentlemen Satriani and Morse, share their craft and grant a true show is just the best Reese's Cup out there in tour land.
I got the opportunity to ask a few questions of Joe Satriani, and it went a little something like this: I realized there had to be more behind Mr. Satriani's influences in just how he plays from a place of the soul in his style and even though any artist cannot ask for a greater influene than Hendrix, it turns out that Joe does come from a mucially inclined family. He is the last of five children and his mother played piano, his oldest sister picked up folk guitar, and a brother played blues harp, so the music played very early on for this virtuoso. The British Invasion is attributed to as well, as he stated he wanted to be "just like those guys", but that Jimi Hendrix is the light to what he has been able to create and accomplish.
Where younger guitar enthusiasts or local performers are concerned on any level, this is Joe's advice:
"Practice and keep learning every day! Read up on the music business, I recommend "This Business of Music". Get experience playing music for people any way you can. And get comfortable playing with different kinds of players." -- Joe Satriani.
Joe enjoys writing music in both his solo career and within the Chickenfoot project, which is soon to be releasing new things, hopefully. He said it is simply the fun of it and that is key to any creative page. One goal of his still though is to be able to work with and create one day with Jimmy Page, as fans would love any collaboration of these two masters.
He selects projects mainly on the feeling of them, in that it has to feel right as he says he is not able to fake it within a project. Projects have to be something that he can apply himself wholeheartedly into or it just isn't right from start to finish. If you get the opportunity to see him play live, you will understand this concept completely his style on a stage and the flow of it all combined with the invited interaction of the crowd shows this is truly where he belongs. Joe's favorite part of any show is any moment he connects totally to the music and his audience, that is golden to him and what he reaches for taking every stage.
"You have to love what you do." -- Joe Satriani. A true artist inspires other arists...
Joe Satriani obviously loves what he does and to be able to continue to push the envelope of music, sound and creating new music for thirty years is a gift in life. This wizard is a good soul with a true gift to share and he does so in the best sense possible, musically. This evening was an experience for this fan to say the least, in I found tht special place in the lens with this show and capturing Mr. Satirani and his touring camp, including the bonus guest of Steve Morse.
Special thanks again to Michelle Gutenstein, the Satriani and Morse camps and the staff at the Ruth Eckerd Hall for an extraordinary evening and an inspiring opportunity. This a topper of this fan's list of favorites, hands down.
Make sure to check the tour site for dates and any tickets still available here. See this tour, it will speak for itself! Enjoy!