Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

March 18, 2012

Joe Satriani ~ Satriani Live! (live)

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Style: instrumental, hard rock
Label: Red Ink Records
Year: 2006
Home: California

Members: Joe Satriani ~ guitar/harmonica/keyboard
Jeff Campitelli ~ drums
Dave LaRue ~ bass
Galen Henson ~ rhythm guitar

This two CD live album is taken from the DVD filmed in 2006 at The Grove in Anaheim, California. I can't help but recommend going for the DVD & leaving the CD for diehard fans. Some reviewers have called Satriani Live! a great introduction to JS's greatest hits as it pulls favorite tracks from his albums & is a high energy set where he just blasts away in stellar glory. That is indeed true as the show is during the tour for the album Super Colossal, a bad title but fitting for JS, but also draws songs from the successful Joe Satriani, The Extremist, Flying In A Blue Dream & Surfing With The Alien, while JS does tear into the air not holding back in the least. But, at the same time the songs are quite different here from the heavily overdubbed studio albums & some listeners may not like the bare-bones live versions that feel less like cohesive songs & more like long-winded guitar solos. I highly recommend Flying In A Blue Dream that defies audio belief. Satriani Live! should do the same but doesn't for the simple reason that it's impossible to duplicate heavily overdubbed & intricate studio creations on a single guitar with a backing band that ... stays in the back. In the studio there's a cohesiveness to all the instruments while the arrangements ebb & flow. Live JS has a tendency to overplay to compensate for the loss, but in turn kills some of the soft textures that make his albums so much of a cosmic journey. The technique becomes more important than the songs here. Thus, this essentially becomes an album for guitar nuts who love fancy finger work & all the sounds one can crank from a guitar, though the DVD is really better as someone of JS's caliber should be seen to fully get the experience of his skills. JS comes out looking like a technically great guitarist but the creative side as an arranger & composer is lost in the live setting. After the first CD one is either going to jump to the second or be turning to JS's student Steve Vai who has proven himself just as likely to drizzle a slow sad blues on stage as a hot footed rock song & not have to be in your face on either. There's really a draining aspect to a guitar soloist when there's no vocals & the songs tend to all have a driving rock feel & without being able to see it even more so. Some will enjoy the spontaneous raw energy but others will want to stick with the over-constructed studio work & will probably never miss not hearing this live album. As for those who think I'm too harsh ... I'm coming from the point of view of a casual listener wanting substance over technique, want song structure over showing off, want texture over flash, want a journey over an event. There's no denying JS's skills & influence, so there's no reason to rehash how great he is. He shows it here, but sometimes one just wants to float away in gentle cosmic guitar bliss without the flash.

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