Home / CD Review: G3 – Live in Tokyo

CD Review: G3 – Live in Tokyo

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The G3 tours are probably the nearest thing to a religious experience that a rock guitar fan can have. Or, so I believe. I have never been able to witness it live, perhaps one day. Until then, I will just have to settle for the live releases that have been released. First there was G3: Live in Concert from back in 1996, then G3: Live in Denver from 2003, and no G3: Live in Tokyo. Each one has it’s own flavor, and slightly altered lineups. There have been a variety of lineups since the first tour in 1996. That first year was Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Eric Johnson, the 2003 trio for the Live in Denver show was Satriani, Vai, and Yngwie Malmsteen. The lineup for Live in Tokyo has John Petrucci (Dream Theater) joining mainstays Satriani and Vai. Other participants over the years have included Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Michael Schenker, Uli Roth, Adrian Legg, and Robert Fripp. Maybe one day we will get to see some of their work. Enough of that, I am sure you are all wondering if this disk is worth it.

This two disk set is phenomenal. All three of these guitar gods put it all on display for the crowd. These guys now how to put on a show.

The show opens with John Petrucci playing a pair of instrumental pieces entitled “Glasgow Kiss” and “Damage Control.” Both of these put his speed and technical proficiency on display. I only wish we could have gotten more from him. I have been a fan of his work ever since I first heard Dream Theater. This was the first time I had heard him play without his Dream Theater band mates. He has a great sound and the songs are fantastic. Both of them are from his new solo album called Suspended Animation.

Next up, Steve Vai. Vai led off with the first song I had ever heard of his, or any of this trio for that matter, “The Audience is Listening.” That is a hell of a way to kick off a set, a loud song with a bit of funk and a whole lot of rock! That is followed up with “Building a Church,” a wonderful instrumental work. His last selection is “K’m Pee Du We.” Never heard of this one before, but it is fun. Vai has always been one of my favorite players, technically sound, and unafraid to experiment with a wide variety of effects. The experimental side wasn’t really on display as much as the technical, and just a lot of fun.

Bringing up the rear of the trio is the founder of the tour, and the only member to be on every one, Joe Satriani. An inspiration to countless numbers of guitarists, and teaching the likes of Kirk Hammett and Steve Vai. He gives us the trio of “Up in Flames,” “Searching,” and “War.” Each song giving us a glimpse into the smooth style that Satch possesses. Firing off licks and leads with equal ease.

The moment I look forward to on all of these G3 sets, the jam. The time of night when all three of these artists take to the stage and together jam out their versions of some classic songs. Before getting into the first song, they announce a guest drummer, John Petrucci’s Dream Theater band mate Mike Portnoy. They then get into Jimi Hendrix’ “Foxey Lady.” They take this classic track and make it their own, each getting into their own lead breaks. They follow that up with ZZ Top’s “La Grange.” Adapting their styles in the Texas stylings. Closing out the evening is Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water,” featuring another guest, Billy Sheehan on bass and vocals. These last three songs are such an absolute blast, you can really sense the fun they are having with those classic rock radio staples. Taking these songs, paying them their due honor, and turning them into their own.

Bottomline. This is a great set of music, all three of these players are virtuoso’s. Like I said at the start G3 in an form is a near religious experience for guitar lovers. You just can’t go wrong, getting the individual sets, and then the all-star classic rock jam.


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  • is it better than Live in Denver?

    You’ll have to do whatever it takes to go to a show, it will fucking blow your mind.


  • guppusmaximus

    I would love to see Malmsteen,Petrucci and Impelliterri do a rip on the G3 series…I need to buy these DVDs!!
    Great review Chris, and I have to say that you are probably the only real Metal resident on this board.


  • SFC Ski

    I was fortunate to see Vai and Sheehan in Tampa this past winter, I am sure the G3 shows were even more fun., One of the coolest things about seeing Vai in concert is who normal and personable he is, not like a guitar god at all. Billy Sheehan is also one of the coolest guys on the planet, I really hope to see these guys live again.

  • I think I prefer the Denver show for the individual performances, although I give the end jam on Tokyo an edge over Denver.

    I saw Yngwie open for George Lynch last year, that was a helluva show. I’ll be seeing Yngwie again next month when he opens for Twisted Sister.

  • Give me Petrucci over Yngwie any day. I saw this lineup during their first go round in 2001. I was little dissapointed with Live In Denver so I hope this one makes up for it. Can’t wait for the DVD.

  • You two are the only metal heads?

    Fuck that.

    I’ve seen Iron Maiden play too, ya know.

  • George

    Malmsteen is a waste of time.they should include some original player on the next G3 line-up , like Al DiMeola,Alex Lifeson or David Gilmour…