G3 (Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Phil Collen) ~ Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts ~ February 6, 2018 ~ Raleigh, North Carolina

To say that I was a bit giddy about covering the G3 tour stop in Raleigh, North Carolina may have been a bit of an understatement. The 2018 G3 tour consists of Joe Satriani, John Petrucci (Dream Theater) and Phil Collen (Def Leppard). My first exposure to Joe Satriani was back in 1988 when I was managing an independent record store in my hometown. I had a music dealer of mine send me a promo copy of Satriani’s Surfing with the Alien release and told me that he thought I would really dig it. Wow, was he ever right on that one! I had never heard anything like it before and I was instantly hooked on Satriani! Fast forward to 2018 and here I was about to see him play live for the very first time.

The show took place at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and it is a beautiful venue. The venue slowly started to fill in and right at 7:00, the house lights went down and it was time for Phil Collen’s blues project Delta Deep to take the stage. Collen emerged first and the show went from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds. I’ve been a Def Leppard fan going way back to their On through the Night releases in 1980 and I’ve seen the band live many times. At tonight’s show, I saw Collen in a different light. The first two songs “Quadrant 4” and “Ode to Joe,” were instrumentals and Collen lit it up! The guy is incredible in Def Leppard, but during these shows he turned into a shredding beast! Vocalist Debbi Blackwell Cook joined them on stage for the next four songs that included three Delta Deep tunes. The other song included was a cover of Deep Purple’s “Mistreated” on which Collen took over the lead vocal roll. A solid set of blues flavored rock and roll and may I add that Cook is one amazing vocalist full of passion and conviction. Below are some pix from Delta Deep’s set; I do wish we could have shot at least one song that featured vocalist Debbi Blackwell Cook. We were only allowed the first two instrumental tracks, so I apologize for not having pix of this incredibly talented lady during Delta Deep’s set. Have no fear; we did get shots of her during the all-star jam! (Click on each picture for a larger view!)

John Petrucci was up next and he received a huge ovation when he took the stage after a short intro clip on the big screen on the back of the stage. The clip was quite mysterious and a bit ominous, but helped to create and build this sense of urgency. Petrucci’s six song set was comprised of all instrumentals with one of which, “Glassy-Eyed Zombies,” being an unreleased track. Petrucci is quite a presence on-stage with his long black hair, epic black beard and dressed all in black. He seemed a bit intimidating as he shredded away on his axe while making those crucial guitar faces that great guitarists make. Then, he stopped to speak between songs and he’s this cool, funny, down to earth guy who absolutely loves what he’s doing. It was first time seeing Petrucci perform live and it was quite an impressive experience. It is definitely a performance that I will never forget. Below are a few pix from Petrucci’s set! (Click on each picture for a larger view!)

Satriani was up next and he strolls out dressed all in black and wearing shades. Satriani is also out supporting his new album What Happens Next and his fifteen song set was comprised of six songs from that album. The crowd really seemed into the newer tracks and enjoyed them, but the biggest pops pf the night seemed to come when he played tracks from Surfing with the Alien. Below are some pix from Satriani’s set! (Click on each picture for a larger view!)

Satriani brought everyone back out for an all-star jam encore that included “Highway Star” by Deep Purple, “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder and “Going Down” by The Alabama State Troupers. Everyone was having a great time up there with smiles on each and every face. That fun was quite infectious to all of us in the audience as it radiated from the stage. Below are some pix from the all-star jam encore! (Click on each picture for a larger view!)

Satriani did not disappoint my expectations, which I was sure he wouldn’t, and he delivered probably the best display of musicianship on the electric guitar that I have ever witnessed. He doesn’t just play the guitar; it’s as if he becomes one with it. It as if it becomes another appendage of his body. He plays with such smoothness and makes it seem quite effortlessly what he is doing. Those notes just flow from his body as if they are a part of his DNA and I am thinking that they actually were! This was a phenomenal show from beginning to end and that doesn’t happen too often these days. Thank goodness there were a few minutes between each set to use the bathroom or grab a drink because I would have been made as hell if I would have had to miss a minute of this show!

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