There was no shortage of riffs as G3 brought the guitar mastery to a packed house at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA.

Started in 1996 by guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani, the G3 tour has just kicked off its seventeenth installment, and in addition to Satriani, features Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci as well as Def Leppard’s Phil Collen. If the recent near-capacity show at Oakland’s Fox Theater is any indication, the tour will most definitely be another success.

Phil Collen kicks off the festivities on this evening, and after laying down the first guitar licks of the night, and giving the fans just a brief taste of what they came for. He is joined by Debbi Blackwell-Cook, the vocalist for his side project, Delta Deep. Together they do a short set of classic blues, with Collen having a few opportunities to show off his mastery of the guitar. The highlight of the far too brief set is “Down in the Delta”, which has the fans on their feet and wanting more. Although they would have to wait just a bit, there is definitely more on the way from Collen and Blackwell-Cook.

After a brief intermission, it’s time for John Petrucci to wow the crowd, which does not take very long to happen. Although appearing almost laid back on stage, Petrucci’s fingers seemingly move at lightning fast speed, and as he stands at the front of the stage it is quite apparent that he is nothing short of a guitar genius. From the opening riffs of “Damage Control” to the extreme technicality of “Cloud Ten,” (which he introduces as “Let’s get away from the dark and heavy and do something a little happier”) he has the crowd cheering along with every note. He wraps his set with “Glasgow Kiss,” but like Collen, he too will return.

It is now time for the master of ceremonies, Joe Satriani, to take his place on stage with guitar in hand and his signature shades, as he just straight up puts on a guitar clinic, making it look all too easy. From
the classic “Satch Boogie” and “Summer Song,” to “Cherry Blossoms” and “Super Funky Badass,” both off of his recently released What Happens Next record. Satriani gives the fans everything they have come for, tenfold.

Although the crowd would leave more than happy after an evening of virtuoso guitar playing, there is more in store for them. Satriani is joined on stage by Petrucci, Collen, and Blackwell-Cook for a triple guitar attack of the Deep Purple classic “Highway Star,” with Blackwell-Cook belting out the lyrics. There was still one final surprise, however.

There had been rumors of a “special guest” joining the guitar trio on stage, and as Bay Area guitar legend Neil Schon of Journey walks out, the rumors are confirmed. After all four trade riffs, they launch into a smoking version of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”

This year’s G3 just may be the best one yet, and it’s not something to be missed when it pulls into town.

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Event Date: 14-JAN-2017

About The Author

Raymond Ahner is a professional freelance photographer residing in San Francisco, California. Growing up in the Bay Area, Raymond was lucky enough to witness both the Punk and Thrash Metal scene of the 1980's explode literally right in front of his eyes. It was a pretty special time in his life, and is what instilled his love for live music. Over the years Raymond has been fortunate enough to combine his passion for live music with his love of photography. And although he will always love shooting the big arena Rock show, it is in a tiny, packed to the rafters club were he his most at home with his gear.