When I first heard Joe Satriani would be making a stop (Oct. 25) as part of the inaugural season at the new Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles, California, I knew I had to be there. You can’t miss seeing one of the greatest guitarists on the planet, especially when it is virtually in you backyard, as the venue is probably a mere 10 minutes away (with traffic)! Add to that the opening act Living Colour, it was sure to be an amazing night of music.

After a spirited opening set by Living Colour, with vocalist Corey Glover wrapping things up by coming out into the audience as they closed with ‘Cult of Personality,’ the anticipation for Joe and his stellar touring band rose, as the audience was ready to get their ass kicked musically.

The show was the next to last date on Joe’s ‘Unstoppable Momentum’ tour, backing his fantastic 14th solo album which was released earlier this year. Satch and his signature JS Ibanez guitars were joined on this tour by Mike Keneally on keyboards and guitar (Frank Zappa, Dweeil Zappa, Steve Vai), drummer Marco Minnemann (Adrian Belew, Steve Wilson) and bassist Bryan Beller (Dethklok, Dweezil Zappa). The entire band are amazing, almost as technically proficient as their boss.

The set included 8 of the 11 tracks on the ‘Unstoppable Momentum’ album, kicking off the show with the spirited ‘Jumpin’ In.’ A Joe Satriani audience is unlike any other, seemingly in sync with the band and always giving full attention to the mastery of the playing they are seeing. All the amazing tracks from the past showed up in the set as well. ‘Flying in a Blue Dream,’ ‘Ice 9,’ ‘The Crush of Love,’ ‘Satch Boogie,’ ‘Always With Me, Always With You,’ ‘Time Machine,’ and ‘Surfing With the Alien,’ added to the truly unparalleled musical experience. Add to that the visual backdrops of scenery and images from Joe’s past, and it all took you to a different place.

The joy felt at the show was captured in a feeling of satisfaction and amazement that carried over long after leaving the venue. Joe is a Mozart on the guitar, a Beethoven for his generation, and the only one who can carry an entire 92 date world tour with all his fantastic instrumental music. True skill and technical finesse were on display, and it was a pleasure to witness it.

Setlist – Vina Robles Amphitheatre 10/25/13:
Jumpin’ In
Devil’s Slide
Flying in a Blue Dream
Unstoppable Momentum
The Weight of the World
Ice 9
The Crush of Love
I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cairn
A Door into Summer
Lies and Truths
Satch Boogie
Shine On American Dreamer
Three Sheets to the Wind
Drum Solo
Time Machine
Always with Me, Always with You
Surfing with the Alien
Crowd Chant
Summer Song

Special thanks to Michelle Gutenstien and Melissa Dragich-Cordero of MAD Ink PR!