Then, the phone rang. After one lightning quick trip to Taco Bell, one BART ride to San Francisco and one $9 Hangar One and tonic at Farmer Brown while I waited for BL to finish dinner, I was able to snag this pic from the floor of the Warfiled. Pretty freaking cool, huh?
For those who don't recognize this uber-amazing, bald, guitar slinger, that's Joe Satriani. Yeah, we were that close (note the rocking fist-pump of approval in the foreground!) . But, more about that in a sec...
First, we were treated to the likes of Mountain. Never heard of Mountain? Yeah, me neither. But I'm sure you'd recognize their biggest hit, Mississippi Queen after hearing the first note. It's pretty synonomous with classic rock. Anyhoo, they have a new bass player who, as evidenced by the next two photos, couldn't stand still long enough to not come out blurry...
Homeboy has about five long dreadlocks on top of his head, which he swung around in a helicopter-type fashion when the band really started kicking ass. It was totally comical (and very difficult to capture!!)
The old dude is Leslie West. Say what you will about Mountain, but that guy is a freaking legend in the guitar world. And I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the guy can still ROCK. Like, really, really well. It was a great way to open the show.
Then, The Extremist came out and blew us all away...
You can recognize an awesome guitarist in two ways:
1. By their obvious super-human skill with the instrument itself, paying special attention to the hands, and...
2. By the way they move their mouths when they're really feeling what they're hands are creating. This never fails. If you know someone who can totally wail on the guitar, ask him or her to play for you, and then observe the mouth movements. Its awesome.
Anyways, the show was just incredible. I've been listening to SO much electronic music lately that I've totally forgotten just how much I love the sound of electric and acoustic guitars. In high school, I dated a serious guitar player who introduced me to the likes of Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Nuno Bettencourt, Gary Hoey, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Beck, Yngwei Malmsteen and yes, Joe Satriani. I owe A LOT of my current taste in music to his influence. Through him, I gained a ridiculous appreciation for the sheer skill involved in making music of that kind. The guys listed above...they make it look easy. The things they can do with a guitar, I'm convinced, makes them not only geniuses, but super-human. They take making music to the extreme. And hearing it live is even better.
Thanks go out to BL for snagging the tickets. Even if the old, annoying, crusty guy with a long white, curly beard and hair kept offering me things I didn't want, I had a blast!
And, just because I think Steve Vai does things with a guitar that no one else in the world does, take a listen to two very different examples of his work:
I just love how this one moves. So perfect, and yet pretty accessible even by those who can't really appreciate the difficulty. On the other hand, there's this one, where he really pushes the limits of what one simple instrument can do:
When listening to this, keep in mind that he did the whole thing with only guitars. I tried to find the tabs to give you an insight into the crazy things he does in this song, but no dice. The nuttiest part of all is that Joe Satriani was Steve Vai's teacher!
Happy Monday, y'all. Rock on.