Satch/Vai Tour Simply Sensational in Front of Sold Out Symphony Hall in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday, March 27th, 2024

Satriani and Vai Deliver Guitar Magic in Atlanta Symphony Hall...

Words and Photos: Elliott Gordon

@PlacemarkPhoto

 

The Atlanta Symphony Hall in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, welcomed legendary guitarists Joe Satriani and Steve Vai to town on a warm Wednesday night for their fifth stop on the Satch/Vai 2024 tour. Established in 1968 as a tribute to the 130 Atlanta arts patrons and crew who died in the 1962 plane crash at Orly Airfield in France, the nearly 1,800 capacity Atlanta Symphony Hall is one of three artistic institutions that anchor The Woodruff Arts Center.

Kicking off the night at 7:40 p.m. in front of a capacity crowd was Vai, opening with “Avalancha” from his latest release, Inviolate (2022). For those unfamiliar with the approach, the Satch/Vai Tour leverages the similar performance structure as G3 or Generation Axe, with each co-headlining artist featured individually followed by a group jam at the end.

Complemented by a large screen of rotating ambiance videos, Vai, backed by Phillip Bynoe (bass), Jeremy Colson (drums), and Dante Frisiello (keyboards/guitar), delivered an 8-song, hour-long set of awe-inspiring guitar mastery. For 60 minutes, Vai’s strings and whammy bar screamed in agony — mimicking his facial expressions — as he delighted fans with familiar catalog tracks such as “Little Pretty,” “Tender Surrender,” and the more recently released, demonically melodic “Zeus in Chains.”

I have had the privilege of witnessing guitarists Paul Gilbert, John 5, Adrian Vandenberg, K.K. Downing, Nuno Bettencourt, and Vernon Reid all live within the past 90 days, but Vai’s connection to his instrument transcends logic. This was never more evident than with the appearance of The Hydra guitar, a 30-pound beast featuring three necks (7 and 12-string guitars, and a 4-string 3/4 scale length bass) placed on a stand with a weight bag for Vai to play his jaw-dropping tune “Teeth of the Hydra.”

Following a standing ovation, the band concluded their show-opening set with “For the Love of God” off Vai’s 1990 release, Passion and Warfare. Grammy Award-winning producer, engineer, and performer Larry Mitchell (who opened for Vai here in Atlanta back in October 2022) was in attendance and summed up the performance perfectly on his Instagram: “A night of strange beautiful notes. A lot of notes strange. Beautiful passionate and plentiful. Wonderful artful notes. Vai was on fire!!!”

A short twenty-minute intermission made way for Satriani and his band, who took to the stage at precisely 9:00 p.m. and launched into the track “The Extremist,” which was immediately followed by the iconic “Surfing with the Alien.” Sharing the stage with Bryan Beller (bass), Kenny Aronoff (drums), and Rai Thistlethwayte (keyboards/guitar/vocals), the sunglassed Satriani, like Vai, shredded and smiled his way through a 60-minute masterclass. This venue is a more traditional, fully-seated experience, but that didn’t prevent motivated audience members from jumping up from their chairs and playing air guitar along with Satriani for tracks such as “Satch Boogie,” “Flying in a Blue Dream,” and “Always With Me, Always With You.”

Concluding his solo set with “Ice 9” from 1987’s Surfing with the Alien, Satriani then took a brief pause to thank the fans and lovingly reintroduced Vai back to the stage as “a kid that asked me for guitar lessons when he was younger and shorter.” The pair then broke into an enjoyable dueling guitar performance to showcase “The Sea of Emotion, Pt.1,” a collaborative recording between the two long-term friends that will be officially released Friday, March 29th.

A blistering cover of the Kinks’ (or was it Van Halen’s?) “You Really Got Me” immediately followed their new original track, leading the two maestros, with Thistlethwayte behind the mic, to put an emphatic exclamation point on the evening through an elongated cover version of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica.

The Satch/Vai Tour is currently scheduled to run through Friday, May 12th, where it will conclude at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, California. For the love of live music, work to catch this tour when it rolls through your town.

 

 

http://www.satriani.com/

https://www.vai.com/

 

Steve Vai Setlist

1.) Avalancha

2.) Building the Church

3.) Little Pretty

4.) Tender Surrender

5.) Lights Are On

6.) Zeus in Chains

7.) Teeth of the Hydra

8.) For the Love of God

 

Joe Satriani Setlist

1.) The Extremist

2.) Surfing With the Alien

3.) Satch Boogie

4.) Sahara

5.) Nineteen Eighty

6.) Big Bad Moon

7.) Flying in a Blue Dream

8.) Blue Foot Groovy

9.) Always With Me, Always With You

10.) If I Could Fly

11.) Ice 9

 

Encore Jam with Vai

12.) The Sea Of Emotion, Pt. 1

13.) You Really Got Me (The Kinks cover)

14.) Enter Sandman (Metallica cover)

 

Steve Vai’s Band

Phillip Bynoe (bass)

Jeremy Colson (drums)

Dante Frisiello (keyboards/guitar)

 

Joe Satriani’s Band

Bryan Beller (bass)

Kenny Aronoff (drums)

Rai Thistlethwayte (keyboards/guitar/vocals)

 

Satch/Vai 2024 Tour Dates

March 22 – Orlando, FL – Hard Rock Live-Orlando

March 23 – Pompano Beach, FL – Pompano Beach Amphitheater

March 25 – Clearwater, FL – Ruth Eckerd Hall

March 26 – Jacksonville, FL – Florida Theatre

March 27 – Atlanta, GA – Atlanta Symphony Hall

March 29 – North Charleston, SC – North Charleston Performing Arts Center

March 30 – Durham, NC – Durham Performing Arts Center

April 2 – Charlotte, NC – Belk Theater

April 3 – Richmond, VA – Dominion Energy Center

April 5 – Boston, MA – Orpheum Theatre Boston

April 6 – New York, NY – Beacon Theatre

April 7 – Waterbury, CT – Waterbury Palace Theater

April 8 – Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie Center for the Arts

April 10 – Collingswood, NJ – Scottish Rite Auditorium

April 11 – Washington, DC – Warner Theatre DC

April 13 – Northfield, OH – MGM Northfield Park

April 14 – Rochester, NY – Kodak Center Theater

April 16 – Detroit, MI – Fisher Theatre

April 18 – Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre

April 19 – Cincinnati, OH – Andrew J. Brady Icon Music Center

April 20 – Fort Wayne, IN – Embassy Theatre

April 21 – Indianapolis, IN – Murat Theatre

April 23 – Milwaukee, WI – Riverside Theater

April 24 – Minneapolis, MN – State Theatre

April 25 – Des Moines, IA – Des Moines Civic Center

April 28 – La Vista, NE – The Astro

May 1 – Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater

May 3 – Austin, TX – ACL Live at The Moody Theater

May 5 – Houston, TX – 713 Music Hall

May 7 – Denver, CO – Paramount Theatre

May 8 – Salt Lake City, UT – Delta Hall at Eccles Theater

May 10 – Valley Center, CA – Harrah’s Resort Southern California – The Events Center

May 11 – Wheatland, CA – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

May 12 – Santa Rosa, CA – Luther Burbank Center for the Arts

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