by Paul Ridenour
Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, I always felt that lyrics, melodies, and harmonies were key to a great pop song. I have always liked British music better because they do a better job with the lyrics and music - Beatles, McCartney, Lennon, Elton John, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), and Led Zeppelin, to name a few.
I had always said that instrumentals would never be popular. Boy was I wrong! I did not discover Pink Floyd until 1980 and much of their music has no lyrics. The 1980s brought the popular instrumentals to the forefront with people like Kenny G and New Age music.
One of my favorites is Joe Satriani, whose music is almost 100% instrumentals as he plays the guitar like a piano "and" a maniac. He also plays banjo and harmonica. I have seen him in concert eight to ten times as he has come through Dallas. He is one of the best guitarists in the world and my personal favorite.
The last three times I saw him in concert was in Grand Prairie, TX, with Eric Johnson (2006), in Dallas with Thin Lizzie and Deep Purple (2004), and before that in Grand Prairie with Dream Theatre.
I saw him several years ago at one of those places that only holds 999 people with my two brothers and five other friends. A cop friend of mine let us in early and we were pressed up against the stage during the entire concert. A funny thing is that out of eight guys, only my two brothers got guitar picks and the drummer Jeff Campitelli gave me his drumsticks.
Joe spent several years with what he called "G3 Concerts" where he would play with other guitar players like Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Yngwie Malmsteen, and local guitar players.
Joe Satriani has made CDs from 1986 through 2008. I would recommend the following CDs in this order to get you started on an addiction to Satriani music:
Flying In A Blue Dream
Surfing With The Alien
Strange Beautiful Music
Live In San Francisco (CD and DVD)
Is There Love In Space?
CDs by Joe Satriani
Not Of This Earth (1986)
Surfing With The Alien (1987) with songs "Always With Me, Always with You," "Circles," "Midnight," and "Echo"
Dreaming #11 (1988) - Four song EP of live music
Flying In A Blue Dream (1989) with the title song and "Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing" and "The Forgotten (Part 1 and 2)"
The Extremist (1992) with songs "War," "Cryin'," and "Tears In The Rain"
Time Machine (1993) with "The Mighty Turtle Head"
Joe Satriani (1995) with songs "Home," "(You're) My World," and "Moroccan Sunset"
G3: Live In Concert (1997)
Crystal Planet (1998) with "Love Thing"
Engines Of Creation (2000 with "Until We Say Goodbye" and "Clouds Race Across The Sky"
Live In San Francisco (CD and DVD [platinum[ 2001)
Strange Beautiful Music (2002) with "Oriental Melody," "Starry Night," Chords Of Life," Mind Storm," Sleep Walk, "What Breaks A Heart," "The Journey," and "You Saved My Life"
The Electric Joe Satriani: An Anthology (2003)
G3 Live in Denver - Rockin' In The Free World (2004)
Is There Love In Space? (2004) with title song and "Just Look Up"
Super Colossal (2006) - "Ten Hands," "The Meaning of Love," "A Love Eternal," "Redshift Riders," and "A Cool New Way"
Professor Satchafunkilus and the Musterion of Rock (2008) - "Revelation," "Come On Baby," "Out of the Sunrise," and "Andalusia"