Joe Satriani – Live in Budapest
Petőfi Hall, 11 July 2006

Two years after the sold-out G3 show Satch returned with the promotional tour of the new Super Colossal album. This time he brought Adrian Legg with him. Not knowing what to expect, I was surprised to see an old man walking out to the stage, dressed in blue collar, looking like your grandpa who just came back from fishing. He had probably the ugliest guitar I've even seen, sat down, said "Hello, my name is Adrian Legg and I'm about to play some tunes for you" and started tuning his guitar. After half a minute I realized it was more than just tuning, it was a song. The man was hilarious, he was playing some bluesy acoustic stuff and instead of bending strings he simply twisted the nuts, tuning up and down half a step or a step every five seconds. Then he played some fingerpicking bluegrass stuff, some heavily effected bluesy stuff, altogether some 6 or 7 tunes which were just about enough as this kind of stuff tends to get boring after a while.

By the time Satch and his co. entered the stage there was a rather strong half-house which means approximately 2 to 2.5 thousands people. I was relatively surprised with the choice of the opener as after a short and rather chaotic intro it turned out to be "Flying in a Blue Dream", one of my favourites but not necessarily a bombastic opener. The following "The Extremist" and "Redshift Riders" lifted the spirits though. The rhythm section of Dave LaRue and Jeff Campitelli was as superb as always, Galen Henson as faceless and humble as always, and Satch as perfect and as withdrawn as always. The two cools, "Cool #9" with a relatively long improvisation part and "A Cool New Way" with an extremely long cadence were somewhat tiring but the classic "Satch Boogie" and the title track of the new album restored the mood again.

The concert cleverly shifted between slow and fast tunes, old and new material, fixed things and impros. The cadences tended to be a bit long with Satch making his guitar scream while the rest of the band was just loitering around waiting for the sign for the final break but other than that there was nothing to complain about. The sound was really good, I could have done with a bit more of Henson's rhythm guitar as it was hidden pretty much in the back of the mix though I understand the gig is all about the main man.

Then there was room for 7-string stuff, "Oriental Melody" was a welcome addition to the set-list; and a classic trio of the "Mystical Potato Head", "Always with Me" and "Surfing" closed the regular part. I love all three tunes but it was too obvious not to note that Satch must be pretty fed up with "Always with Me". I have never heard such a soulless performance of that lovely song before. The band only came alive towards the end following the tapping part in the middle; the intro was god-awful.

The encore was only 2 songs: "Crow Chaint" made the crowd chant while "Summer Song" left nothing else to wish for. Or? The gig was relatively short. I could have handled about half an hour more. Maybe next time…

Report by Endre "Bandi" Hübner,

(c)2006 RockUnited.Com