Guitar stars flex muscle on G3 tour: Satriani, Collen, Petrucci

G3 Tour

The G3 Tour stops to shred the Grand Sierra Resort on Saturday, Jan. 13.

Since 1996, Joe Satriani has employed two other accomplished guitarists for an ultimate shred fest called G3. With 37 shows and hardly any days off, the enterprising 2018 tour requires not only extraordinary musicianship, but also superior conditioning. Phil Collen and John Petrucci are eminently qualified to hit the road with Satriani this year.

Petrucci, the 17th greatest guitarist of all time according to Guitar World, is an avid weight lifter. Collen, best known as a member of Def Leppard, practices martial arts and has been sober and a vegetarian since the 1980s.

“I’ve never played so many shows back-to-back in my life and that’s including the crazy long Def Leppard tours that we did,” Collen told Tahoe Onstage.

Held exclusively in the United States and Canada, the G3 Tour runs from Jan. 11-Feb. 25, including a show at Reno’s Grand Sierra Resort on Saturday, Jan. 13. Previously, the tour has included guitar giants such as Eric Johnson, Steve Vai, Steve Lukather and Robert Fripp. Collen’s invitation came after last summer’s G4 workshop and performance with Satriani, Thomas Gilbert and Tommy Emmanuel.

Tahoe Onstage

Phil Collen practices martial arts and works out with heavy metal.

During the tour, each featured guitarist will play a set with his respective band before coming out for a 19-string amalgamation. (Petrucci’s ax has 7 strings). With so many irons on the fire, the metal is especially heavy.

“We have a bunch of songs we’ve spoken about but have yet to rehearse them,” Collen said. “We’ll do that in Seattle before kickoff. It’s going to be really fun and who knows where that’s going to go. That’s the cool part about it. We don’t really know where that’s going to lead us with all of the improvisation.”

In a press statement, Satriani said, “I could say that I’m surprised at the durability of G3 and how much it’s grown, but in a way I’m not.

At the conclusion of the G3 Tour, Def Leppard will have a concert in its home country, England, before hitting the road for a year and one-half to two-year worldwide tour.

“I think part of its charm and its mojo is in the chemistry of having three top guitarists share what they do on stage. It’s fun, it’s unpredictable, it’s wild – it’s everything you could want in a show.”

Satriani is expected to play songs from his 16th solo album, “What Happens Next,” which will be released on Jan. 12.

Collen said his set will include tracks from the second album by his blues band, Delta Deep, which releases “East Coast Live” on Jan. 26. Delta Deep members include blues powerhouse vocalist Debbi Blackwell-Cook and drummer Forrest Robinson, who plays with India.Arie, Joe Sample & the Crusaders and TLC. Bassist Robert DeLeo will miss the tour because he has a commitment with the Stone Temple Pilots. Craig Martini, the bass player at the recent G4, will play on the tour.

Tahoe Onstage

Joe Petrucci shreds on seven strings.

Collen said he is blown away by the clean, precise picking style of Petrucci, a disciple of Al Di Meola. Petrucci is best known for his longtime band Dream Theater. GuitarOne named him among the “Top 10 Guitar Shredders of All Time.”

In recent years, Satriani has made Lake Tahoe appearances with the supergroup Chickenfoot, which includes honorary Tahoe resident Sammy Hagar.

“What I really like about (Satriani and Petrucci) is they are in the same camp as me about trying to be on the trajectory of this learning curve,” Collen said.

“More than just a musician, you’re always trying to improve yourself and learn new things and I know for a fact that these guys are doing that just by listening how their music’s changed over the years. It’s turned into something else and as an artist that is what you are trying to do. We all have this plan to move forward and upwards and to keep getting better.”

While new music will be emphasized on the G3 Tour, fans always like hearing songs they’ve heard before. The instrumental “Disintegrate” was on the 1999 Def Lappard album “Euphoria,” but Collen said it will be played live for the first time on this tour.

Then he dropped a bombshell of a news item about Def Leppard: At the conclusion of the G3 Tour, Def Leppard will have a concert in its home country, England, before hitting the road for a year and one-half to two-year worldwide tour. In an interview published this week in Rolling Stone magazine, Neal Schon indicated that Journey may be involved in touring with Def Leppard.

Before joining Def Leppard, Collen came close to becoming a member of Iron Maiden. He was friends with the band’s original lead singer, Paul Di’Anno, and considered joining him before Adrian Smith came aboard.

The timing of Collen hooking up with Def Leppard was perfect. He was on the band’s sessions for the breakout album “Pyromania,” which in 1983 was No. 2 on the Billboard chart for much of the year behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” “Pyromania” sold more than 10 times platinum and the follow-up album “Hysteria” performed even better, with seven singles and selling more than 25 million albums. Iconic Def Leppard songs include “Photograph,” “Animal,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” “Rock of Ages” and “Foolin.’”

Def Leppard’s rapid success “caught us off guard,” Collen said.

“(Producer Robert John) Mutt Lane, when he was making the ‘Pyromania album,’ he had a clue to make it a bit different,” Collen said. “Just enough that it would take, hopefully.

“We looked different that other rock bands. We were more in line with Duran Duran. We were doing almost singalong pop things but they were still rock so there’s a lot of different kind of dynamics and elements that kind of propelled it all forward. The stars were lined up and MTV was there and boom, it seemed to just go, but it was a lot of hard work that went into it as well as with the next album.”

-Tim Parsons

  • G3 2018: Satriani, Petrucci, Collen
    When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13
    Where: Grand Sierra Resort
    Tickets: $35 to $75

  • 2018 G3 Tour featuring Joe Satriani, John Petrucci & Phil Collen itinerary
    January 11           The Moore Theatre                                        Seattle
    January 12           Historic Elsinore Theatre                               Salem, OR
    January 13           Grand Sierra Resort                                        Reno
    January 14           Fox Theater                                                        Oakland, CA
    January 16           Delta Hall at Eccles Theater                          Salt Lake City, UT
    January 17           Brooklyn Bowl                                                   Las Vegas
    January 18           Mesa Arts Center                                            Mesa, AZ
    January 19           Orpheum Theatre                                           Los Angeles
    January 20           Balboa Theatre                                                 San Diego, CA
    January 21           Fox Tucson Theatre                                        Tucson, AZ
    January 24           Historic Paramount Theatre                        Denver, CO
    January 25           Uptown Theater                                              Kansas City MO
    January 26           The Pavillion at The Toyota Music Factory   Irving, TX
    January 27           Austin City Limits – Moody Theater          Austin, TX
    January 28           Hobby Center for the Performing Arts   Houston, TX
    January 30           Hard Rock Live                                                   Orlando, FL
    January 31           Florida Theatre                                                 Jacksonville, FL
    February 1          Pompano Beach Amphitheatre                 Pompano Beach, FL
    February 2          Barbara B Mann Performing Arts Hall      Fort Myers, FL
    February 3          Mahaffey Theater                                           St. Petersberg, FL
    February 6          Raleigh Memorial Auditorium                     Raleigh, NC
    February 8          Toyota Presents Oakdale                             Wallingford, CT
    February 9          Landmark Theatre                                           Syracuse, NY
    February 10        Palace Theatre                                                  Albany, NY
    February 11        The Palace Theatre                                         Greensburg, PA
    February 12        The Fillmore Detroit                                        Detroit
    February 14        Warner Theatre                                                  Washington, DC
    February 15        Orpheum Theatre                                           Boston
    February 16        Beacon Theatre                                               New York
    February 17        Merriam Theater                                             Philadelphia
    February 18        New Jersey Performing Arts Center        Newark, NJ
    February 20        Auditorium Theatre                                        Rochester, NY
    February 21        Massey Hall                                                        Toronto
    February 22        Hard Rock Live                                                   Northfield, OH
    February 23        Chicago Theatre                                               Chicago
    February 24        State Theatre                                                    Minneapolis, MN
    February 25        Riverside Theater                                            Milwaukee, WI

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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