at The City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., October 21, 2010

It must be a daunting prospect for any guitarist to open for Joe Satriani, but Ireland’s Simon McBride pulled it off with his firey brand of Blues inspired Rock. Judging by the number of people who picked up his CD in the interval, he’s made many new fans along the way.

Prior to the tour, Joe Satriani chatted with Metal Express Radio and promised a set list featuring a fair few songs from his excellent new Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards album, along with songs he’s rarely (if ever) played live and sprinkled amongst the fan faves. True to his word, that is exactly what Satriani delivered to the packed Newcastle crowd over a show stretching almost to the two and a half hour mark.


Kicking off with “Ice 9” and the heavy duty “Hordes of Locusts”, fans saw Satriani digging deep into his early work before a dreamy “Flying in a Blue Dream” took the crowd to another level.

Satriani, decked out in his trademark shades, was clearly delighted with his new opus and featured no less than eight of the album’s eleven tracks with the likes of “Premonition” and “Pyrrhic Victoria” really hitting the mark. The former showed off the real spirit of Satriani with a truly addictive guitar melody, which precedes some ferocious riffing before heading into a devastating solo. A real Satriani classic of the future, “Pyrrhic Victoria” is a more laid back, almost ZZ Top-ish affair with a mid section that soars majestically in an almost orchestral fashion.

Some eyebrows have been raised at the diversity evident on the album, but it is just that diversity that makes the album work so well as a whole. On stage the material really comes to life, however, with an extra kick of energy and more punch in the overall sound.

“Wormhole Wizards,” another album highlight, drifted along in a trance-like state and combined with a simple, yet hugely effective light show featuring a blanket of multi-colored light bulbs as a back drop and fluorescent tubes suspended from the ceiling, was stunning.


What separates Satriani from other so called Guitar Heroes is that he’s not all about flashy tricks and technique. There are some seriously great melodies at play here and to perform instrumentals for over two hours and retain the interest of the audience is no easy feat, and Satriani pulled it off easily as each note was lapped up by the crowd.

There’s more to the show than just guitar work, however, as Satriani has yet again assembled a hugely talented band to play alongside him with long-time drummer Jeff Campitelli in particular being in astounding form.

The set was well-balanced with the more melodic fare such as the beautiful Blues of “Littleworth Lane” and the magical Spanish flavored “Andalusia” mixing with the foreboding riff heavy “War” and grandiose “Crystal Planet”.

satrianiClassics came thick and fast with the likes of “Satch Boogie,” “Always With Me, Always With You,” and “The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing” keeping everyone more than happy. The evergreen “Big Bad Moon,” the only song of the night to feature any vocals, was a knockout with its heavy riff and devastating guitar solo/harmonica solo/slide solo combination delivering the killer punch of the night.

Closing the show with the sing-along “Crowd Chant” and “Summer Song,” Joe Satriani left the City Hall crowd baying for more after they had witnessed an absolutely scintillating master class in musicianship and entertainment.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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