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It’s not often that a legendary guitarist comes to town to play your local theater.  It’s even more rare when three virtuoso's take the stage simultaneously.  Well, that is exactly what happened on Saturday night as Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, and Phil Collen joined forces for the 2018 G3 tour.  Distinguished musicians one and all, each brought to the stage their own unique sound that transcended time and space inside the beautiful Balboa Theater.  If you are a fan of incredible guitarists, there was no other place to be in San Diego on Saturday night. 

Kicking off Saturday’s show was Phil Collen.  He is most easily recognized as the lead guitarist of the legendary British Rock band, Def Leppard.  What most people do not know is that Phil is incredible musician in his own right.  On Saturday night, he took the stage with his most recent side-project, Delta Deep.  This eclectic quartet fronted by the brilliant vocalist Debbie Blackwell-Cook absolutely killed their six-song set and fired up the near-capacity crowd in San Diego’s Gas Lamp District.  They have found a perfect way to fuse blues, rock, and soul together, creating a sound literally touched one’s soul.   My favorite track of the evening was “Down in the Delta” off of their 2015 self-titled EP. Phil’s guitar work was nothing short of brilliant, and Debbie’s vocal range simply blew me away.  Incredible way to start this year’s G3 show.

Next up was guitar prodigy John Petrucci (of Dream Theater fame).  Probably one of my favorites of all time, Petrucci never ceases to amaze me with his God-given guitar talents.  John started off his set was a Hans Zimmer cover, “Wonder Woman’s Main Theme”.  The power that radiated from his signature Custom Ernie Ball Music Man was intense, and instantly whipped the crowd into a “guitar-induced” frenzy that would last the remainder of the evening.  Next up was “Jaws of Life” off Petrucci’s 2005 solo album, Suspended Animation.  If you have never listened to this song (or his solo EP for that matter), by all means make that a priority in the next few days.  Absolutely brilliant guitar work.  Overall, Petrucci’s six-song set was shorter than I would have liked, but as longtime fan felt he covered all the bases in the time he had to work with.  Another amazing performance by one of the best guitarists we may ever see in our lifetime.

Rounding off the G3 experience in San Diego on Saturday night was no other than guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani.  Although super familiar with his catalog, I had never had a chance to see him perform live and was excited to finally take his name off my “bucket-list” of performers I had yet to see.  After a brief intermission (and a well needed break to regain my senses), Satch finally took the stage.  First song out of the gate was a track entitled “Energy” off his 2018 release, What Happens Next.  I was literally blown away from the first note.  Satriani’ s sound was just so unique it literally took the game to a whole new level.  Next up was another new track, “Catbot”.  It was a funky sounding grove that tied together many of Joe’s signature sounds into a tight little package that will probably become an instant classic.  Satriani performed ten songs Saturday evening including classics such as “Satch Boogie” and “Always With Me, Always With You”. But the highlight of his set (and of the entire G3 show for that matter) was “Cherry Blossoms”.  This song was so beautiful and so touching it literally brought an immediate smile to my face (which remained there for the rest of the evening).  In my opinion, that’s what music is all about.

Upon conclusion of Satriani’ s set, Phil Collen, John Petrucci, and Joe Satriani made their way back to the stage for an all-star G3 jam for the ages.  This amazing group of musicians (along with Debbie Blackwell-Cook on vocals) covered Deep Purple’s “Highway Star”, Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious”, and “Goin’ Down” by The Alabama State Troupers.  It was so fun to watch this trio together on stage after seeing them each perform individually throughout the evening.  Their ability to play and improv with one another was just another indicator of how talented these musicians truly are.  If you have a chance to see G3 on tour this year, you won’t be disappointed.  Each brings to the table a unique guitar talent that is multiplied 10-fold when they jam together on stage.  All I can say after 3 hours of mind-blowing guitar wizardry, all I can is… “Wow!”   Until Next Time,

Stay Frosty and Rock On!


Delta Deep Setlist

Quadrant 4

Yo 2 Joe

Bless These Blues

GTR Into / Burnt Sally

Mistreated (Deep Purple cover)

Down in the Delta


John Petrucci Setlist

Wonder Woman Main Theme (Hans Zimmer cover)

Jaws of Life

The Happy Song (formerly Cloud Ten)

Damage Control

Glassy-Eyed Zombies

Glasgow Kiss


Joe Satriani Setlist



Satch Boogie

Cherry Blossoms

Thunder High on the Mountain

Super Funky Badass


Head Rush


Always With Me, Always With You

Summer Song


G3 Jam with Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, & Phil Collen

Highway Star (Deep Purple Cover)

Superstitious (Stevie Wonder Cover)


Goin’ Down (The Alabama State Troupers Cover)


Matthew Belter

Executive Editor - Long Beach

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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