Famed guitarist commands the CFA stage
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 23:10
You may only get one chance to witness greatness and a multi-Grammy Award-winning guitarist. For some music lovers, that chance came Tuesday night when Joe Satriani performed at UB.
Satriani has become one of the most well respected instrumental-rock guitarists in the world. On Tuesday night, the legendary artist illuminated the Center For the Arts (CFA) stage with his melodic and pentatonic scales and pig squeals bouncing off the walls, creating an arena-rock type of atmosphere.
His clean, smooth-sounding four-piece band played a solid show on the "Unstoppable Momentum" tour, taking the audience through a euphoric dream of metal, rock, jazz and funk with a sprinkle of country.
At 7:30 p.m., The Steve Morse Band provided a strong opening.
They performed from a plethora of genres – including country, jazz and rock – and captured the audience’s attention with a driving bass line, which contained the right amount of percussion to accompany the mixture of high-pitched notes.
But the deepest feeling of Morse’s set came when he switched to acoustic guitar and fingerpicked his way through the minds of the audience, reeling them into his performance.
By the time Morse had completed his set, he left the crowd wanting more.
Around 8:30 p.m., the lights went out. The stage was pitch black. The crowd rumbled with applause. They knew a guitar god was in their presence.
A man in all black, wearing sunglasses, emerged from the darkness with his signature orange Ibanez JS 1200. As soon as he played his first note, the crowd erupted with chants of “Let’s go, Joe” that reverberated throughout the CFA.
Satriani, who is known for his heavy rock and well thought-out guitar solos, sported all-black attire – jeans, boots and shirt – to match his black sunglasses.
His “Joe Cool” swagger, along with his harmonic ensemble, was impeccable.
For William T. Grady III of East Aurora, this was his first Satriani performance. His dad took him as a birthday present.
“I love Joe Satriani,” Grady said. “I love his style, and he’s a great musician. One of the best of all-time.”
Mike Kenneally, a former member of the Frank Zappa band, who played keyboard and guitar, complemented Satriani as the two exchanged guitar solos on stage.
But through the exchanged riffs were two men jamming out and enjoying the presence of one another’s musicianship.
An ongoing light show engulfed the background of the stage, surrounded the band and hypnotized the crowd as they bobbed their heads up and down in approval.
Satriani’s high energy on stage spread throughout the crowd as fans played air guitar and ripped their shirts off in excitement. The mood bounced from the audience to the stage, keeping spirits up all night.
“It looked like they were having a lot of fun out there,” said Rylan Skelly, a college student from Waterloo, Ontario. “[The band] did a lot of improv, which was inspiring to me. I’ve been coming down [to Buffalo] for concerts for the past five years with my dad. This is a great venue.”
After set concluded, the crowd’s uproar continued. As fans began to file out and head home for the night, Satriani returned to the stage for a two-song, roughly 20-minute encore. He played his popular hit “Crowd Chant,” and the CFA was vibrating with applause.
“I’ve seen him a bunch of times,” said Sean Gregory of Buffalo. “Yeah, he’s always good. He always comes out at the end of his sets.”
Satriani’s tour continues to Canada with a show tonight in Moncton, New Brunswick.
The next concert at the CFA will be Herbie Hancock on Wednesday, Oct. 9.