G3

G3 (Satriani/Vai/Malmsteen)

Live – Rockin’ In The Free World

Epic

Satriani, Vai and Malmsteen together on tour. If the thought of this line-up makes your inner guitar fiend drool, rush out and pick up this CD right now. If self-indulgent guitarists never rang your bell, then pass.

This 2-disc live performance from the G3 ’03 tour features these three phenomenal guitarists and their backing bands. (Malmsteen has replaced original G3 member Eric Johnson). Disc one contains a set from each of the artists, showcasing some of their better-known songs. Each plays as expected, with the requisite solos highlighting their unique styles. Among my favorites are Satriani’s classic “The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing,” Vai’s heavy-riffing “Reaping” and Malmsteen’s orchestral-inspired “Fugue.” These guys are at their best when focusing on their guitars and not on their vocal talents (or lack thereof). Satriani knows this, and refrains from singing. However, Vai’s “You’re Here” sounds too much like a 5150-era Van Halen single. Malmsteen’s emotionally charged lyrical rendition on Hendrix’s “Red House” tends to distract rather than add to the song.

Disc two features the real gem of the collection, all three guitarists getting together on stage for a jam session on “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” “Little Wing” and “Rockin’ in the Free World.” The interplay, between the guitarists and the crowd as well as each other, makes these tracks something special.

If you are a die-hard fan, or not at all interested in this style of music, then your mind is already made up about this album. However, if you’ve heard one or two tracks from any of these guitarists and have always been curious about them, Live • Rockin’ in the Free World is a perfect sampler for you to try out. But if you are just a casual fan, only the jam session will really be of interest to you.

Epic: www.epicrecords.com/

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