G3 2018 Starring Joe Satriani, John Petrucci & Phil Collen
Guitar superstar JOE SATRIANI brings the 2018 incarnation of his massively popular G3 tour to the Fox Stage!
The guitar icon welcomes Dream Theater’s John Petrucci and Def Leppard’s Phil Collen to his action-packed celebration of guitar wizardry!
John Petrucci has a long history with G3 – the Dream Theater founder and guitar virtuoso made his maiden voyage on the tour in 2001, and the 2018 trek will mark his seventh appearance on the bill. 2018 will see Phil Collen making his debut as a G3er. The venerable guitarist joined Def Leppard in 1982 and has been a key part of their worldwide multi-platinum success story, but he’s rarely stepped out as a solo axeman in his own right.
Satriani had a hunch that an action-packed night of guitar wizardy could be a touring behemoth back in 1995 when he initially hatched the plan to hit the road with some of his six-string comrades. At first, he envisioned something along the lines of Lollapalooza with a lineup featuring a dozen or more guitarists. “I quickly realized that wasn’t the way to go,” he says. “Each guitarist would only get to do a few songs. I wanted everybody to be able to do a proper set, and then we’ll all jam together for the finale.” Then he seized upon a concept much like the Three Tenors (Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras) but one that would pool the unique talents of three guitarists. “So there it was: “Three guitarists – G3,” he says, “That idea felt really right to me. It was streamlined and easy to understand, and I knew I could still offer people a night of unique talents.”
The guitarist admits that when he first tried to sell promoters on his idea, the response was less than enthusiastic. “They didn’t seem to get it,” he recalls. “Maybe it’s because it was so new and crazy and that nobody had tried such a thing before. But I like my crazy ideas – that’s how I have a career.” Undaunted, Satriani called upon old pals Steve Vai and Eric Johnson – the first and only guitarists he considered for the debut of G3 – and they signed on immediately. And then something funny happened: The minute tickets went on sale – boom! – the dates sold out in a flash. “That was so gratifying,” Satch says. “Sometimes you just have to go out there and prove that something can work. I always had this funny feeling that it would.”
The first G3 tour of 1996 was a smash, and Satriani knew that he had a juggernaut on his hands. So did promoters, who begged for a return. For the next run a year later, Satch again teamed with Vai, but he added two wildcards – modern blues star Kenny Wayne Shepherd and progressive-rock icon Robert Fripp. “This was the first and only time G3 had four guitarists on a bill,” he notes. On paper, a lineup that featured two such disparate talents of Shepherd and Fripp might look odd, but Satriani explains that he had a method to his madness. “I was really curious to see what those two guys might do together, especially on the end-of-the-show jam. But Robert has a deep connection to the blues, so when he joined me and Steve and Kenny on ‘Little Wing’ and “I’m Going Down,’ he was incredible. The whole thing was electrifying.”
After 1997, Satriani began to take G3 wide – hitting Europe twice with lineups that included the likes of Adrian Legg, Michael Schenker and Uli Jon Roth; storming South America with Vai and Fripp; Japan with Vai, Petrucci and an unbilled Marty Friedman (the former Megadeth guitarist is a superstar in that country); and even New Zealand with Steve Lukather going up against the mighty Satch and Vai. By now, G3 was an established concert draw, selling out seats as fast as tickets went on sale, no matter what region of the globe the tour hit. For Satriani, one of the most rewarding aspects to G3 is how it helps expose certain guitarists to new and different audiences. He makes it a point that each bill offers a wide variety of styles and talents.