Joe Satriani’s guitar heroics slay Vancouver, as do Mike Keneally’s

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PHOTO BY THE NEWT

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 20, 2013

By Steve Newton

Guitar freaks go to Joe Satriani concerts to hear the Bay Area musician speedily blast out approximately 1,365,398 notes in total, and make all of them sound perfect.

But Satriani’s ace in the hole—apart from a wicked rhythm-section composed of bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Marco Minnemann—is keyboardist-guitarist Mike Keneally, the former “stunt guitarist” and touring member in Frank Zappa’s band.

He’s six years younger than the 57-year-old Satch and, according to the All Music Guide, “the leading progressive-rock genius of the post-Zappa era”.

I wouldn’t doubt it.

At the Vogue Theatre last night Keneally’s superior talent was clearly evident, as he’d often leave his spot behind the keyboards at stage left and venture out with a green Strat to prove that he’s the polar opposite of a six-string slouch. His fierce and furious fretwork belied his average Joe appearance, which made you think of a high-school biology teacher who refuses to take his coat off.

He was particularly mindblowing while trading licks with Satriani during a guitar battle on the Grammy-nominated 1988 hit “The Crush of Love”.

The setlist focused on tracks from Satriani’s latest album, the typically exceptional Unstoppable Momentum, but also kept the fanboys happy with older gems like “Flying in a Blue Dream”, “Satch Boogie”, “Surfing WIth the Alien”, and the exquisite “Always WIth Me, Always with You”.

And there wasn’t one millisecond of singing.

Satch don’t need no stinkin’ vocals.

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