Meeting with the Alien: hangin’ with Joe Satriani backstage in Vancouver

By Steve Newton

Went and saw Joe Satriani at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver last night, and holy crap was he smokin’! I must have seen Satch live around 10 times over the years–including on various G3 tours–and I don’t think he’s ever played better.

Having such a wicked backing band–guitarist-keyboardist Mike Kenneally, bassist Bryan Beller, and new drummer Joe Travers–didn’t hurt, of course.

There was a meet ‘n’ greet before the show, where hardcore fans paid $150 or $200 for a chance to meet Joe, get autographs and a photo with him, and take a backstage tour of his gear. My nephew Jeff and I got complimentary access, because I’d interviewed Satriani–for the eighth time–in advance of the gig. (Sadly, we didn’t get any of those cool laminated passes or signature guitar picks the paying customers scored. Guess you can’t get everything for free.)

When it was our turn to meet Satch, I got him to autograph a couple of my fave CDs of his, Surfing With the Alien and The Extremist, and Jeff got his John Henry on a vinyl copy of Shockwave Supernova (suitable for framing). When it came time for the photo, the guy taking it offered to hold the white What Happens Next Tour t-shirt I’d just bought and draped over my shoulder, but I passed on the idea, so now it looks like I’m Joe’s boxing coach, ready to throw in the towel if he gets in trouble during one of his more technically challenging solos or some dumb thing.

Anyway, he did point towards me and not the other guy, so there’s that.




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