King’s X/Joe Satriani/Dream Theater @ The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles CA 08/10/02
Talk about mind blowing combinations. One of my favorite metal groups and one of my favorite instrumental rock guitarists had joined forces for a summer tour. My brother and I, along with Dbfield made the trek to LA from the Central Valley. We were on summer break from college at the time. Dream Theater had released a very ambitious 2 Disc release, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, and Joe Satriani had released yet another offering of guitar wizardry that was more in keeping with Crystal Planet, rather than the mostly electronic Engines of Creation. In college I had spun Engines of Creation heavily, as well as Dream Theater’s Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. I have fond memories of breaking from studying on the weekends, venturing down to Subway for a bite and playing Disc 2 of Six Degrees LOUDLY. Unfortunately I only had minimal exposure to King’s X, having borrowed the Best Of disc from Dbfield. I wasn’t very impressed upon first listen.
Fast forward to the show which took place at LA’s Greek Theatre near Griffith Park. It was a perfect day for a show. It was comfortable and clear day, the sun hadn’t set yet. We arrived and braved the stacked parking. An older guy drove up in a pick up truck, turned off the ignition and exclaimed to no one in particular “We’re here, man!” Hell yes we were. We grabbed our seats in the middle/Loge section of the venue. The Greek was filling up, it was cool to see so many people coming out to support this type of music – musician’s music as I like to think of it. There’s definitely a niche for it with a very loyal fan-base. King’s X took the stage and a brief set of rockin,’ soulful grunge flew over in 30 minutes. I have to be honest, I knew of this group but had no interest in them. Rather ignorantly I dismissed them as a boring jam band, but I did like Doug Pinnick’s work on the Dream Theater track “Lines in the Sand.” “Over My Head,” “Moanjam” and I think “Dogman” were performed to respectful but lukewarm response. It wasn’t until the devastatingly awesome rendition of “Cigarettes” that the audience woke up and wondered “who the hell are these guys?” That song was KILLER. It delicately grooved into existence, picked up momentum and power…and those soulful vocals by Doug Pinnick, damn it sounded cool. But it was Ty Tabor’s guitar solo that reeled us in. Joe Satriani and John Petrucci may be untouchable shred masters, but it was Ty Tabor that had the solo of the night, I kid you not. The solo was passionate, ripping, dynamic, and perfect. At solo’s end the crowd cheered in recognition of Tabor’s awesomeness and let out this “whoooa” in unison. My brother said “who the f*ck is that!?” I can’t remember the entire set for the life of me, but it was something like the following:
Over My Head
We Were Born To Be Loved
I think It’s Love may have been played but I can’t be sure
After being won over by by King’s X, DT took the stage to a very warm response. The set began in lackluster fashion for me with “New Millenium,” which then kicked into the classic “6 o’ Clock.” “Surrounded” and “The Great Debate” followed which were played effortlessly, but the song choices left me somewhat disappointed. However this was my first time hearing “Surrounded” live out of maybe 6 dates since 1998, so witnessing the song live was cool. It wasn’t until the bitchin’ “Instrumedley” that I was floored. That thing was monstrous and superb. The band played segments of The Dance of Eternity, Metropolis Part I, Erotomania, Ytse Jam, A Change of Seasons, Universal Mind, Paradigm Shift and Hell’s Kitchen. The crowd went bonkers. That medley slayed the DT heads and the Satriani heads alike, it was insane. You must check out the rendition found on the Live at Budokon DVD, it’s just as sick. DT’s set continued with a rare duet: Pinnick from King’s X joined DT for a performance of “Lines in the Sand” and it sounded pretty good, although it was chopped down quite a bit due to time constraints. The set continued with two ballads until finally ending with “Learning To Live.” DT received a standing ovation. I think DT definitely gained some new fans on this tour. They definitely gained a lot of respect from the Satriani fans. Great performance, just wish they had selected different songs.
6 o’ Clock
The Great Debate
The Spirit Carries On
Learning to Live
Joe’s set began. And I’m sure that I’m in danger of having crap thrown at me, but I have to say that Joe’s set was tiring…very tiring. I don’t know if it’s because the previous two groups wore me out, or if it was Joe’s selection of songs, but the set seemed to drag. The show and the performance itself were great, no question. But damn, I found myself wanting to hit the road when “Summer Song” began. In fact, we exited before the group kicked into “Friends.” Matt Bisonnette played bass during this tour instead of Stu Hamm. What’s interesting is that two years later while working at a SoCal Guitar Center I would go on to have a couple telephone conversations with the man regarding gear. That was awesome beyond words. We even chatted about the Yellow Matter Custard project. Wish I could have met Matt in person. Regarding the show…I love Satriani, I love quality instrumental music. Curse anyone that says a song without words is not a song – that’s bullshit. Like Eddie Van Halen once said, Beethoven would have kicked your ass. Anyways, while I support Joe and thoroughly love his music, I simply found the set to be too much for me. I absolutely LOVED the set depicted on the Live at the Fillmore DVD filmed during the Engines of Creation Tour, that’s an awesome DVD. Go see him live if you get the chance, it’s an experience that can’t be missed. Just make sure you have decent stamina 🙂 I was able to take some great things away from this show. I was able to see my heroes live again, and I formed a deep appreciation for King’s X. Music like this needs and deserves more support.
Flying in a Blue Dream
The Crush of Love
Always with Me, Always with You
Raspberry Jam Delta-V
The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing