Since its inception, the G3 Tour has thrilled guitar aficionados and casual fans. The list of guitar Gods that Joe Satriani has managed to pull together is incredibly impressive to say the least, and the tour’s latest incarnation only adds to the storied history of the tour. The tour stopped in Rochester NY for one of the final dates of their 2018 North American trek. The venue was the Rochester Auditorium Theatre, a storied concert hall that once hosted Buddy Holly.

The evening started with the longest tenured Def Leppard guitarist in Phil Collen. He is a guy who has existed in the shadows of a major arena rock act for decades. Collen culled his set from his critically acclaimed Delta Deep project, including vocals by Debbi Blackwell-Cook, whose appearances during Collen’s set and during the encores was a tremendous addition to the evening’s repertoire. In a stripped-down setting, one can appreciate Collen’s guitar prowess, but the best part of Collen’s set is seeing his subtle stylings on display without all the surrounding bombast. Collen is the consummate stage professional, and in the smaller setting he was also able to connect with fans on a level that no major arena rock act can. In short, he and his band set the evening in motion perfectly.

John Petrucci performed second, and his enthusiasm is infectious. While most of Petrucci’s work is dark and foreboding, he did include a delightful and frolicking version of “The Happy Song.” Petrucci’s fret wizardry is always a treat to watch, he makes it all look so easy. Despite the fact there was a triple bill, there was little time wasted changing out sets. Each artist were able to have their stage set, which really made the show feel really big, as it should.

Joe Satriani’s set is almost indescribable in its perfection. His solo shows run long, so it may be the fact that his show was slightly truncated that made it so powerful. Everyone knows Joe surrounds himself with prolific musicians, and he is an amazing guitar player to watch, but whoever designed his light show deserves an award, it was a work of perfection. The lights were perfectly timed and added to a great set of music. I wish every light show was as well thought out. Satriani included his signature songs “Satch Boogie and “Summer Song” along with  4 new tracks off of his recent release “What Happens Next” disc.

As far as the final jam, which many fans consider the pièce de ré·sis·tance, did not disappoint at all. On their coverversion of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” the guitar gods had a solid framework for each guitarist to display their prowess and ability to combine their diverse playing styles. It was loud, just as any live Deep Purple song should be. The next cover was of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” and the group’s take was unique. It was an interesting hybrid between the original and Stevie Ray Vaughn’s cover version. The full band really stretched out on the song. The evening ended with the blues masterpiece “Going Down.” It’s a song that has appeared on the tour before with different players.

The interplay between the guitarists was a joy to watch. The show took place on a Tuesday, which may have impacted attendance. It does not matter to any of the players whether the house is full or not, they put on a clinic on what a great guitar-driven show should look like. It’s a show that should be on your bucket list no matter which 3 you get with G3.

Phil Collen setlist:

Quadrant 4 (Billy Cobham cover)

Yo 2 Joe

Bless These Blues (Delta Deep song)

Burnt Sally (Delta Deep song)

Mistreated (Deep Purple cover)

Down in teh Delta (Delta Deep song)


John Petrucci setlist:

Wrath of the Amazons

Jaws of Life

The Happy Song

Damage Control

Glassy-Eyed Zombies

Glasgow Kiss (with Xanadu – Rush snippett)


Joe Satriani setlist:



Satch Boogie

Cherry Blossoms

Thunder High on the Mountain

Super Funky Badass



Always With Me, Always With You

Summer Song




Highway Star (Collen, Petrucci and Satraini -Deep Purple cover)

Superstition (Collen, Petrucci and Satraini -Stevie Wonder cover)

Going Down (Collen, Petrucci and Satraini -The Alabama State Troupers cover)


Photo Gallery

Photos by Dave Jones. We would like to thank Melissa Dragich Cordero and Michelle Gutenstein from Mad Ink PR for the credentials to review the show.



About The Author Thom Jennings

p> Born and raised in Rochester, NY and currently residing in Albion NY, Thom spent seventeen years as a mobile disc jockey, playing classic rock at local bars and also performing at weddings. Thom's first concert was Styx in 1979, and shortly afterward he landed a volunteer position taking surveys at all the local rock concerts from 1981-1983, during which he saw almost every major arena rock concert. Thom is an avid Todd Rundgren fan, and has traveled all over the east coast to see Todd. Since 1983 he has only missed one of Todd's east coast tours. His collection of Rundgren memorabilia includes two signed miniature replicas of and a signed ukulele. Currently, Thom's full time job is as a social studies teacher, he graduated from college in his late thirties and began a part-time career as an op-ed columnist which later led to his current position as music writer for The Lockport Union Sun and Journal and The Niagara Gazette. Thom has also had music related columns published in Buffalo Insider Magazine, The Medina Journal-Register, The North Tonawanda Times and is a frequent contributor to Backstage Axxess. Top Five Concerts: 1. Van Halen, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Kim Mitchell Rochester, NY September 1, 1986 2. The Who and The Clash Buffalo, NY September 26, 1982 3. Ringo's All Starr Band Canandaigua, NY August 25, 1992 4. Paul McCartney Toronto, ON August 8, 2010 5. SARS Benefit Concert Toronto, ON July 30, 2003 Multiple Shows (ten or more): Todd Rundgren /Utopia -109 Rik Emmett/Triumph- 27 Cheap Trick -18 Styx /Styx related bands- 15 Flogging Molly- 10 First concert: Styx, Rochester, NY November 8, 1979