Surfing In San Jose (CD) by Joe Satriani


This superb 1988 live recording catches guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Joe Satriani at the outset of an astonishing career that has seen him sell more than 10 million albums worldwide.• Although born in New York in 1956, it was in Berkeley, California, that Satriani began to make his musical mark, first in San Francisco band The Squares and later with the better-known West Coast pop combo the Greg Kihn Band in 1986. In addition to his role in these groups, Joe had already developed a burgeoning parallel career as a guitar tutor, coaching the likes of Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Steve Vai (David Lee Roth)and David Bryson (Counting Crows) amongst many others. In 1985, he had cut his debut solo album, 'Not of This Earth', which was released by Relativity Records the following year. The AllMusic Guide recommended the album heavily, enthusing that the "fluid playing and wicked licks are enough to drop jaws and widen eyes. There isn't a weak track on this disc".

Despite the fulsome praise, it was Joe's sophomore album, 'Surfing with the Alien' (October 1987) that really established his name and reputation as a rock guitarist of the highest order. Fast and furious numbers like Satch Boogie and the title track helped to epitomise 'shredding', a technique also favoured by musicians like Al Di Meola, John Petrucci, Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen. Both these tracks were also issued as singles and achieved Top 40 placings. Lending a welcome sense of depth to the album are slower, more melodic numbers like Always with Me, Always with You and Echo.

The album broke into the Billboard 200 at number29, and remained on the chart for a staggering 75 weeks; 'Surfing With The Alien' also had the distinction of becoming the first instrumental rock album to reach the Top 40 in the USA.• Satriani's performance this evening - broadcast live from the intimate Cabaret club in San Jose, just south ofSan Francisco - presents an exceedingly potent collection of material drawn almost exclusively from his first two studio albums. Originating on 'Not of This Earth' are remarkable live versions of Rubina, Memories andHordes of Locusts. 'Surfing with the Alien' is even more thoroughly mined - and there are awesome onstage workouts for no less than seven of the ten cuts: the title track, Ice 9, Always with Me, Always With You, Satch Boogie, Circles, Midnight and Echo. Unreleased at the time of this broadcast, The Crush Of Love isthe only non-album track featured; it eventually became the lead track on Joe's acclaimed and highl ysuccessful 'Dreaming #11' EP, released in November 1988.

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