It has been a big week in guitar for this writer. 48 hours after seeing guitar great Steve Miller I found myself in the audience of Sammy Hager, Joe Satriani and Chickenfoot.
Unlike Miller, Chickenfoot had only one CD’s worth of music to build their set on. The catalog of the combined musicians would easily be 50 or so albums. Their 63 year old lead singer Sammy Hagar has 22 records to his credit alone.
Instead or pulling from the archives of Van Halen this self described “Jam Band” preformed arena tailored versions of the songs on their new CD.
They opened the show with track one from the CD “Avenida Revolution”. A Vanhagaresque solid rocker. Michael Anthony’s bass vamp at the end of the song was extended into a tasteful bass workout. A welcome departure from the over distorted, echo driven bass solos from the VanHalen days.
Anthony also seemed very relaxed and at home with the band. He had a grin painted across his face through the entire set. He obviously enjoys his new gig. Durring The Who’s “My Generation” Anthony beat on the bass like he was Chris Brown and the bass was Rihanna.
Hagar sang “The Who” classic better than I have heard Roger Daughtry sing the song in years. Hagar’s voice is still powerful and crisp with an incredible range. The “Red Rocker” also still has his guitar chops. Sammy dragged out a lap steel for an amazing slide blues solo. He closed the show by strapping on a red Gibson Les Paul followed by a red Gibson Explorer.
If Sammy Hager can kill a solo. His counterpart in the band Joe Satriani can kill the solo, resurrect it just to kill it’s zombie ghost.
I get the feeling that 50% of Monday night’s audience was from Boston’s famed Berklee College of Music. I have never seen more Fender, Gibson and Marshall tee shirts in one place. Those that were not wearing the aforementioned had on VanHalen garb or Berklee alumni “Dream Theater” shirts. As my friend Barry says “you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a guitar player”.
Satch was amazing! Absent was the standard 5 minute guitar solo. There was no need for it. We all know what Joe Satriani can do on his own; it was nice to see what he could do with a rock band.
Satch did not disappoint. His shredding was jaw dropping. Joe was flying through blues scales giving the audience an old school rock guitar. Still his playing was peppered with some of the strangest runs and coolest lick I have ever heard. Joe didn’t miss a note all night. That was until Red Hot Chili Pepper’s drummer Chad Smith hit Joe in the back of the head with a flying drum stick.
Chad Smith is a talented drummer and adds more to the live performance than he does the CD. That being said Chickenfoot needs to take away his microphone. Chad felt the need to announce his allegiance to the L.A. Lakers to the Boston audience.
This is nothing new for Bostonians. Plenty of musicians make their way through Boston venues wearing Lakers, Canadians and Yankees gear. Smith’s comments didn’t stir the audience enough so he had to take it one step further.
Smith decided to be a douche bag and announce he was late getting to the stage because Larry Bird was backstage blowing him. When he still didn’t get enough of a reaction he claimed it was Celtics superstar Kevin Garnett blowing him instead.
I wonder if Smith would say that to Garnett’s face? I think not.
What a stupid thing to say in front of 5,000 Celtics fans drinking beer. If the crowd started pelting Smith with beers who’s fault would it had been if the show went sour? Luckily the show continued without incident and we learnt two important things.
Boston audiences are classy and more mature than Chad Smith. Secondly Chad Smith welcomes the idea of a guy blowing him.
Chickenfoot is world class arena rock even though Chad Smith is a world class douche bag. I would not hesitate a second to see this band again.