Is The New Satch-Vai Tour the Virtuoso Guitar Redemption Tour We've Been Waiting For?

Is The New Satch-Vai Tour the Virtuoso Guitar Redemption Tour We've Been Waiting For?

I was born in the early ‘80s, that means I’m a child of rage. Yes, I grew up disliking the hair metal and glam metal movements and embracing the punk-rocking simplicity and clever hooks of grunge songs.

I know I’m not the only one who walked down that lane.

By the time I was fourteen, though, I got the first G3 tour CD (yeap, I’m THAT old) and it absolutely blew my mind, changing forever the way I looked at guitars. Well, the driving force, the heart and soul of that record not only is on tour but has released a bombastic track with the promise of more new material.

Will this new gig by Satch and Vai bail us out from guitar-playing stagnation?

The Satch-Vai Tour, 50 Years in the Making

These virtuosos might need some introduction for those out there who didn’t live through the renaissance of electric guitar during the ‘70s and ‘80s.

To begin with, Joe Satriani met a young 12-year-old Steve Vai when he showed up at his house. He carried a stringless guitar and a pack of strings demanding guitar lessons. Something that Joe has imparted to more than one virtuoso guitar player. Examples are Kirk Hammett, Alex Skolnick, and Andy Timmons among others.

This was back in the ‘70s when none of them thought or dreamed about going around the world filling stadiums playing guitar.

Steve Vai went on to pursue a stellar music career. At the tender age of 18, he was the transcriptionist for Frank Zappa. Later, he became the guitarist who would play “impossible guitar” with him. He then joined David Lee Roth, and Whitesnake, and recorded with Mary J. Blige, Spinal Tap, Motorhead, Alice Cooper, and more.

Wait, he even played the devil in the epic final duel scene in “Crossroads”.

But beyond that, he cemented his reputation as one of the world’s most capable guitar players and certainly one of the most pyrotechnic of them all.

On the other corner of the ring, Mr. Joe Satriani is a 15-time Grammy Award nominee as well as a proud seller of over ten million copies of his albums. Yes, he’s the best-selling instrumental rock guitarist of all time. Oh, and while doing that he also toured with Mick Jagger, Deep Purple, Chickenfoot, and is the mastermind behind the G3 tour.

Despite all of that, the duo had never headlined a concert or a tour together outside of a G3. This tour joining two of the most gifted guitar players on our planet is history in the making that started with two teenagers crazy about guitars half a century ago.

New Music by The Virtuoso Duo

But the tour isn’t the only news we have. The duo got together to record music and released a joint single for the first time in their careers. I’m talking about the take-no-prisoners, almost six-minute-long “The Sea of Emotion Pt. 1” which came out on March 29th, 2024.

It features pyrotechnics as well as a crushing rock riff that could very well belong to an Ozzy song. It’s a heavy, guitar-driven tune that features as much guitar playing as they could fit in there.

But, contrary to what some sinister minds might think, these guitarists aren’t fighting for the pole position. On the contrary, the single has the same collaborative feeling the recordings of the G3 have. They’re pushing each other but in a friendly conversation rather than a discussion trying to speak over each other.

If you haven’t, I urge you to go take a listen at this ‘80s-meets-the-millennium guitar track that will have you headbanging for a while, I’m sure.

Where is Rock Guitar Heading?

An almost 40-date tour headlined by two guitar virtuosos that can fill places like the utterly prestigious Beacon Theatre in New York. A place reserved for bands the size of Radiohead, The Rolling Stones (who filmed their movie Shine a Light there), and very few others.

That, fifteen years ago, was unthinkable. Moreover, the fact that there is space in the airwaves (or streaming services, pardon my age) for virtuoso rock guitar playing is the return of an era we thought deceased.

Although rock music and guitar playing in particular never stopped existing, guitar sales went from 1.5 million in the year 2000 to 600 thousand in 2020. Yet, the pandemic changed that equation, and, by 2021, Sweetwater stated online sales rose dramatically to about a thousand guitars a day. That took the company to break the billion-dollar annual revenue mark for the first time in history.

Furthermore, if we break this information a little further, we find the pearl of hope lost in the ocean. To begin with, electric guitar sales in the USA rose by 15.2% in 2020 and acoustic sales went up 28.5% in the same year. But the key is that 40% of guitar buyers were first-time players.

Based on this phenomenon and the fact that the marquee of the Beacon will show, for the first time in history, two of the most famous electric guitarists in rock history, I can say that rock guitar is healthy, back on track, and stronger than ever.

The Time for Rock Guitar Is Here

With many bands making stellar comebacks such as Metallica, The Rolling Stones, Avenged Sevenfold, Vampire Weekend, Sonic Youth, Gary Clark, Pearl Jam, Ozzy, and The Black Keys, rock guitar is loud and proud pumping on many a stereo around the globe.

So, rock guitar has once again flooded the world with incredible records and amazing tones. Getting a hand at your six-stringer, dusting off that humbucker-equipped ax, or upgrading accessories on your forgotten best friend are all advisable since the time of rock guitar is here. Again.

The Bottom End

Joe Satriani and Steve Vai are responsible for what we call virtuoso rock guitar to reach the mainstream. Songs like “Summer Song” by Joe and “For the Love of God” by Steve are part of the musical DNA of a generation.
We trust the same brave knights to take rock guitar galloping into another decade of resonant success inspiring millions along the way.

Happy (virtuoso) playing!

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