Schenker Shines Again In His Latest Live Recording

Courtesy: Inakustik

Courtesy: Inakustik

Later this month, Inakustik will release veteran guitarist Michael Schenker’s latest live recording in the form of Michael Schenker Fest.  The nearly two-hour concert, filmed August 24, 2016 at the Tokyo International Forum Hall, is a welcome addition to the music library of any Michael Schenker fan, from casual fans to the most devout fans.  That is due in no small part to the concert’s 18-song set list.  This will be discussed shortly.  Schenker’s performance and that of his fellow musicians is just as important to note as the show’s set list in examining the concert’s presentation.  The concert’s collective production values (I.E. its cinematography and audio mix) round out its most important elements.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the recording’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Michael Schenker Fest a must see for any Michael Schenker fan.

Inakustik’s new Michael Schenker live recording Michael Schenker Fest is a must see for any of the veteran guitarist’s fans.  From the casual fan to the true devotee, this concert offers audiences plenty to appreciate, beginning with the concert’s extensive 18-song set list.  Audiences will be pleased to learn that the concert’s set list is anything but specific in its song choices.  It pulls songs from Schenker’s time with UFO, Scorpions, Michael Schenker Group, Temple of Rock and McAuley Schenker Group.  While the set list pulls from pretty much every era of Schenker’s career to date, Schenker’s early work with the Michael Schenker Group is most prevalent.  More specifically speaking, the group’s self-titled 1980 debut record receives the most representation with four songs pulled from that record.  The band’s 1981 album MSG and its 2009 re-issue are just as heavily represented with four more songs.  From there, the songs vary from one part of Schenker’s career to another.  The end result is a vivid picture of Schenker’s career so far.  To that end, the concert’s extensive set list shows why it is so important to the concert’s overall presentation.  It is just one key piece of the concert’s presentation, too.  Schenker’s performance, and that of his fellow musicians, is just as important to note as the concert’s set list in examining the concert’s overall presentation.

The extensive 18-song set list that makes up the body of Michael Schenker Fest is in its own right an important piece of the concert’s presentation.  That is because it lifts from every era of the veteran guitarist’s career so far.  Schenker and company keep audiences’ adrenaline flowing from open to end of the 118-minute concert thanks to their collective performance.  From Schenker’s powerhouse guitar work to the equally energetic performances of vocalists Graham Bonnett, Gary Barden and Robin McAuley to Ted McKenna’s solid time keeping, bassist Chris Glenn and guitarist Steve Mann’s work on guitar and keyboards, the whole of this group of performers keeps audiences entertained.  Audiences at home will find themselves on their feet just as easily as those who were in attendance at the concert’s recording.  While it’s something minor and subtle, audiences will be just as interested to learn that there’s not a single bit of foul language to be heard anywhere throughout the course of the concert.  Some might be surprised to think about this.  But the reality is that a lack of foul language in a live recording is rare.  So for such language to be wholly absent here is a huge positive.  It means that the concert is not only entertaining but also family friendly.  Keeping all of this in mind, it becomes clear why the performance presented here is just as important as the concert’s set list.  Even as important as it proves to be, it is just one more of a number of positives that can be examined, including the concert’s collective production values.

The set list and performance presented in Michael Schenker Fest are both key portions of the concert’s overall presentation.  That is because of how much they do to entertain audiences and keep them engaged from beginning to end.  While both elements are clearly important to the concert’s whole, they are only part of what makes the concert so enjoyable for Schenker’s fans.  The concert’s collective production values (I.E. its cinematography and audio engineering) are just as important to examine as the show’s set list and performance.  The cinematography is so impressive thanks to its ability to so expertly capture the concert’s energy.  From head-on shots from the crowd to footage of the show from the stage and so many angles in-between, the concert’s camera crew is to be commended for its work capturing this concert.  Of course, those behind the concert’s editing should be commended just as much as the concert’s camera crew for capturing and presenting that energy.  The same applies in the teamwork of the concert’s audio engineers and those who mixed the concert’s audio in post production.  The Tokyo Forum Hall is clearly a large, open venue.  Yet the concert’s audio engineers and mixers just as expertly balanced the audio.  The end result of their work is that no one musician’s part ever overpowers the others or gets lost in the crowd noise and the depth of the venue.  Thanks to the combined efforts of the concert’s production crew and those that handled those elements in post production, the end result is a concert experience that is just as enjoyable on screen as it must have been in person if not more so.  When this is taken into consideration along with the concert’s set list and the musicians’ performances, the whole of these elements makes the concert an experience that, once more, the most casual to the most devout Michael Schenker fans will enjoy equally.

Michael Schenker Fest is a work that any Michael Schenker fan will appreciate.  From casual fans to the true devotees, there is plenty for every fan to enjoy.  That includes an extensive set list that spans the breadth of Schenker’s career, a performance that the whole family can enjoy together, production values that make the concert just as enjoyable on screen as in person and so much more.  The concert recording will be available in stores and online on Friday, March 24 via Inakustik.  It will be released on standalone 2CD, DVD, LP, Blu-ray and 2CD/DVD combo pack as well as digital platforms.  Audiences can see a trailer for this new recording online now at http://bit.ly/2j8vwL0.  More information on Michael Schenker Fest is available online now along with all of Michael Schenker’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.michaelschenkerhimself.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MichaelSchenkerRocks

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MW_Schenker

 

 

 

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Rock on the Range Expands For 2013

Courtesy: MSO PR/Ashton-Magnuson Media

Organizers of the annual Rock on the Range music festival have made a big announcement.  The festival will expand in 2013.  The festival has typically been a two day event.  Next year, it will expand, adding one more day.  Organizers have announced that the festival will be a weekend long event, running from Friday, May 17th to Sunday, May 20th.  The festival will remain at the Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH. 

The official lineup for next year’s festival is still being firmed up at this time.  However, reports hint that some new very big name acts have been added to next year’s festival.  Pre-sale tickets for Weekend Field and Weekend Stadium will go on sale next Monday at 10am.  VIP packages, Hotel and ticket bundles, and Campaign packages will also be available.  They will be available beginning next Thursday, November 29th 10am.  Information on all packages as well as general admission ticket pre-sales is available online at http://www.rockontherange.com.  Fans can also keep up with all the latest news announcements regarding next year’s festival at http://www.rockontherange, and on the festivals’ official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/rockontherange and via Twitter at http://twitter.com/rockontherange

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LOG Frontman Blythe Freed, Band To Perform At Knotfest

The news has already spread throughout the music world.  Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe has been released from a jail in the Czech Republic.  As a result of Blythe’s release, Lamb of God has been confirmed for the upcoming Knotfest August 17th and 18th. 

Knotfest will perform Council Bluffs, IA on the 17th and Somerset, WI/Minneapolis, MN on the 18th.  Organizers of the Knotfest commented on this breaking news saying, “We are honored to present Lamb of God and thrilled to learn that Randy will be onstage for what is sure to be an amazing moment at Knotfest.” 

Also scheduled to perform at Knotfest are:  Deftones, Machine Head, Serj Tankian, Cannibal Corpse, The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Urge, Prong, Gojira, and a whole lot more.

Information on tickets for Knotfest is available online at http://ticketmaster.com/KNOTFEST-tickets/artist/1741056.  and for information on VIP packages for Knotfest, go to http://vipnation.com/programs/knotfest-2012.  For more information on Knotfest, go to http://www.knotfest.com.

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Gwar To Tour This Fall

 

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Gwar is returning to the road this Fall.  The intergalactic metal mutants will take to the road along with Devildriver and Cancer Bats for the Fate or Chaos Tour.  The tour will kick off October 12th at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania alongside Devildriver, Cancer Bats and Legacy of Disorder.  Cancer Bats addition to the tour follows its recent string of U.S. dates with Demon Hunter.  The band is touring in support of its new album, “Dead Set on Living.” The Fate or Chaos tour stretches thirty-four dates across the country, including a date at Amos’ in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 22nd.  Fans can get a full list of Gwar’s tour dates online at http://www.gwar.net, http://www.facebook.com/gwar, http://www.myspace.com/gwarofficial, http://www.gwarjapan.net and http://www.youtube.com/gwar.

More information on Cancer Bats is available online at http://www.facebook.com/cancerbats and http://twitter.com/cancerbats.

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Slipknot “{sic}” As Ever On Download Blu-Ray Re-Issue

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Roadrunner Records

When the nine-man metal machine that is Slipknot released its self-titled debut album thirteen years ago, this musical monster instantly became one of metal’s biggest names.  In the years since that album’s release, Slipknot has maintained its spot as one of metal’s elite.  Its albums have gone multi-platinum.  And its last real concert DVD, “Disasterpieces” (2002) was a mega hit in its own right.  2006’s “Voliminal” was more a documentary than a concert DVD.  So it doesn’t count.  Now, Slipknot has a brand new live blu-ray re-issue of its 2010 DVD,” {sic}nesses:  Live at Download” due out next week.  This blu-ray is an excellent introduction to the legendary intensity that is a live Slipknot show for the uninitiated.  And for longtime members of the Maggot Corps who might not have been able to pick up the DVD a couple years ago, it’s a welcome new live release from the band.

“{sic}nesses:  Live at Download” is one more absolutely amazing live show from Slipknot.  It has all the intensity of the band’s show from “Disasterpieces.”  The only real difference is that unlike in “Disasterpieces”, fans don’t get to see the show from the POV of the band this time.  That’s not an entirely bad thing, though.  Having already done it once, would have meant wearing it out had they done that again.  However, the same energy felt in that show was felt this time, too.  It just came from the vantage point of the people behind the scenes, recording the show.  The people behind the scenes are to be commended, too.  They caught every bit of energy from both the stage and the audience of 80,000 concert goers and translated it expertly for people watching the show from home. 

The band’s Download set lasted roughly an hour and a half.  The band barely let up throughout that near ninety minute performance.  Even when it moved into the likes of ‘Dead Memories’, the energy was still there.  Every pit was in full motion the entire night.  And every person there was singing every word to every song.  Flags flew in the crowds representing no fewer than ten different nations.  It is simply a performance to behold.  As noted already, whether a new fan or a longtime member of the Maggot Corps, this brand new live release from one of metal’s top acts is top notch.  Perhaps the only down side to the entire thing would be the tour documentary included as a bonus feature.  Tour documentaries are really nothing new to any band’s live releases.  But it takes nothing away from the concert, which is why fans will pick up this release.  Viewer discretion should be exercised with this release as there is explicit language and nudity.

“{sic}nesses:  Live at Download” will be available next Tuesday, July 31st.  It will be available in stores and online.  It can be ordered online at http://www.eagle-rock.com/product/EVB334239/%28Sic%29nesses+Live+at+Download.

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Boys Like Girls Announce U.S. Tour With The All American Rejects

Pop rock band Boys Like Girls has announced that it will hit the road this Summer, and it’s bringing The All American Rejects along for the ride.  The tour is in support of the upcoming new release from Boys Like Girls, “Crazy World.”  “Crazy World” is expected to be released this Fall via Columbia Records.  While fans wait for the new album, they can download a three-track EP by the same name from iTunes.  The EP can be downloaded here: http://smarturl.it/crazyworldep.  It has the songs, ‘Be Your Everything’, ‘Life of The Party’, and ‘The First Time.’  All three tracks are from the upcoming full length “Crazy World” LP.  

The band has released the official lyric video for the album’s lead single, ‘Be Your Everything.’  Audiences can check it out now, at http://youtu.be/UttOVBD-Rvw.  BLG front man Martin Johnson explained the song, saying, “This song is about the moment when it becomes okay to say, I love you.”

The band’s tour kicks off Thursday, September 13th at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.  Fans in North Carolina will get the chance to see BLG and The All American Rejects when they make a stop at the famed Charlotte, NC club, Amo’s on Tuesday, september 25th.  The band currently has announced nineteen dates so far, with more to come.  Fans can get all the latest tour dates, news, and more from Boys Like Girls at http://www.facebook.com/boyslikegirls, http://twitter.com/#!/BoysLikeGirls, and on its official YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/user/BoysLikeGirlsVEVO

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Legendary Live Hendrix Show Is Among 2012’s Best Live Recordings

Courtesy: Sony legacy

The 1960’s and 1970’s were without a doubt two of the most turbulent eras in America’s history.  They were eras of political and social unres.  By contast, they were also eras that created some of the greatest music in the country’s history, too.  One of the greatest names in music in those days was a young man from Seattle, Washington by the name of Jimi Hendrix.  His music epitomized the free expression of the time.  It also captured the tensions of the times.  Nowhere was this more evident than at his performance at the Berkeley Community Theater in Berkeley, California on Memorial Day, 1970.

The two concerts held that day were among the most important and impressive of Hendrix’s career.  The footage of the unrest right outside the theater as Hendrix played was a complete juxtaposition of the vibe of togetherness inside the theater.  His music became an escape for those in attendance as conflict brewed outside.  That both shows sold out that day showed Hendrix’s influence; his ability to join people together for peace, love, and music, despite all the problems of the world.  Just over forty-two years have passed since his performances that day.  That the original footage from those shows has lasted so long is simply incredible.  And thank goodness it did.  It captured an important momtn both in music history and American history.  Because it has been so well preserved, music lovers the world over can re-live these two shows on CD, DVD, Blu-ray, and even on double disc 200 gram vinyl.

Courtesy: Sony Legacy

The brand new release, “Jimi Plays Berkeley” is part of a bigger collection celebrating what would have been his 70th birthday later this year.  If Jimi were alive today, it would have been one heck of a gift to him.  Instead, it’s a gift to fans of his music, and music lovers in general.  Being that over four decades have passed since these shows were originally recorded, audiences will be amazed at thequality of the video and audio transfer.  Reading the included story of the journey made by the footage adds to the appreciation of the performances.

Those who pick up the blu-ray presentation of “Jimi Plays Berkeley” get more than just one amazing concert, speaking of footage.  Included in the blu-ray set is the second set that is also available in CD only format.  This is a big bonus for audiences.  It allows them to choose whether they want the CD, the blu-ray, or even both.  Even if fans pick up the DVD, they are still getting a performance that is not only one of 2012’s best live recordings, but also one of music’s greatest live shows.  “Jimi Plays Berkeley” is available now in stores and at most online retailers.

Courtesy: Sony Legacy

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The “Dream” Is Alive For Belle Histoire

Courtesy: InVogue Records

Cincinnati, Ohio based Bell Histoire has officially seen its “dream” come true.  The band’s debut album, “Dreamers”, is a solid first impression on audiences.  Singer/keyboardist Jane Smith comes across in a sort of Avril Lavigne style on the album’s closer, ‘Don’t Run Away.’  She seemingly sings about a relationship on this song, “Oh I don’t know/what you do/well I just want you to feel the way I do/We, oh we/are standing in the middle/of a dream/dream with me, oh dream with me.  The standard lyrical content aside, what makes this song a good opener is that it has that strong up-tempo “poppy” vibe that will really grab listeners by the ear, and get their attention.

The band keeps that “poppy” vibe going on the album’s second song, ‘Everyday.’  Fans of Jimmy Eat World will like this one, as it seems to bear quite the musical influence from said band.  Smith again tackles the relationship topic here, singing, “we’ve only got each other now/and we can depend on the sun to come up/everyday, oh everyday/so please tell me does it matter anyway. 

“Dreamers” does venture outside the realm of relationship based songs.  ‘Kids’ offers encouragement to those younger audiences who may feel like social outcasts for one reason or another.  Smith sings to the band’s up-tempo backing, “We are, we are, we are/standing up and singing our songs/you are, you are, you are/everything that makes us who we are/don’t you ever change/cause you are the reason/we feel like we belong.”  It comes across as a very empowering anthem that is destined to become not just a hit, but the band’s biggest hit.  Smith’s vocals, mixed with the song’s music bring up a great general effect.  It’s really THE highlight of the album.

Whether for ‘Kids’ or any of the other songs throughout “Dreamers”, the entire album has such a strong pop sensibility that it would be no surprise that with the right backing, this band could easily find itself all over mainstream pop radio and even VH1’s Top 20 Countdown in the near future.  That is if it isn’t already.  The band will tour in support of its new album next month, beginning with a performance at Peabody’s in Cleveland, Ohio.  It will be joined by Chiodos at that show.  Fans can get a full list of tour dates, news and more from the band online at http://www.bellehistoiremusic.com, http://www.facebook.com/bellehistoiremusic, http://twitter.com/bellehistoireKY, and http://www.youtube.com/bellehistoiremusic.

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Dream Theater discusses the ups and downs of life on the road

Good morning, everyone.  I hope that your week is going well so far.  I think I’m actually catching up on all these reviews that I’ve got.  Though my desk at home would make me think otherwise.  But I digress.  Dream Theater recently sat down for an interview about life on the road.  And thanks to my contacts, I’m happy to be able to share that interview with you this morning in its entirety.  So while you’re downing that morning cup of coffee , why not check out this brand new interview? 

1. How do you navigate the challenge of keeping in touch with loved ones while traveling?

John Petrucci (Guitar and Vocals):  While international data plans on cell phones and Wi-Fi access just about everywhere have made this a lot easier than it was 10 years ago, it can still be difficult. It’s especially hard when the time zone I’m in is so off from New York, like Asia or Australia for example. Being flipped around by 180 degrees is confusing for everyone! Sometimes a quick text or FB message just to connect can be just the thing to bridge the gap between phone calls or Skype sessions. Obviously the best thing is when my family joins me on tour!

Jordan Rudess (Keyboards and Continuum): I try every form of communication tool available. Been through Treos, Blackberrys  iPhones, Ipads, Nooks–tablets of all shapes and sizes and computers–all for the purpose of connecting with the loved ones. There is not an app or communication software that has gone untouched by these hands.

Jon Myung (Bass): I pretty much have Skype running on my laptop when stationary and either leave a voicemail or e-mail before my kids go to bed for the night.

Mike Mangini (Drums):  The way that I navigate keeping in touch with loved ones while I am on the road is to carefully time when I use Skype to speak with my wife and kids while putting off other emails and Internet-related things for downtime.

 

2. Do you unpack or live out of your suitcase on the road?

JP: With the exception of setting up my computer and devices each day, I find that it’s best not to spread out too much and to keep things in the suitcase. This way there is less of a chance of leaving something behind.

JR:  Usually it is pretty much right outta the suitcase!!

JM: Definitely live out of my suitcase, it’s like a personal locker.

MM: I have learned not to unpack my suitcase and to never put things in the drawers or closets for fear of forgetting items (again).

 

3. On a day off in a city, what do you do with your time? How do you find out which restaurants to go to?

JP: The first thing I do is find a gym and get a good workout in. I also find that I can usually fit in a healthy practice or writing session. The privacy of a hotel room coupled with the occasional jet lag makes for a very creative headspace! Honestly, sometimes it’s great to just relax and catch up on some TV shows or watch a movie. There are amazing restaurants all around the world and usually we communicate with one another as to which cool spot someone may have stumbled upon in town. Sometimes just a quick e-mail to say that the room service is good works as well!

JR:  I try to do a walk in every town I get to. It’s really important to me that I get out in the light because otherwise I feel trapped and start getting this weird dark feeling! As far as restaurants, I usually ask the concierge at the hotel or just walk until I feel the vibe.

JM: I usually ask around for a good place locally or sometime venture out by foot and see where I land; the rest of the time it’s getting quality sleep.

MM: When I have a day off in a city, I normally stay in the room to eat, sleep and catch up on emails and news. That has changed as I’ve gotten my golf game back. Now I look to play golf when it is possible…Dinner usually entails meeting up with a band or crew members. The iPad comes in handy for finding restaurants, but personal recommendations are the way to go.

 

4.  Have you ever had a rough time going through customs?

JP: It’s sort of hit or miss. Usually things go pretty smoothly with no questions asked. Other times, however, seemingly for no reason, they will pull you aside and go through every bag in detail. It’s a real pain and when you’re traveling with a group of 20 or more people–it becomes a major inconvenience!

JR: It’s always interesting. There is the time the Pirate tried smuggling in some bananas, but I’ll let him tell you about that if he likes.

JM: In general it goes smoothly–no real complaints from me.

MM:  I have been harassed by customs agents three times after i told them that I was a musician each time. One agent told me that his son was a musician and that “all musicians do drugs.”  I did everything to bite my tongue and not ask him if he arrested his son since “all musicians do drugs.” 

 

5. Is there one item that you always bring on tour to remind you of home?

JP: It’s difficult being away from my home, wife and kids. Everything reminds me of them! I do have hundreds of pictures in my photo library on my phone and computer that I constantly scroll through to help bring me closer.

JR: There are many. And they are all gadget-related and start with i……

JM: Just pictures and videos on my iPhone–it helps keep things in perspective.

MM: One item that I bring on tour to remind of home is a written note from my children.

 

6. What is your favorite album or songs to play on the long travel days?

JP: Travel days are great for catching up on new music that I’ve been looking forward to checking out. Just sitting on an airplane for hours with no distractions (apart from those annoying captain addresses) ensures a great listening environment and my undivided attention.

JR: These days it’s Apparat’s album The Devil’s Walk

JM: Lately, I have found myself listening to the Diamond Eyes album by the Deftones.

MM: My favorite music to listen to these days on long touring travel days is Planet X.

Fans can keep up with all things Dream Theater online at http://www.dreamtheater.net and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dream-Theater/7677942180

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“Satchurated: Live in Montreal” one of 2012’s top 3 live releases

Courtesy: Epic Records/cine musica

Summer is here.  And that means that the annual tours are making their way across the country fast and furious.  The problem is that with all the tours out there, who has the money or the means to even try to make them all?  For that matter, what are fans to do when their favorite band and/or artist doesn’t make a stop in their city?  This is where the importance of live recordings comes in to play.  Anyone out there who is like this reviewer has seen their favorite act(s) shun their city in favor of other markets time and again.  So live recordings become that much more important to being able to experience given acts live.  And one of the best of this year’s live recordings is Joe Satriani’s recently released live blu-ray “Satchurated:  Live in Montreal.”

“Satchurated:  Live in Montreal” is not Joe Satriani’s first live recording.  But it is one of his best yet, if not his best yet.  This live show is as close as fans will come to a career retrospective from Satriani.  The show clocks in at just under two and a half hours long.  And it lifts from nearly every one of the fourteen albums that this guitar legend has released in the twenty plus years that he has been making music.  That includes more than half of the songs from his most recent album, “Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards.”  The whole show kicks off with the hit, ‘Ice 9’ from his album, “Surfing With The Alien.”  All the hits are there, including:  ‘Satch Boogie’, ‘Summer Song’, ‘Crowd Chant’, ‘The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing’ and so many more.

The mega set list on this performance is just one part of the whole that makes “Satchurated:  Live in Montreal” the standout live recording that it is.  The songs are great.  And thanks to Mike Fraser (Aerosmith, AC/DC, Sliipknot, etc.) and everyone behind the scenes of the show, the finished product came out just as impressive as the set list itself.  The audio mix is spot on even for those who might not have a surround sound home theater system.  Though as impressive as the audio mix was, it’s enough to make a person want to buy a home theater system if only for the one show.  It should come as no surprise that the final mix was so impressive.  This show wasn’t the first time that Satriani and Fraser have worked together.  They also teamed up for Satriani’s albums, “Crystal Planet” and “Super Colossal.” 

The finished video presentation was just as impressive as the audio mix.  Even those who don’t have a 3-D TV get stunning clarity with the concert’s blu-ray presentation.  On top of that, the general shooting, helmed by the brothers Lamoureux–Pierre and Francois–will make audiences feel as if they’re right there in Montreal with the rest of the audience.  The brothers took the emotion of every one of Satch’s songs, and somehow adapted that energy to the filming, giving shots at just the right pacing to keep audiences hooked.  Combine the filming with the show’s setlist, and audiences will be pulled right into the show.  they won’t even realize that nearly two and a half hours have passed until the show is over.  That is the sign of a truly impressive live recording.

Joe Satriani has been making music for over two decades.  He has released fourteen albums, and earned numerous honors as a result of those albums.  Now, he can add one more honor to that already long list with the release of “Satchurated:  Live in Montreal.”  That honor is of having one of the top live recordings of 2012.  From the superior audio mix and video presentation to the career spanning set list, Joe Satriani has never looked or sounded better.

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