G3 1997 North American Tour News
June 15, Quebec City - Across the Atlantic to Canada and the beginning of the G3 North American tour 1997. In Quebec the line up is Joe, Steve, Michel Cusson and Robert Fripp. Chris Varrin and Doug Nightwine have put together a new production, the bands have rehearsed new songs and at the first show Michel and Robert joined Joe and Steve for the jam. The show plays one more Quebec show in Montreal with Michel before starting in Philadelphia with Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
June 15 - 30 - Twelve incredible G3 shows that played the Northeast and Midwest. A very different version of G3 than 1996 or Europe. Five hours of superb musicianship, guitar playing and entertainment. The show begins every night as the doors open with Robert on stage performing for an hour or more alone and at times being joined by Stu Hamm and Mike Keneally. Robert's set of eclectic soundscapes of electronic and masterful guitar playing changed every night. Robert was an immediate fan and supporter of the G3 concept and his positive energy, historical perspective and sense of humor played a major role in the day-to-day atmosphere backstage.
The audiences were not ready for a situation where they were being played to whilst entering the venues, and they took some time adjusting to the theatrical element of Robert sitting up there on stage in the daylight, playing through his bank of pedals and effects. But, the effect was awesome as Robert let his aural soundscapes build with the mood of the environment. In Cleveland, the show is in an amphitheatre situated by Lake Erie and during Robert's set a barge passed by and added a blast of foghorn to the sound effects. In Pittsburgh, a train track was not very far from the stage and at regular intervals the sound of a freight train was heard mixed into Robert's set!
Kenny Wayne Shepherd was next up to play and every night he proved that he is a truly amazing blues artist. A new singer Noah Hunt, a new bass player Robby Emerson and Kenny's band - Joe Nadeau, Jimmy Wallace and Sam Bryant brought the crowd to their feet every night with their inspired electric blues, ending with Kenny's own psychedelic tip of the hat to Hendrix and Voodoo Chile.
The crowd has gone through a transformation from Frippetronics to Kenny Wayne's Delta Blues and when the siren's blast signals the start of the Steve Vai set the night changes pace yet again. Steve and band - Mike Keneally, Mike Mangini and Phillip Bynoe have played over one hundred shows since October 1996 and their show was the proof. As usual, Steve drove the fans crazy with his incredible guitar playing and showmanship. "For the Love of God" took everyone in the venue to a high place every night, and "The Attitude Song" left them screaming. Steve left the stage each night to the words "The Evening Has Just Begun," and Joe, Stu and Jeff kept the promise. From "Cool #9" through "Surfing with the Alien," Joe put his guitar through its paces with an endless display of technique and soul. Mike Manning - the Zen Master - kept the guitars tuned and the amps running, and Joe kept up his sonic assault. Stu and Jeff worked their magic as usual, and Stu's bass solo brought the crowd to its feet and him to his knees.
And then it was time to get all four guitarists together. This year the plans had been made to keep all the equipment on-stage through Joe's set which meant no set change, just a minute or two to set up pedals and then bring out Steve, Kenny and Robert. The plan was to play all three of the jam songs heard on the last tour plus one new one. After a quick rehearsal in Hartford, the Kinks/Van Halen track "You Really Got Me" was chosen as the new song and for the next 11 shows the crowd witnessed some incredible G3 jams. Now Joe and Kenny Wayne are going into the studio to finish their albums and the G3 tour will pick up again September 26th in Vancouver for another series of dates.
"The tour has just begun!"
Friday, September 26 The second leg of G3 1997 tour started in Vancouver at the Plaza of Nations. It was a cold, wet night under a glass roof by the Vancouver harbor. Three thousand B.C. fans got to see the first night of the second and final leg of the 1997 tour.
Fripp sent his soundscapes through the cold night air amidst some unplanned bleeps and rumbles caused by rain in the mixer. Kenny Wayne turned up the heat and Steve bombarded the crowd with his brand of aural fireworks. Joe, Jeff and Stu closed the show with a fabulous G3 jam. It was a great opening night and overnight we returned to the States for the show in Seattle. Friends in Brother Cane and Kenny Wayne's producer Jerry Harrison checked the show out. Then it was on to Portland where the dressing rooms were on a riverboat next to the stage. Under a blazing sunset, the G3er's rocked into the night.
In Sacramento the jam was joined by Mike Scott from the New Generation (the band from the artist formerly known as Prince). The following nights we saw great shows in Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco. It was a long drive to Denver and San Antonio, where Joe and Steve hosted an in-store for 700 fans! Kenny Wayne's new album was in stores October 7 and rock radio is playing "Slow Ride" in heavy rotation. October 10 in Dallas was the night of the live concert across the internet. Ten thousand listeners and viewers got the chance to hear and see a very special event. They received an extra treat when Andy Timmons joined the jammers! Thanks Andy!
Memphis under the stars was another highlight for everyone. On an island in the Mississippi in the heart of the home of the blues, rock 'n' roll, and rhythm and blues. The next night at the fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta was another great show - at last G3 in Atlanta!
After that it was time to move on to Florida for three nights - St. Petersberg, Orlando at the new House of Blues and Ft. Lauderdale. At the House of Blues, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice and Steve Morse joined the party and Steve Morse jammed with Joe, Steve, Kenny and Robert for a superb night of guitars.
All too soon we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale for the last show of this year. Joe brought the G3 tour to a close with all the guitarists on stage at the same time. Mike Keneally and Joe Nadeau joined in with Steve, Kenny, Robert, Joe, Jeff and Stu and G6 was launched! The night was loud and long and the Sunrise Theatre crowd got to experience an amazing show. A late night bar scene and an early flight was all that awaited everyone.
Many thanks to all the musicians, crew and fans for another great G3 tour. See you soon!