show review
FlyingBrian Sun Feb 28 '16
Fox Theater
Oakland, CA, US
Rank: 10 Posted: Wed Mar 02, '16 11:25 am

Let me start by saying that this show was incredible. Joe blazed through an amazing set list with impeccable skill and delivered that sweet, sweet tone that is Joe's signature. I don't know if I've ever seen Joe play better, although he's always so good I'd be splitting hairs there.

I've seen Joe play many times going back to the Surfing tour. Every single time Joe has delivered on the promise of his studio recordings. In fact, to my ears he often brings his songs to a higher level live. This show was no different. Simply stellar playing and sound. He always finds new ways to add just a little something new to his classics (nuanced changes in phrasing, and entirely new and improved licks as seen in recent years with Satch Boogie, Flying in a Blue Dream and Always With Me, Always With You as a few examples) while his newest tracks shine a bit brighter to my ear because even though Joe faithfully recreates them before your very eyes, his live tone is a touch more raw. In a very good way, of course. Don't mistake that last statement as a negative, quite the opposite. I happen to prefer hearing Joe's works live. His live tone is a yard stick for anyone in the genre.

I'd like to spend a few words talking about the band mates Joe is touring with. What a phenomenal set of musicians who each bring something special to the table. I've seen most of the touring line ups, and this one is my favorite. Hey, I love Stu too, but this is a different animal. Bryan Beller served up thick, juicy, and very tasteful lines all night long. He is rock solid, loud, sounds incredible and plays to each song perfectly. Take your eyes away from Joe for a few minutes and watch Bryan. He is extremely skilled and I think he's a perfect fit with Joe. Marco Minnemann is a killer drummer. I love Jeff and have lot of respect for him, but I feel Marco's style pushes Joe more, and he provides so much more dimension and depth. His solo was fantastic, and he locked down the groove all night. Mike Keneally has clearly formed a nice little bond with Joe. It's a beautiful thing to witness. He plays keys and guitar equally well, and provides Joe with a lot of cool twists live. He can double or harmonize Joe's awesome licks and melodies on keys and provide a fresh take in doing so. Or he can provide a great foundation for Joe on either keys or his six string. A damn good player, and maybe the best collaborator Joe has ever had. I'd love this to be Joe's band for the remainder of his career, but it's unlikely as both Marco and Bryan have a great thing brewing with the Aristocrats.

I put this show at the top of my list. Thinking back over the years I have loved every show I've been privileged to see, but this one is special. The retrospective quality, no opening act, the top notch playing all around and a killer set list make this one my favorite.

MehYam Sun Feb 28 '16
Fox Theater
Oakland, CA, US
Rank: 9 Posted: Tue Mar 01, '16 11:37 am

So good! Great, interesting setlist, I was surprised how good Luminous Flesh Giants was. Took one point off (9/10) because the sound was a little muddy in the first half - Shockwave Supernova sounded a little rough because of it. After the break, everything was crystal clear, and Joe just ripped, nailed everything, and put a lot of cool surprises into his playing.

Also, props for no opening act. Not that they've ever been bad, it's just nice to have two acts of what you came to see.

The new album is fantastic. I thought Unstoppable would be hard to beat, but these new songs innovate yet again, and take the music to new places. Please stay unstoppable, Joe!