Under Review

Joe Satriani

Surfing With the Alien


Review By Pyra Draculea

This is the reissue of the Satriani’s landmark 1987 disc. Disc one is the album we guitar and metal geeks all know and love and probably have memorized note for note, so I’ll just skip over to commenting on Disc two, which is a DVD featuring previously unreleased footage of a July 1988 concert at the Montreux Jazz Festival back in the infancy of Satriani’s career.

The first thing that comes to mind of course is a mix of nostalgia and shock that I ever thought guitar grimaces and spandex outfits like that were cool when I was 12. Oh well. The audio is fantastic, the video is as good as you can expect 1980s video to be (which is to say don’t watch it full-screen if you have an iMac) and there are plenty of great close-ups for figuring out Satriani’s techniques. (Not that it would do my stubby, clumsy fingers a damn bit of good or anything.) In addition to Satriani’s spectacular playing, the DVD also includes a wonderful bass solo by Stu Hamm exhibiting incredibly fluid and melodic chops, every bit as outstanding as the big boss has.

The liner notes tell the tale of this show that almost didn’t happen because of airline delays and previous bands jamming on without time limits. Slated to go on at midnight, Satch and company didn’t hit the stage until 4 a.m. And whether it be exhaustion or bad taste, much of the crowd got up and walked out a few bars into the first song. Idiots – they didn’t know what they were missing.

I also quite enjoyed the cinematography on the DVD and the angles used throughout as well as the bonus features’ spoof interview with Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap. Hilarious.