One of rock’s leading guitarists is preparing to bring his finger skills to the Sheffield stage.
Legendary artist and performer Joe “Satch” Satriani is embarking on The Shockwave UK tour on the back of Shockwave Supernova, his 15th studio album which was released earlier this year.
Billed as the hardest-working guitarist in the business, Satch’s current European tour schedule adds credence to the moniker.
Starting in France in last month, the tour features shows in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Germany, as well as Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, among many others – not even mentioning the nine UK dates, including one in Sheffield.
And it is during downtime in Stockholm that Satch finds time to talk to The Star.
“We’re going all over Europe,” he says. “It’s been a lot of fun.
“We usually do about eight or nine weeks at a time, then take three weeks to two months off, before the next leg of the tour.
“We play five or six shows a week, but there’s virtually no singing, so we don’t have to take time off for our voices.”
And despite the stress and pressure of the intense touring, Satch says there is never any issues between anyone of him or his touring band of bassist Bryan Beller, drummer Marco Minnemann and Mike Keneally on keyboard and guitar.
“For some reason, we really have a good attitude about everything,” says the 59-year-old American. “We keep things very funny and upbeat.
However, the constant gigging can have a physical affect on Satch, as well as his band members.
“For Marco, it’s a lot of work, while my left hand and arm, from fingers to shoulder, gets quite a work out performing up to two hours a show, but its better than being sat at a computer for eight hours.
“The adrenalin and excitement makes it so enjoyable. I always love playing and I love music, Each night I am just trying to get it right.
“Everytime I take to the stage, I have a lot of things I am trying to get better or to improve from the night before.
“Every audience is new and fresh, so it’s a new thing every day. I love that part of live performance.”
And Joe is promising a mix of old favourites as well as new tunes when he brings his “high-energy show” to Sheffield City Hall on Wednesday, November 4, as he attemptes to strike a balance between keeping old and new fans happy.
“The audience comes out to see new material and hear favourites from the back catalogue,” he says
“I have 15 albums, so it’s tough to just choose 22 songs, but we’re playing about half of the new album and certainly plaing the big favourites, since the show will new new to someone, those who might only come once.
“We will have a small group who have seen me more than 20 times and a small group who have never seen me before, but who I hope will have a great time.”
It will not be the first time Joe has played Sheffield – and despite thousands of gigs across hundreds of places, Satch admits he has a soft spot for the Steel City, thanks to a vest and a shuffle.
“I have got great affinity for Sheffield, so it’s always a good show,” he says.
“Last time I was there was two years ago.
“I remember buying a vest at a store. a little clothes shop in the town. I remember it was cold and I wanted something beneath my leather jacket. I think it was the Burberry vest.”
And while the Sheffield shuffle is not something Joe wants to happen again, the long-running “in joke” keeps the smiles on the faces of the band and crew.
“Every once in a while, you do something completely silly on stage and it becomes folklore in the band’s history.
“In Sheffield, we had an idea to make the stage go dark and then leave the stage.
“We thought it would be dramatic, but the opposite happened.
“The audience just went quiet, wondering where the band had gone.
“Then we heard someone in the audience shout ‘get on with it Joe’ and we had to shuffle back on.
“Since then every time someone comes up with what they think is a great idea, someone will say ‘it sounds like a Sheffield shuffle to me’.
Joe Satriani plays Sheffield City Hall on Wednesday, November 4. Support comes from South African guitarist Dan Patlansky.
n For tickets, priced from £34.50, visit www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk