Concert Review: John Petrucci, November 17, Danforth Music Hall


So. Much. Shredding.

That was my initial thought just minutes into John Petrucci‘s show this past Thursday night at the Danforth Music Hall and I’d imagine I wasn’t the only one. Petrucci is a ridiculously talented guitarist and he wasted no time in proving that to the audience as he came through town on a tour in support of his latest album, 2020’s Terminal Velocity. And though Petrucci is an impressive player to watch in action, equally impressive is the man’s beard.

With his long, jet black facial hair, Petrucci gives off a bit of a Rasputin vibe, if instead of being hard to kill, he simply went hard with some killer guitar. Or maybe it’s more like Samson, and if Petrucci were to ever cut his beard, he’d lose some of that guitar prowess. Whatever the case may be, it is indeed quite the beard. But of course, people didn’t come to the show to admire Petrucci’s facial foliage. No, they came to see him shred. And shred he did.

Of course it wasn’t just about the guitar solos – another key selling point for this show was the fact that Petrucci is joined on this tour by his former Dream Theater bandmate Mike Portnoy, marking the first time they’d been on stage together in 12 years. For his part, Portnoy also displayed his skills on the kit, at one point even playing catch with a crew member offstage using a drumstick … while he was still playing.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention bassist Dave LaRue, who showed off his virtuosity with a few nicely placed bass solos that brought to mind the work of Jaco Pastorius at times. Also worth noting – Petrucci mentioned onstage that this evening would mark the first time LaRue tried a butter tart. If nothing else, that makes this a noteworthy stop on their tour.

As someone whose musical ability is several steps below rudimentary (and that’s being rather generous), I’m not entirely sure where my obsession with all things proggy comes from, but I do love the stuff. As I watched Petrucci and his bandmates play, I took the time to think about exactly what the appeal is. In a way I suppose it’s kind of akin to watching a top notch gourmet chef prepare a rich and ridiculously over the top meal on some cooking show – sure, I likely won’t ever be doing that myself but it certainly is impressive to watch someone else do it.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts