Raleigh, North Carolina....a not so short three hour and forty minute drive from my humble abode on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. Rock N Roll Road Trips are a way of life for me. The closest venues are a good hour plus from my home. So, off I went to Raleigh to see the G3 tour featuring Phil Collen (and Delta Deep), John Petrucci and Joe Satriani. I left my home mid-day and made my way to The Residence Inn by Marriott across the street from the venue. For those attending shows at The Duke Energy Center for The Performing Arts, I can highly recommend this hotel. It is new, clean and affordable. I had a room on the sixth floor with a kitchenette and a king size bed. They have good parking and a continental breakfast buffet in the mornings. After checking in I met my friend Liz in the lobby and we walked down the street a few blocks to a cool restaurant called Bu Ku which had good prices and a good selection of food. After a quick dinner we walked down to the venue. Liz had managed to upgrade our tickets to front row! While in the lobby Liz introduced me to some other concert friends of hers. The concert world is a small place and thanks to social media we are able to connect and meet like minded people at events. Liz and I made our way to the front row which in this venue consisted of several rows of movable chairs. We were right in front of the stage this time. No barricade separating us. I could reach out and touch the stage.
The first band to play was Phil Collen's band Delta Deep. Delta Deep is a bluesy rock band, much different from Phil's full time band Def Leppard. Besides Phil on Guitar, Delta Deep consists of Debbi Blackwell Cook on vocals, Forrest Robinson on Drums, and on this tour filling in for Robert DeLeo is bassist Craig Martini. They did a six song set. The interaction of the band is a pleasure to watch. Smiles abound. Oh, and Debbi can sing her ass off!
I was looking forward to seeing John Petrucci again. I had only seen him with Dream Theater in the past and I left that concert with so many drum beats in my head I don't know that I really appreciated Petrucci's playing. Petrucci has put together a fabulous band. I was really impressed by them. Petrucci's playing was fantastic. He was feet in front of me and I couldn't take my eyes off of how fast his hands were moving. From my seat in the front I was surprised to see Phil Collen and some guests watching the show from the wings.
Joe was the only one of the three that I had not seen live in concert before. I found him and his band enjoyable and was especially impressed by his bass player, Bryan Beller and keyboard/guitarist Mike Keneally. I tend to gravitate towards those players who are lesser known but whose talent shines bright as it did with these two.
The show ended with an all star jam. While my seats were fabulous, it came at a cost during the final jam. I was right in front of Petrucci's amp and it literally drowned out everything else. The most noticeable thing about the jam were the smiles on everyone's faces both on stage and in the audience. Everyone had a great time!
The show ended and I spotted my favorite Vlogger/Roadie Jeff Diffner. Being shy (haha) I called his name and he came over for a quick chat with me. Jeff is working this tour as a drum tech and general jack of all trades. His day job is for Rick Allen (Def Leppard) as his drum tech. I really admire people like Jeff who get to work behind the scenes and in his vlog you get to see how much work these tours really take. They work long hard hours for weeks at a time with minimal down time. Please take some time to check out Jeff's Vlogs on Youtube. After a quick chat with Jeff, that was interrupted by venue security telling me to leave (boo), Liz and I and my new concert friends Louise and Kevin stood about and chatted about upcoming concerts etc...and took photos with each other before saying goodbye. I made my way across the street to my hotel and as is always the case, could not fall asleep because of the concert high. I IM'd with my sister on the West Coast for about an hour and then finally fell asleep.
The next morning my internal body clock got me up at six a.m. I slowly got ready and made my way back to Virginia in the rain. The first rock n roll road trip of 2018 was completed in less than 24 hours and as my husband says, "a good time was had by all".
My next Rock N Roll Road Trip is scheduled for Monday, February 12th. This is a short one to Norfolk, VA to see Robert Plant! See you then!