For roughly the the past decade, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani pick up some guitarist with blazing fast electric guitar skills, and they go around touring as “G3” in front of adoring fans. I’ve never seen the tour, nor been particularly inclined to, but it’s not hard to imagine that they got the idea for G3 from this album. Friday Night in San Francisco is the 1980 release of Al DiMeola, John McLaughlin, and Paco DeLucia. It’s (mostly) a live album, and it features nothing more than 3 of the world’s greatest guitarists playing an unmatchable acoustic set in front of an enthusiastic audience.
All three guitarists, especially DiMeola have a reputation for being highly skilled, technique-oriented clinicians. DiMeola himself has said that, in the studio, he personally writes out all the musical parts for himself and for each of his complementary performers. This is no small task, given the speed and duration of the music–a lot of little black dots to appear. Nonetheless, this album is as loose and spontaneous and enjoyable as you’ll find any of these greats, and, with such unmatched skill on their instruments, it’s an inimitably dynamic and brilliant performance.
For the record, if you’re going to pick it up, it’s worthwhile listening to this on a good pair of headphones, as it’s more than worthwhile being able to distinguish one guitarist from the other.