Joe Satriani: Flying in a Blue Dream (1989)

joe satriani flying in a blue dream

By Scott Goldfine

Joe Satriani ― one of the most dazzling guitar players to come down the pike in some time — surprised many when his second LP, “Surfing With the Alien,” spent over a year on the charts and went gold. The music world sat up and took notice since an instrumental album rarely achieves such success, particularly on an independent label. However, that was more than two years ago (last year’s live EP “Dreaming #11” notwithstanding). Just what would Satch have up his fretboard this time? The answer on “Flying in a Blue Dream” is singing.

Satriani casts his vocals over six of this disc’s 18 tracks, bearing mixed results. “Can’t Slow Down” is a pedestrian thash rocker, while “I Believe” is agonizingly bland and too long at nearly six minutes. But the funk slam of “Strange,” the ZZ Top-ish boogie of “Big Bad Moon” (the first single) and “Ride,” and the bluegrass-styled “The Phone Call” find the artist stretching the boundaries of his craft. The lyrics mostly convey a disillusioned, aloof attitude. Satriani’s voice may be somewhat thin and limited, but he seems to have a notion of how to circumvent his vocal shortcomings. It doesn’t hurt that every cut packs searing guitar solos.

The rest of this effort is instrumental, with the riff-laden “The Mystical Head Groove Thing” and the ballad “The Forgotten” generating the most interest. The snappy “One Big Rush” and “Back to Shall-Bal” are perfect for cruising down the open highway. Satriani noodles through several interludes to bridge tunes together, thereby creating an overall mood and flow to the project. Satriani, who wrote, produced and arranged the LP, plays nearly all the instruments, including banjo and harmonica. Is it another case of megalomania or is Satch finally realizing all his creative energies?

It is immaterial because this is one of the most satisfying releases of the year. The peaks far outdistance the valleys and with some 65 minutes’ worth of music, you can omit a couple of songs and still have an abundance of quality. What sets Satriani apart from the pack is the way he infuses rock stylings of the past with heavy metal elements of the present. With this tour de force, he has solidified his status as the consummate contemporary guitar hero.


Flying in a Blue Dream BUY NOW (Amazon)

Scott Goldfine

As a fervid lifelong music & film enthusiast / student, I grew up in and around the Los Angeles entertainment industry. I have worked and held many positions in various media realms, since 1998 serving as Editor-in-Chief and now Associate Publisher for Security Sales & Integration, a trade publication serving the electronic security industry. I love several genres of music & film. The former includes funk (Parliament-Funkadelic, Prince, Ohio Players, etc.); blues (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Eric Gales, etc.); rock (Jack White, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, etc.); hard rock (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, etc.); jazz (Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Crusaders, etc.); R&B (Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Gil Scott-Heron, etc.); and more. I was a club disc jockey and ran a mobile DJ company (Musical Moods) for more than 15 years, which is where the name Dr. GX originates (Doctor Good Times). Fave film genres include horror (Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.); science fiction (Aliens, Terminator, 2001, etc.); action (Warriors, Road Warrior, Die Hard); westerns (Outlaw Josey Wales, Showdown at OK Corral; Wild Bunch, etc.); suspense (Jaws, Inception, Silence of the Lambs, etc.); drama (Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, etc.); and comedies (Life of Brian, Superbad, Ruthless People, etc.). I have attended many hundreds of concerts and movies (in theaters or screenings). I may as well also throw in a few favorite TV shows to give an even broader taste of my sensibilities. A handful would be Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Lost, Justified, Fargo, Seinfeld, Sopranos, South Park, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Key & Peele, Monty Python, Inside Amy Schumer, Louie, Modern Family, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Last Man on Earth, Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family and The Office. Fave authors are Stephen King, Clive Barker and Michael Crichton. I am also a big sports fan and lifelong supporter of the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB). Also enjoy my family of course, electronics/computers/AV gear, and animals, nature and outdoor activities. Graduate of Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica College and California State University Northridge (Radio-TV-Film, Psychology minor). Also studied at UCLA for kinesiology/psychology and earned post-grad Certificate in Accounting from Santa Monica College. Present main occupation is as Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Security Sales & Integration (SSI), which I joined in 1998. I am responsible for overseeing all editorial content in print. online, electronic, in-person and any other media or products for the electronic security industry's leading business-to-business trade publication. SSI is part of Framingham, Mass.-based Emerald Expositions.