What stood out the most at this benefit was the true love and respect shown by ALL the artists for Jason. There was more love for him as a person than there was for him as a musician. There was still a ton of respect for him as a musician too! Joe Satriani said "Jason is inspirational. The first time I heard him play guitar it scared the shit out of me!" Each artist personally gave their love and respect to Jason as he watched in the wings. Luke spoke to the jam packed, sold out show straight from the heart. He gave his love and respect to Jason and dedicated his performance of "A Song For Jeff" (Porcaro) to Mike Porcaro. Mike also has ALS. Luke jammed with Uriah Duffy (Whitesnake/Jeff Watson Band) on bass. Uriah told me how much he was looking forward to helping the cause and playing with Luke. Uriah also told me he wasn't familiar with "A Song for Jeff" so he learned it on the way up from last night's gig in Sacramento with the Jeff Watson Band.
Highlights from the show were a smokin' "Satch Boogie" from Joe Satriani, as always Richie Kotzen gave the crowd every ounce of energy he had whether to a sold out show or just a handful, extremely tasty plying from Greg Howe (Michael Jackson/Enrique Ingleseas), slide guitar from Michael Lee Firkins, The Jeff Watson Band and of course Luke's heartfelt number. But probably the most emotional performance was from Marty Friedman (Megadeth/Cocophony). Friedman played from alone on stage "Devil Take Tomorrow". As I watched Marty play from a mere few feet away the emotion in his performance exuded from every part of him. Friedman said that "Jason still influences everything I do musically. Because I know Jason will eventually listen to it. So it has to be good!" It was also great to see the mutual admiration from all the artists. Uriah Duffy and Michael Lee Firkins watched intenly from the side stage as Satriani ripped through his set. Jason still is able to communicate to people and most amazingly still is able to compose music. His father came up with a system that allows Jason to communicate.
I had the chance to ask Luke a few questions after the gig.
Q: Jason's story is truly inspirational isn't it?
Luke: "He is not of this earth. To deal with his life with such dignity and class and love is truly an inspiration and something we could all learn from. It is humbling really. You can see so much life and love in his eyes."
Q: You just got back from a Tour of Europe, with no rest & didn't hesitate to come up here for this gig. How did that work out with no real rest?.
Luke: "I HAD to go up and play and wanted to! ALS has hit home for me, for Mike Porcaro and his family, which IS my family. There was not one second of hesitation, other than maybe getting my ass handed to me by the other amazing guitar players. (Laughing) It ended up being a really great trip and I was honored to be there. I am not home and I have a week of real rest and I can catch up with my children and friends and just try and be at peace. I still have some personal issues I must deal with but compared to most I am a very lucky person."
Q: Once again a bunch of cool cats at this gig. How was that & how was playing with Uriah? It must have hit close to home because of brother Mike.
Luke: "Uriah is an awesome musician and a REALLY great cat. All the players were awesome, Mike, Phil and all the amazing guitar player friends that killed it on the gig. I was nervous but it was a team effort and I felt everyone played so great and hope it helped Jason allot!
Of course I miss playing with Mike. No one will ever groove like him in my heart... I will hopefully see him in the next day or so for a big hug and share my road stories and make him laugh. I love to hear him laugh."
Reggie Boyle, Stevelukather.com, March 2011