‘GP’ Presents Shakti 50th Anniversary Tour September 9 in San Francisco, CA – Win Tickets!

(Image credit: Shakti)

John McLaughlin has lots of reasons to celebrate. Winning his battle with arthritis and honoring an incredible 50 years since joining forces with table master Zakir Hussain to form Shakti, the jazz guitar icon is back on the road supporting Shakti’s very long-awaited studio album, This Moment (Abstract Logix).

On September 9th at Davies Symphony Hall, Guitar Player Presents helps SFJAZZ welcome McLaughlin’s return to San Francisco where he’s got storied history.

The City by the Bay was the site of McLaughlin’s latest live album, 2018’s Live in San Francisco as well as the Guitar Trio’s infamous Friday Night in San Francisco album recorded with Al Di Meola and Paco de Lucia in late 1980 and released in 1981.

In 2022, Saturday Night in San Francisco finally saw the light of day after spending over four decades gathering dust in Di Meola’s basement. It was recorded the night after the legendary Friday show.

McLaughlin played nylon-string acoustic in the Guitar Trio and historically played steel-string in Shakti, but in order to manage arthritis issues he’s playing electric these days, specifically a new signature PRS equipped with a Fishman Triple Play Connect system.

In his Frets feature for Guitar Player’s November issue, the virtuoso connects the dots of how Shakti and the Guitar Trio have shaped his acoustic career through the lens of the various instruments he’s played, right up to This Moment. He says:

“At my tender age, when I try to play the big Wechter nylon string, I feel a stress because of the right-hand position. I have to sacrifice playing the acoustic because I don’t have any problems playing the electric guitar, and musically I’ve never felt better.

“The other good thing about the playing the new PRS is that through MIDI I’m able to bring more orchestral sounds from my Western world into the Shakti group. It makes me happy, and it makes them happy too because they love Western music as much as they love Eastern music. That’s why we’re here today.”

Shakti means “power” and McLaughlin has re-energized the timeless ensemble in a modern way. This Moment represents a contemporary take on the classic Shakti sound, which was ironically recorded less so live in the moment and is instead more carefully crafted. It sounds refined with 21st century elements layered into Shakti’s signature Indian/jazz fusion.

McLaughlin’s playing in Shakti is remarkable on myriad levels. His highly evolved technique pervades impossibly complex compositions that mostly follow unpredictable Indian raga forms full of next-level improvisations. Perhaps most incredible is how the twisting, turning melody lines are so intricately linked with the rapid-fire percussion rhythms.

As impressive as the GP Hall of Famer’s playing remains, Shakti serves a higher purpose. The stratospheric level of collective expertise creates a mystical musical vessel designed to take the listener on a transcendental celebration of life.

The current lineup includes violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan, percussionist Selvaganesh Vinayakram and vocalist Shankar Mahadevan.

To have a fully functional Shakti at this time is miraculous. Dates are selling out across the country, so don’t hesitate to secure yours at the nearest location. Find tour information at shakti50.com.

GP Presents will be onsite in San Francisco at Davies Symphony Hall where we’ll have free Martin strings and copies of the November issue with McLaughlin’s Frets feature. Make sure to stop by if in you’re in the Bay Area over the second weekend in September.

Click here for SF show information.


For a chance to win a pair of tickets to see GP Presents Shakti, email gp@jimmyleslie.com and put “Shakti” in the subject of your email. Include a sentence about yourself and why you want to go. Phone contact greatly appreciated for confirmation.

Winner must provide his or her own transportation to Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, California, on Saturday, September 9, and have his or her own accommodations in the Bay Area.

Best of luck!


GP and SFJAZZ Presents Shakti

Saturday, September 9

Davies Symphony Hall
San Francisco, CA, 8pm

Free GP magazines and Martin strings

Jimmy Leslie has been Frets editor since 2016. See many Guitar Player- and Frets-related videos on his YouTube channel, and learn about his acoustic/electric rock group at spirithustler.com.