Steve Vai To Release Live Double DVD

By Sefany Jones, Contributing Editor
Tuesday, October 14, 2003 @ 1:12 PM

Vai To Release Live at the

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Steve Vai is on the short list of the greatest guitarists ever, and his musical vision is captured on this two-DVD set Live at the Astoria London scheduled for release on November 18, 2003, on Favored Nations.

Live at the Astoria London is Vai's first-ever live performance DVD, and it clocks in at more than 2 1/2 hours. It was filmed at the Astoria in London, England, on December 6 and 7, 2001, while on tour promoting Vai's 'Alive in an Ultra World' album.

Vai's all-star band includes bassist Billy Sheehan, drummer Virgil Donati, guitarist/keyboardist Tony MacAlpine and guitarist Dave Weiner.

The 21 tracks on Live at the Astoria London, many of which were performed live for the very first time at this concert, include: "Shyboy," "Giant Balls of Gold," "Erotic Nightmares," "Blood & Glory," "Dave's Party Piece," "Blue Powder," "Crying Machine," "The Animal," "Bangkok," "Tony's Solo," "Bad Horsie," "Chameleon," "Down Deep Into the Pain," "Fire," "Little Wing," "Whispering a Prayer," "Incantation," "Jibboom," "For the Love of God," "Liberty" and "The Attitude Song."

"When I go to a show, I'm hoping to see it all. Great musicianship, nice songs, some kind of theatrical entertainment value etc. Since these are the things I like to see when I go to a concert, these are the things that I like to have in my set," Vai says. "To me it's important to perform familiar things and some new things too. There are several songs on this DVD that are first-time performances such as 'Blue Powder.' I added the Jimi Hendrix songs because of my deep respect for him and the familiarity level of his stuff with the fans."

Vai loved the challenge of preparing this different set with the band, especially the guitar interplay with Tony MacAlpine and Dave Weiner.

"Most of my songs have some deep intricacies in them. Two- to four-guitar part harmony, written keyboard melodies and such, so it takes quite a lot of focus and attention to the construction of the performance of many of my tracks. The idea is to make it sound accessible and entertaining," he says. "Good thing the guys in the band are both tremendously talented and patient.

"Much of my music has rhythm guitars and many harmonies so it's advantageous to have musicians that can play the stuff so we can reproduce it live. If I want things to thin out I just request it. It's always an advantage to have another great guitarist in the band and in this case it's especially nice because they are such cool guys too."

A great deal of work went into the preparation of Live at the Astoria London, and it all started with the two concerts themselves and the attention to detail. The excitement and energy generated by a live performance provide that special spark.

Special DVD features include a 5.1 Surround Sound audio mix, backstage footage, interviews, a commentary track by Vai and band members, band member biographies and Vai's discography.

"The audio commentary is interesting because I have basically the whole band with me and we are discussing the show, the songs and each guy gets to talk a bit about their solos, what they were thinking etc.," says Vai. "The backstage footage is just hilarious. We worked out a few skits and there are interviews with some of the crew."

Vai, a native of Long Island, NY, is known for his astonishing diversity and his fluid, seemingly effortless, guitar lines that often accelerate like a rocket blasting off at light-speed. His usual axe of choice is his own signature model Ibanez Jem.

At the tender age of 19 Steve Vai joined Frank Zappa's band. Vai played on many albums by the eccentric, incredibly prolific genius during his main 1979-1984 stint including Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar and You Are What You Is. Vai released his first solo album, Flex-Able, in 1984 and it was a sensation in the guitar world. After five years with Zappa, Vai joined the heavy metal group Alcatrazz, which featured former Rainbow vocalist Graham Bonnet, for 1985's Disturbing the Peace.

1986 was the year Vai broke through into mainstream consciousness. He made a very memorable cameo appearance in the film Crossroads which starred Ralph Macchio. Its plot was partly based on the Robert Johnson myth and Vai played Jack Butler, the devil's guitarist, in a six-string showdown with Macchio's character. Macchio's guitar parts were also played by Vai (except for the slide guitar licks played by Ry Cooder). This scene's music was later released on Vai's 2002 best-of album The Elusive Light and Sound, Vol. 1 as "Head-Cuttin' Duel."

His god-like stature in guitar circles was further cemented in 1986 when he earned a high-profile mainstream spot in former Van Halen vocalist David Lee Roth's first solo band, which also included Billy Sheehan. Vai was integral to Roth's first two solo albums: 1986's Eat 'Em and Smile and 1988's Skyscraper. The most notable songs from these albums include "Yankee Rose," "Goin' Crazy!" "Just Like Paradise" "Stand Up" and "Damn Good." Vai joined Whitesnake for 1989's Slip of the Tongue and played all the guitar parts on the album himself due to an injury suffered by Adrian Vandenberg.

It was time for Vai to step out on his own as a solo artist and between 1990 and 2001 he released a string of acclaimed albums: Passion and Warfare, Sex & Religion (technically a band project called Vai featuring vocalist Devin Townsend), Alien Love Secrets, Fire Garden, Flex-Able Leftovers, The Ultra Zone, The 7th Song: Enchanting Guitar Melodies Archive and Alive in an Ultra World. He also contributed to various soundtracks and made several album guest appearances during this period.

Vai toured with Satriani and Eric Johnson on the first-ever G3 tour in 1996 and will promote Live at the Astoria London this October and November with the latest G3 North American tour with Satriani and Yngwie Malmsteen on board. Billy Sheehan, Tony MacAlpine, Dave Weiner and new drummer Jeremy Colson will be playing with Vai on this fall's run of G3 shows.

The G3 '03 tour dates include:

10/14/03 Vancouver, BC Orpheum Theatre
10/15/03 Seattle, WA Paramount Theatre
10/16/03 Portland, OR Portland Art Museum
10/17/03 Concord, CA Chronicle Pavilion
10/18/03 Los Angeles, CA Greek Theatre
10/20/03 Denver, CO Fillmore Auditorium
10/21/03 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theatre
10/22/03 Milwaukee, WI Riverside Theatre
10/23/03 Detroit, MI Palace of Auburn Hills
10/24/03 Chicago, IL Riviera Theater
10/25/03 Minneapolis, MN State Theatre
10/27/03 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
10/28/03 Winston-Salem, NC Millennium Center
10/29/03 Atlanta, GA The Tabernacle
10/30/03 Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall
10/31/03 West Palm Beach, FL Kravis Center for the Arts
11/01/03 Orlando, FL House of Blues
11/02/03 Pensacola, FL Saenger Theatre
11/04/03 Washington, DC Warner Theatre
11/05/03 Glenside, PA Keswick Theatre
11/06/03 Toronto, ON Massey Hall
11/08/03 Pittsburgh, PA A.J. Palumbo Center
11/10/03 New York, NY Beacon Theater
11/11/03 New York, NY Beacon Theater
11/12/03 Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre

www.vai.com * www.favorednations.com

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