Live: Steve Vai @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney – 15 July, 2013

24 Jul

Steve Vai @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney - 15 July, 2013     Steve Vai @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney - 15 July, 2013

Steve Vai @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney - 15 July, 2013     Steve Vai @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney - 15 July, 2013

Having had the pleasure of seeing Joe Satriani in concert at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney a few years back, one of the things left on our bucket list was to see Steve Vai: the very guy Ben played air guitar to throughout his younger years with Vai’s Passion & Warfare album cranking out of his boom box. That was officially ticked off the list on July 15, 2013, when Ben photographed and reviewed Steve Vai’s gig at the Enmore for lifemusicmedia.com. You can read it below.

To see the images, CLICK HERE or on the thumbnails above.

In the sphere of instrumental music, few names stand as tall as Steve Vai‘s. With a career that really started to take off while under the tutelage of Frank Zappa and then a stint with both Whitesnake and David Lee Roth‘s band, his place in the pantheon of music icons was cemented with the release of his second solo album, ‘Passion and Warfare’, in 1990.

23 years later, Vai is still adding music to his catalogue as vital and urgent as any of his output in the ’90s. It was no surprise then, to find Sydney’s Enmore Theatre almost at capacity for the local leg of his tour in support of ‘The Story of Light’.

While there were perhaps more women and families in the crowd than this reviewer (and self-confessed Vai fan) would have predicted, the majority of punters were of the guitar-nerd persuasion. That’s OK though, given that there’s no more appreciative a crowd for this kind of music than the type that’s ready to air-guitar in public like no-one is watching.

Now in his early 50s, Vai has lost none of his dexterity or his stage presence. He struts all over the stage with the same vigour as you’ll see on any YouTube video from his past and clearly still loves the attention, hitting poses for the crowd and assembled throng of photographers like the late ’80s never ended. As he eases into a set of more than 20 of his best, the crowd hollers and hoots at every two-step string bend, four-finger tapping section and whammy bar dive.

Through the set, it’s clear that the crowd all share many of the same favourites, with tracks like ‘Tender Surrender’, ‘Answers’, ‘The Animal’, ‘The Audience is Listening’, ‘Sisters’ and set closer, ‘For the Love of God’ generating the most hysteria and fist-pumping. If his generosity toward the crowd weren’t enough with his set list selections, Vai also gives each member of his backing band a solo spot to let their talents shine. It also gives Vai a chance to wipe off the sweat and have a costume change.

Music wasn’t the only thing on offer tonight, with Vai delivering up a smorgasbord of his most famous JEM and Universe guitars for the guitar-nerd crowd. These included EVO, FLO III, a Strat-like model complete with Hendrix-inspired murals and what looked just like the iconic burnt Universe from the ‘Passion and Warfare’ days, sporting a new pick guard and pickups.

By the end of the extensive set (there was no opening act), everyone spilled out into the cold winter night satisfied and smiling, having just consumed the greatest night’s instrumental entertainment they’re likely to see again – well, that is until Vai or Satriani come back to our shores! Until that day comes, Vai’s fleet fingered fret board pyrotechnics will stay with us long after tonight’s show.

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