Steve Vai: Guitar hero

We had the amazing opportunity to catch guitar virtuoso Steve Vai live when he swung by The Star Performing Arts Center with his tight-knit 3-piece band. Vai started off the evening with a mini-solo inspired by “Stairway to Heaven”, before segueing into the explosive opening track “Racing the World”. That kicked off a 3-hour performance punctuated so frequently with whammy bombs and two-hand tapping tricks. At some points it was actually hard to wrap our minds around just how he was making these sounds come of of a guitar.

It was not all bombs and bullets through the night: Vai also channeled his inner minstrel and played some acoustic pieces. But these were only interludes before the pace picked up again. We saw him through several wardrobe changes, including his signature tight pants and even a futuristic robot costume. But Vai isn’t the sort to hog the spotlight: he gave the his band plenty of opportunity to bask in the spotlight, too. Longtime collaborator Dave Weiner charmed the crowd with his sweet-sounding acoustic pieces while drummer Jeremy Colson showed off with a makeshift kit put together out of a dustbin and empty buckets on a shopping cart.

During the last segment of the show, three lucky audience members were invited on stage to create a song with Vai. It was entertaining to watch the band skilfully pick up and weave together the amateur beats and melodies they came up with. Also, one lucky contest winner came up on stage to play for a short while with the legend himself. During the encore, Steve Vai decided to joint he audience, which instantly whipped everyone up into a frenzy. Some lucky fans (us included!) got to take selfies with him. Even our dates, who were originally uninitiated in the “shred” style of guitar-playing, came away converts.