Photos and Review courtesy of Frankie James
So, when I was asked to photograph and review Steve Vai at the Filmore in San Francisco, I was pretty excited for several reasons. One, the Filmore is one of the greatest and well known legendary concert venues in the U.S. Two, I knew the sound and lighting there was as good as can get, and three is the fact that Steve Vai is one of the best guitarists of all time, and this made my heart skip a few death-defying beats.
With having only one opener, I was under the impression that I’d witness a beautiful, lengthy set of unimaginable proportion satisfying my ear candy fix for the evening. Oh snap and when I noticed the setlist, I think I got the kind of wood that only rock god guitars are made of. Some say Vai’s style of electric erotic-ness (Is that even a word? If it’s not, it should be in his dictionary) is better than sex!!!!!
Opening up with “Bad Horsie” was enough, but coming out wearing a hoodie and glowing frames around his eyes with a solid haze surrounding his every move just gave you that impression that shit is about to happen … And WOW … The set exploded with wild hip gyrations and body language moved by liquid sounds of what seemed like constant leads flowing from the amps. Sounds from a master that all guitarists can only dream of. Shooting the first three songs, I’m engrossed in his every move, snapping pics with every compositional explanation his body can give me. But after Vai’s camp allowed me to extend my stay in the photo pit into the 4th song “Erotic Nightmares” … After which I’m back into guitar wood again as I watch from the crowd’s view standing in awe just like the other 1500 fans with their jaws wide open in disbelief of their ears.
OK … So now you’re getting the idea of what a Steve Vai live concert that’s up close and personal is about. Now imagine this with his finely tuned band backing him up. It’s strongly evident these rock gods do their homework before going out on tour because everything is so freakin’ spot on that it almost sounds too good to be true. Luscious tones, guitar crunches, rhythms moving the body, thundering bass lines developing dizzying effects and deafening drums with that pounding in the chest feeling … Oh yeah, shit did happen … and it happened all night long. This could easily be a 1,000-word review, but I think I’d run out of descriptions of how amazingly awesome Steve Vai is. So if he’s ever anywhere near your neck of the woods, just buy a ticket, shut up and listen, then go home and tell your friends that didn’t go that they missed out !!
By Frankie J … Anyone got ear plugs?
The Crying Machine
For the Love of God
The Audience Is Listening
I Would Love To
Greasy Kid’s Stuff
Alien Water Kiss
Stevie’s Spanking (Frank Zappa cover)
Build Me a Song
Racing the World
Fire Garden Suite IV – Taurus Bulba