ALIVE IN AN ULTRA WORLD (2001)
The Story Of Light
'This is an indulgent compilation of music with many little guitar notes!' -Steve Vai
Released:
June 19, 2001
Label:
Epic Records / Sony Music E2K85183

This is a double live album of new music, recorded on tour worldwide.


DISC 1
1.01. Giant Balls Of Gold (Poland)
2.Burning Rain (Japan)
3.The Black Forest (Germany)
4.Alive In An Ultra World (Slovenia)
5.Devil’s Food (Holland)
6. Blood And Glory (UK)
7.Whispering A Prayer (Ireland)
8. Iberian Jewel (Spain)
DISC 2
1.The Power Of Bombos (Greece)
2.Incantation (Bulgaria)
3.Light Of The Moon (Australia)
4.Babushka (Romania)
5.Being With You (In Paris) (France)
6.Principessa (Italy)
7.Brandos Costumes (Gentle Ways) (Portugal)

Band
Steve Vai- Guitar, vocals and musical tormentor of the band
Mike Keneally- Keyboards, guitar, vocals and never complaining once about any of the massive fatigue that is usually the result of such an undertaking. (And always smiling while doing it)
Mike Mangini-drums and getting through it. He most certainly had the roughest job and suffered the most physical damage.
Philip Bynoe-Bass, vocals and moral support for myself when I thought it was too much for everyone and almost stopped the recordings.
Dave Weiner-Guitar, Acoustic guitar, Choral sitar and probably more valuable to the completion of these recordings than me. I just bought the recording gear but every night he set it up and took the 8-10 hours that was needed to download the stuff to disk. If Dave were not on this tour with his tireless work ethic, perhaps this record would not have been made.
Chris Frazier- Drums on Whispering a Prayer and rekindling an old friendship.
Eric Goldberg-Keyboards on Whispering a Prayer and cultivating a new friendship.

These are all good people who unconditionally put out for this record and whom I am honored to have stood beside on the stage. Though many fine moments were had, the ones I will remember most fondly were the 3 minutes before each show when as a group of guys we huddled together and said a prayer before we took to the stage. Each night a different guy would speak his heart for the encouragement of the group. If you were a fly on the wall, among other things, you would hear sincere words of thanks and gratitude for the opportunity we had to actually travel the world, perform for people who in fact showed up to the concerts even though there were many other things they could do that night, and for having the opportunity to share God’s most benevolent of gifts, music.
Steve Weston: House engineer
Doug Kimball: House engineer
Dave Weiner: Studio engineer on live recording
Steve Vai and Neil Citron: editing, mixing and mastering engineers
Nigel Paul: House engineer on Whispering a Prayer

Recorded on hard disk through a Macintosh G3 power book using Logic Audio software and a Mark of the Unicorn Motu as a converter.
Edited, mixed and mastered at “The Harmony Hut” Encino, California by Steve Vai and Neil Citron

Alive In An Ultra World
Lyrics by Steve Vai

I didn’t know that the weight of the world
Could crush you with its demons
I didn’t think I could rise above
Must have been a guardian angel

I can’t believe how much blood is shed
From religion and it’s politics
I can’t speak for God
But I bet he’s got nothing to do with it

But we’re alive in an Ultra World
And it’s bigger than life and it’s good
To feel ultra real in an ultra life
‘Cause you never might fell it again
You better hold on till the end

I didn’t know how good I was
At emotional deception
You never see the writing on the wall
Unless you’re the one who writes it

I only know that what I thought I knew
Was really my own dark perception
Heaven knows how I carried that cross
To a glorious crucifixion


The Power Of Bombos
Lyrics by Steve Vai

A dark night
In a cold city
Hell in the air
Dreams have stopped and love is dead
Desperation
Nobody goes to sleep
Because everybody’s dreams were dead
or frozen.

Oh pray…
for your soul.
Come.
Come.

All the people’s dreams were held prisoner
It is time for the fall from grace, the fall into fire
We must get down hard into our souls
Now purge.

Oh, there ain’t no life nowhere

Hail the power of Bombos!

Now… they can dream again!

Dream again!


Light Of The Moon
Lyrics by Steve Vai

She never knew how cold it gets
Alone in a city she never will forget
As tears seem to fall like lead
Into his silent and empty bed
They were never meant to be alone
In two cities they never could call home

And all his letters she holds to her breast
So his words she could breathe into herself…And they said…

We could go live in a city down under
Where all the sun shines and people are good
And the melodies flow in rainbows of colors
And we’ll dance in the silvery light of the moon
We could be drinking the light of the moon

Without him her days are dark
She can’t see the sun rise or even the stars
He stares into her picture frame
Remembering her laughing while running in the rain
And he regrets the things he said
That broke her down the day that she left

But life’s too precious to let it slip away
And now her message is clear as a bell…And it says…


Being With You (In Paris)
Lyrics by Steve Vai
Translation to French and recital by John Pusztai

Je n’oublierai jamais ces jours merveilleux, qui sont si clairs dans mon ceur et ma mémoire.
Les choses simples semblaient si profondes.
Puis il y a cette photo : le soleil brille au dessus de la Seine, le ciel rempli de couleurs que des artistes ont tentés de capturer pendant des siècles.
Tu es debout sur le pont ; la tour Eiffel à ta gauche fait figure de vieille amie, parlant des amoureux avec lesquels elle a posé par le passé.
Cette ville appelle le respect. Elle a brillé au fil du temps, avec ses victoires.
La richesse de son art et de sa culture scintillent dans nos yeux heureux, pendant que nous mémorisons les bruits et les saveurs des rues piétonnes
Et si jamais nous ne pouvons plus nous voir et nous embrasser dans la magie de cette ville, la mélodie ne changera jamais et me rappellera toujours Paris avec toi.

English:
I’ll never forget those wonderful days that are so clear in my heart and my mind. The simple things seemed so profound.
There is that photo – the sun is shining above the Seine, the sky is filled with colors that artists have tried to capture for centuries.
You are standing on the bridge. To your left, the Eiffel Tower is like an old friend, talking about lovers it has posed with in the past.
Such a beautiful city deserves our respect and admiration. It has stood the test of time, throughout its victories.
The richness of its art and culture is reflecting in our delighted eyes as we try and memorize the noises and smells of the pedestrian streets.
And even if we don’t get to kiss again in the magic of this city, the melody will never change, and will always remind me of being in Paris with you.

This is an indulgent compilation of music with many little guitar notes!

Sitting in the Sebel Hotel bar Wednesday, February 6th, 1997 in Perth, Australia, that’s when it happened. The concept was to compose music for a live album that would be recorded at the concerts in various countries. The songs would reflect elements of the traditional music of the culture of the country they were recorded in. Unfortunately, the Fire Garden tour I was on at the time was nearly over and it was not going to be for another 2 years that another world tour would be launched. It was a cool idea but a logistical nightmare. First we had to build a mobile studio that would retain state of the art quality of the recordings and have the flexibility to be set up every night, and work without fail. Then there was the research involved in studying the music of these cultures and extracting the basic gist to create an original composition, then orchestrating the arrangements for a 5-piece rock band.

The Ultra Zone was released on September 7, 1999 and a world tour was scheduled. The tour was to take us to 32 different countries to perform a total of 104 shows, and it all worked. The title is derived form the fact that it’s A-Live CD recorded in various countries around the World on the Ultra Zone tour: Alive in an Ultra World.

The music had to be written and rehearsed while on tour and that meant long sound checks every day before a show. And then there was the reality of the tremendous finance and the wear and tear on a group of guys who already are holding onto their health and precious sleeping hours dearly while on tour, without having to worry about 4-5 hour sound checks before the show.

The concept came in a flash. The reality of making it real in the world took 4 years, a lot of dedication and love, and a tremendous amount of sweat beads, but guess what? You’re holding it in your hand.

Men like to promise themselves that they will do certain things in their life that many times they never get to. Sequestering myself with traditional music from various countries of the world and writing an album based on these cultures, and recording these songs in these exotic countries was one of these fantasies of mine. When the temptation and the incessant daydreams reached an uncontrollable peak, the construction of this record became a reality. My psyche had a push-come-to-shove experience.

It was virtually impossible to hit all the target markets with completed songs that were rehearsed and ready to be recorded at the shows within the countries they were written for. In some cases there was no time for sound checks and some venues would not let us record without paying extraordinary amounts of money for the privilege of using their halls. Occasionally this resulted in the writing of the song in one country, the rehearsal in another, and the recording in yet another.

Is it all live? Aren’t there any overdubs? Yes there are. The odds that the sound consoles in some of these places would work and pass beautiful and clean signals to the hard drive every night were slim. Some recordings sounded better than others, and on some nights, well maybe the kick drum or the toms or keys or even guitar didn’t make it to the hard drive. In these cases they had to be replaced in the studio. Oh well. Such is the fate of a project like this. But the integrity of the song and the listening experience is intact, so I believe.

This band gave it their all. Never complaining and always encouraging, they took to the stage like dutiful soldiers for countless hours of rehearsal. I thank them endlessly.