Hey folks. Well, we finally made it to Shanghai, China. My first time to visit this amazing city.
I have more photos of some past gigs and future to come but need to find time to sort.
We are having a ball!
Click for larger version:
Hey folks. Well, we finally made it to Shanghai, China. My first time to visit this amazing city.
I have more photos of some past gigs and future to come but need to find time to sort.
We are having a ball!
Click for larger version:
Musicradar.com published an interview with Steve, discussing Tom Waits.
Read the interview here:
Steve talks about “The Story of Light” tour, coming to Australia and New Zealand in less than a week! To purchase tickets and special EVO Experience passes, visit www.vai.com
I just finished up the Evo Orchestra run and will shortly be writing a recap.
When I set out on “The Story of Light ” Tour, my goal was to play over 200 shows around the world in support of this record. Well the first 98 shows were so stellar and the reviews so inspiring that I’m happy to announce another 100 shows, 35 of them in the USA. These are all territories we did not visit yet and Dave, Jeremy, Phillip and I are just chompin’ at the bit to get out there and blow up the bridge!!!.
See you at the show.
For the coming legs of the Story of Light tour, you can get your tickets and EVO packages through the vai.com frontpage. We are adding dates as they come available, so check back often!
We received quite a few raving reviews on the recent Steve Vai and the Evolution Tempo Orchestra tour.
Thanks to everyone who came out and attended the shows. If you were there, we encourage you to post your reviews on the forums!
“A Steve Vai concert is a special event by default, but when he plays with an orchestra of 50 people, then the event is even more charming. His guitar has been around the world, and where it went it has created magic.”
“The stage was looking absolutely impressive and the lights were fabulous, adding more magic to the atmosphere.”
“The sound was excellent, the music impeccable and the public was mesmerized. Unfortunately, during the second half of the concert, the audience’s greatest fear came true: it started to rain. In the beginning there was just a thunder and a lightning that looked like it wanted to compete the stage lights and then it started pouring. Some left in a hurry, but most of the people remained. That night a DVD was shot and we are curious to see if the rain has succeeded to ruin it or not. We would prefer the second version. Still, Steve Vai did not stop playing and his words helped relax the atmosphere and the end of the concert was truly special. Before Liberty, while it was raining heavily, he said: “I dedicate this song to the Gods of Rain for making this night even more special”. His music is magnificent, his dedication admirable and with the help of the talented musicians in the orchestra, Steve Vai has offered us a really remarkable show. The Roman Arenas have bounced to the rhythm of rock and symphony in one night that the rain has failed to destroy, making it even more memorable.”
“There’s no doubt about it, seeing Steve Vai playing guitar on stage in his own style, transmitting a unique sentiment with every riff, it’s a truly special moment. And if you are lucky enough to see him for the second or third time live, then you are truly blessed, especially since the artist seems to feel like home in Romania.”
“It’s hard to find the right words to describe what comes out of this mix of mastery and deep emotion, that Vai and the orchestra perfectly conducted by George Natsis are transmitting. Only those who were present on Tuesday at the Roman Arenas can understand why Steve Vai’s music is truly entitled to be called art.”
“You cannot describe the state of mind that embraces you when Steve Vai comes on stage, smiling and relaxed, the vibration that takes over you, or the trance you get in the minute you hear the first chord and that holds you captive not only during the concert, but long after you have went home, soaking wet from the unexpected summer rain”
“A midsummer night’s dream having Steve Vai in leading role, unleashed, joking and in maximum shape. Steve Vai has demonstrated once again, if needed, why he cannot be included in just one musical category. His vision is unique and he can easily electrify the audience, make it quiet and then bring it to the heights of artistic ecstasy.”
“The renowned guitarist makes you sigh and the leaves you breathless. That’s precisely what happened Tuesday at the Roman Arenas. Besides his magical guitar and the show he has offered both as a musician and a human, the orchestra conducted by George Natsis has led the fairy tale feeling to the extreme. The concert was more that a show of sound, light and color, it was the harmony between classical music and rock and the result of a perfect match between Vai’s artistic spirit and the talent of the young musicians in the EVO orchestra.”
“Steve Vai, a king of guitar”
“Steve Vai, with he same overwhelming energy, stating again his passion for music and guitar”
“Vai has played Velorum, that represented 6 minutes of ongoing spiritual extasy”
“The Murder, Gentle Ways, Whispering a Prayer, The Attitude Song or I’m Becoming have mixed different sensations, almost transcendental”
“The Crying Machine and Fire Garden Suite, very expressive creations, with an impressive audio texture, the audience literally devouring every note.”
“If thunder and lightning have sent some people home, the others wanted to show their love for the remarkable music of Steve Vai, undressing in the rain and getting unleashed with their hands in the air.“
“The Still Small Voice”
The 70 piece North Netherland Orchestra (NNO) performances in Holland on May 24th and 25th 2013 were marvelous for me. We premiered a new composition I wrote called “The Still Small Voice”. The whole concept for this piece came to me in a flash. The idea was for me to start the piece on my guitar with a simple 3-note motif that was extracted from “The Middle of Everywhere” and then hold the last note for a full 17 minutes by using the sustainer on my guitar, while the orchestra weaved musical tapestries around it.
“The Still Small Voice” was actually written as the second part to “The Middle of Everywhere” which was also performed on the two nights in May, but was originally premiered about 2 years ago with the NNO.
“The Middle of Everywhere” is very dense, complex, and mechanical sounding. I used a technique I call non rhythmic counterpoint in which at no point in the entire movement is one note held longer than another. This creates quite a tension.
Metaphorically it’s sort of a depiction of the awareness of man being completely trapped in it’s own self made egoic mind patterns and identity without any awareness of it’s connection to it’s true origin.
In contrast, the music for the Second Part, “The Still Small Voice’ is relatively easy and is in contrast to the 1st part.
“The Still Small Voice” starts with the 3-note theme that is woven throughout “The Middle of Everywhere”, with the last note, the “ F ” above middle “ C ” being held through the entire piece on the guitar. At first various instruments enter and slowly start to separate (one note at a time) from the rigid linearness they were trapped in during the first Part.
It’s as if the notes themselves find their independence as they break away and discover they can start moving independently of each other. Soon they start to create counterpoint and the various movements of the second part morph into a multitude of dynamics, harmonic and rhythmic proportions. All this while I hold the still small note at the top of my attention and the tip of my finger.
Metaphorically, (and there always seems to be a ‘metaphorically’) this movement is representative of the evolution of the awareness of man as he enters into the era of consciously dwelling in the dimensions of both the physical and the spiritual. This is where man becomes aware of his own creative potential and exercises it in the world.
I imagined the one note would take on multiple and colored dimensions based on the continued shifting of the music that underscored it. Conceptually the one note is the representation of the stillness in the depth of our being where all inspiration arises, while the orchestra movement represented the myriad thought patters that race through our head, the mind noise so to speak.
One of my challenges was to get this one note, an F, to work throughout the melodic and harmonic structures of the entire Second Part, “The Still Small Voice”.
In visualizing myself performing this piece I imagined standing perfectly still for the full 17 minute duration with very subtle facial and body gestures (and a little vibrato here and there). This delicate movement would illustrate the connection between the still small voice within and the triggering of the mind patterns that arise when we move with inspirational creativity to manifest our insights into the world.
After I waxed on visually in my head about the piece there was a moment after that where I had to face the reality of how an audience might react with a statue of Vai holding one note for 17 minutes. I suspected many people would be expecting shredder Vai to blister away over the orchestra, (and I do like to do that on occasion) but I knew it would take a different kind of attention from the audience’s perspective to stay with this piece. A more focused, more spacious concentration then what most people might be used to.
But I felt if they stayed with the piece they might be able to experience that elusive sensation of sheer exquisiteness in art. Or perhaps we would discover that I’m just an eccentric loony-bird. Eh… I’m ok with either.
Any concern I may have had in regards to the audience’s response was dwarfed by the intensity of the inspiration to create the piece exactly the way I was imagining it.
I believe many of the folks who are drawn to what I do expect the unexpected so I knew this concept would give those people what they were expecting, so I hunkered down for 6 weeks of 20-hour days and composed “The Still Small Voice”.
I worked in shifts of approximately 20 hours and then would sleep for 6-8 hours, then wake and continue the cycle. Days seemed longer with this method and my attention can go unbroken for longer periods. Working this way is not a constant way of life for me but is good for particular projects. I also worked into this schedule a balance of physical exercise, meditation and family time.
I constructed the entire score within a notational program by “Make Music” called “Finale”. This was the first time I had worked this way. In the past I would usually write everything out by hand and then give it to someone to load into a computer but by going through the learning curve of composing directly into the computer I was able to streamline certain activities and eventually found swifter ways of laying out robust ideas directly into a score. I then was able to extract the parts from the score for the various musicians and hand in the score and parts in time for the orchestra to learn the music for the performances.
The rehearsal process went smooth and the moment of truth had arrived, the concerts themselves.
After performing the piece the first night I think the audience was a bit stunned at what they had seen… or didn’t see. I can totally understand this. They seemed to be confused. I could hear their minds and it appeared that some got it and some didn’t.
That night I had a vision on how I could refine my performance for future performances. This vision took shape the second night where I felt more confident and in tune with the one single note and the connection it had with the orchestra and the music.
Performing “The Still Small Voice” the second night was perhaps a career highlight for me. Standing there holding that one note with razor sharp attention and feeling it’s vibrations washing over me and spilling into the audience as the orchestra ebb and flowed in a surrealistic surround sound resonation, was something I will never forget.
The way the audience responded this night led me to believe they felt the same way.
Perhaps because the word got out what I was going to do and they knew a little bit more what to expect.
I’m still dreaming about it. That performance is haunting me beautifully. There is great satisfaction in having a unique idea, creating it and then enjoying it. It’s a life gift. To some extent I actually feel as though I was honoring one of my creative purposes in life. I felt, and still feel, tremendous gratitude over the whole experience, from the moment the idea came to this moment right now.
Both performances were recorded but were not video taped. I’m not sure why I opted not to video tape but perhaps something inside was telling me to wait until I perform the piece a few more times to get a handle on the vibe of it. I feel as though not filming was the right choice.
In regards to what I heard from various people after the shows…
Well, after the first night’s performance I did a little meet and greet, actually there were like 400 people there, and the moment I sat on the comfy couch to be interviewed, a very heavily intoxicated woman broke through the guard rope and virtually attacked me. She got about 3 inches, (maybe 1 inch) from my face and while grabbing my collar and shaking my head she screeched at me… “Don’t ever do anything like that again, it was shit, you are better than this orchestra shit, don’t ever do that again, I saw you in Tilburg and you were amazing, why are you doing this shit!!!!!!!!!!!.” etc. etc. Her putrid breath and vile spit spewing into my being! All I could do was yell for help. ahh, that was one perspective.
Fortunately the creative director of the symphony and my friends at hand enjoyed it very much. But my harshest and most insightful critic, and perhaps the one person who seems to have a fair equanimity and inspired insight into my work, and the one person who I’m comfortable taking cues from, my wife Pia, gave it a big approval.
Here’s another perceptive that came to me from a long time friend, who can at times be very critical.
last Friday, May 24th (the day of the premiere), I think I had
the privilege to witness one of the highest and glorious spots of your
The Middle of Everywhere rendition was quite a thing, despite
the fact you were not on stage, but in my opinion, the genius really
showed up right afterwards – twice at the same time (I mean both your
physical presence and your skills) – during the Still Small Voice
performance, when I saw you keeping a single note for at least 15
minutes while the orchestra behind you was developing that marvelous
range of melodies, I’d say the most lyrical ones in the latest phase.
Quite a remarkable thing from a shredder, often pointed out as a
fretboard wanker only capable of playing too many notes…at the end of
the day: from a million notes to just one, that’s pure genius (to
Thanks to Andrea Cardillo for the above perspective, and also thanks to the inebriated woman who screamed profanities at me as her perspective is valid also.
So folks, I’m hoping to make this recording available soon.
Frankly, I don’t think it’s good or bad, I think it just is, but I do enjoy it. And while internet surfers and critics spin wheels trying to decide the historical value of what a person does creatively, I suggest just keep making more of what you enjoy doing.
June 23, 2013
GUITAR ALCHEMIST STEVE VAI
CONTINUES “STORY OF LIGHT 2013 TOUR”
WITH NORTH AMERICAN DATES THIS FALL
“The Story of Light…finds [Vai] continuing to push the envelope as a composer, arranger and, most of all, as a guitarist who continues to raise the bar for himself and others.” – Gibson.com
Nashville, TN – June 24, 2013: After an overwhelming enthusiastic response to his over 90 shows performed last year on his “Story of Light 2013 Tour,” virtuoso guitarist and visionary composer Steve Vai has added an additional run of North American dates. Fan reviews of the shows have been phenomenal and can be read here at ticketmaster.com.
The tour is in support The Story Of Light, his critically acclaimed solo album of original material, which Gibson.com says “finds him continuing to push the envelope as a composer, arranger and, most of all, as a guitarist who continues to raise the bar for himself and others,” was released on Favored Nations Entertainment, the label Vai founded in 1999.
Vai will kick off this solo run October 16 in Santa Cruz, CA. The Story of Light 2013 Tour will take him throughout the country, with additional shows in San Diego, Las Vegas, Birmingham, Austin and Houston. (Full List of Dates are below; visit Vai’s website for ticket information.)
The Story of Light 2013 tour will feature a unique premium package — the Evo Experience – which includes a meet and greet pass, Q&A session with Vai, access to sound check, an exclusive EVO Experience laminate and other Vai merchandise items. EVO Experience premium tickets will be available for purchase through Vai’s website, www.Vai.com. A limited number of EVO Experience tickets are available for each show.
The Story of Light is Vai’s first studio record in seven years and described by AOL’s Noisecreep as “A brilliant record, fully-loaded with all of the soaring, tasteful playing that defines Vai’s work.” The album’s sprawling and expressive 12-song set continues a conceptual and cosmic narrative arc begun on the artist’s acclaimed album Real Illusions: Reflections (2005.) The storyline follows the journey of a man driven mad by grief, intertwining tragedy, revelation, enlightenment, and redemption. Throughout, three-time GRAMMY ® Award winner Vai’s lead guitar is as lyrically resonant as it is technically masterful, his licks and solos bending sounds and listeners’ minds in equal measure.
CURRENT TOUR DATES:
Wed, Oct 16 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst
Thurs, Oct 17 San Diego, CA House of Blues
Fri, Oct 18 Ventura, CA Ventura Theatre
Sat, Oct 19 Las Vegas, NV House of Blues
Sun, Oct 20 Chandler, AZ Wildhorse Casino
Tues, Oct 22 Tucson, AZ Rialto
Wed, Oct 23 Flagstaff, AZ Orpheum Theatre
Thurs, Oct 24 Santa Fe, NM The Lensic
Sun, Oct 27 Kansas City, KS Harrah’s Voodoo Lounge
Tues, Oct 29 Columbia, MO Blue Note
Wed, Oct 30 Springfield, MO Gillioz Theatre
Thurs, Oct 31 Council Bluffs, IA Horseshoe Whiskey Road House
Fri, Nov 1 Des Moines, IA Hoyt Sherman
Sat, Nov 2 Bloomington, IL The Castle Theater
Sun, Nov 3 Joliet, IL Mojoes
Tues, Nov 5 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
Wed, Nov 6 Indianapolis, IN Egyptian Room
Thurs, Nov 7 Grand Rapids, MI The Intersection
Fri, Nov 8 Rama, ON Casino Rama *
Sat, Nov 9 Cincinnati, OH Bogart’s
Sun, Nov 10 Knoxville, TN Bijou Theatre
Tues, Nov 12 Chattanooga, TN Track 29
Wed, Nov 13 Birmingham, AL Workplay Theatre
Thurs, Nov 14 Mobile, AL Soul Kitchen
Fri, Nov 15 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
Sat, Nov 16 Baton Rouge, LA Varsity Theatre
Sun, Nov 17 Little Rock, AR Juanita’s
Tues, Nov 19 Tulsa, OK Cain’s Ballroom
Wed, Nov 20 San Antonio, TX Backstage Live
Thurs, Nov 21 Austin, TX Paramount Theatre
Fri, Nov 22 Dallas, TX House of Blues
Sat, Nov 23 Houston, TX House of Blues
*EVO experience not available on this date
Pia Hitching a ride to Turin
Click the picture above for a larger version!.
Signing the hotel guest book.
On the previous page of the hotel guest book is the signature of the Dali Lama.
Here’s a chance to win a TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb pedal signed by Steve. Go to the official TC Electronic Facebook page, ‘like’ it & you’ll be eligible to win.
Catching up with the Toto guys in Milan.
We watched their entire show. I don’t think I ever heard a band sound this good live. They played in a giant outdoor arena and it was one of those magic nights where the air was alive and electric with sound and people’s vibe. This is a band that created their own unique sound.
The perfect blending of rock, pop, fusion and a little jazz rolled into a huge accessible bundle. And Luke was of course kicking ass all over the place on his guitar.
And here we are with a few friends after the show in Madrid.
The orchestra has totally come together and are playing this music fiercely. They have been living with and playing the music for over two weeks and are more confident than ever. It’s scary how powerful they sound on this music. Only one more show left in Bucharest and I heard it’s already sold out, about 4,000.
Show day in Trieste Italy. Just walking around this beautiful city taking in the Italian culture.
Two new interviews with Steve have been published in Australia.
Visit www.theaureview.com for a brand new interview with Steve.
Various interviews have been done in preparation of the coming Australia tour. All these and various past interviews will be collected on a special interview page on vai.com in the near future.
The show in St. Petersburg Russia was wonderful. I was not exactly sure how the tracks with orchestra would be perceived but the audiences are being very generous and warm. This was shot from the car:
Here I am in the city of Minsk in the country of Belarus which is surrounded by Russia. I’m told this is the first Master class on guitar ever given in this country and one of the first performances from an American rock artist. This city is a stunner. So clean and spacious.
I took a long walk through the city center of Kiev in the Ukraine. It was a beautiful day and I found a charming little bistro for lunch. Most of the times when I’m on tour I like to escape alone and just explore.
The AGS Master Class in Kiev was held in an old castle. It was outdoors. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of it but it was an incredible place. We had over 700 people at the master class. I’m now starting to formulate a tour of 12-15 cities of Russia for late spring of next year. It’s too good here not to come back soon with the rock band. Here is my Ukranian “A” Team:
I had one of the most memorable birthdays in my life on the stage with the EVO orchestra at Crocus City Hall in Moscow Russia on June 6, 2013.
The audience was very generous. At one point they all broke into Happy Birthday in Russian, I guess.
I got back to the hotel to find an inbox and Facebook full of warm wishes.
Many thanks to all who sent them.
This cake was filled with cream and cherries, Wow!
Peace, love and good happiness stuff.
Tomsk, and Krasnoyarsk Russia Alien Guitar Secrets classes were wonderful. Very packed with enthusiastic Russian friends.
Arrived in Moscow on the 5th and appeared on a TV show that reaches 80 million Russians. I was jamming with the host. It was really quite good fun.
Woke up today in Moscow on this June 6th day and was flooded with wonderful birthday greetings.
Don’t know why but I still love my birthday as I did when I was a little boy. Just feels good and tonight is the first show of the Evolution Orchestra tour here in Moscow, and I’m as ready as I have ever been.
Peace love and good happiness stuff.