Been to a Vai show? Review it here. Please post in the appropriate thread for each show!
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Have you seen this show?

Steve and the band would love to read your reviews!

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Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2004 5:42 am

He just keeps getting better!

What a performance, totally spellbinding, with Steve backed up by what must surely be the most gifted band on the face of the planet! They're like the next step in human evolution!

The acoustic set was fantastic, for me a highlight, along with Jeremy's demonic stick skills ... a great night and it was a privilage to be there. Thanks Steve, and the Breed!
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Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2005 5:13 am

I've been a BIG fan of Steve's for the last 15-20 years, the man is like a living God to me! So it was a great privilige to have the opportunity to review the show and take photos (I'm a professional photographer as well as a musician). The photos are at
I'm a freelancer, but the review and photos will appear on the Virtual Festivals website this time around who I've done some work for over the summer. Here's the review I'm sending them:

Steve Vai’s name seems to inspire three different responses amongst the general population; ‘Who is he?’, ‘Oh yeah, the widdly guy… too technical for my taste’ and ‘woa YES!’. Most people fall into the first camp, so I’ll provide a quick history of this chap.
The chances are that if you’re a guitarist, you’ve heard of Vai. He’s a rock guitarist who came to fame in the 80s when he took Eddie Van Halen’s place as David Lee Roth’s guitarist. Years of playing for Frank Zappa gave his style compositional depth and quirkiness, and rock star good looks and attitude together with prodigious technical ability ensured his rapid rise to fame (amongst guitarists, anyway!). In 1990, Vai released a rock instrumental album titled ‘Passion and Warfare’, which explored many spiritual concepts that Vai had been experimenting with. Some tracks explored the spiritual realms opened up by the technique of lucid dreaming, and Vai fasted for ten days before recording one of the tracks in order to deeply express what this track was about. This album became a classic of the genre and showed Vai that his integrity and experimentation had paid off, the public was ready for his unique style and voice. Many people believe that Vai is all flash and no substance, ‘Passion and Warfare’ certainly has plenty of flash but the musical substance is certainly there.
As a musician, I would say that Vai has been one of my biggest influences (even when I was a classical composer), so to say I was looking forward to this gig would be a massive understatement. Vai has always found that expressing himself visually is a vitally important part of what he does as an artist, so I was jumping up and down like a nine-year-old kid who’s Christmases had all come at once when I found out I had a photo pass! I should emphasise that it’s unusual for me to feel this way… I was much more laid back when I had a photo pass for the Glastonbury Festival, which is highly coveted.
I last saw Vai live about 15 years ago when he was touring with Dave Lee Roth, his onstage antics and energy were incredible, throwing his guitars in the air constantly, ‘hoola-hooping’ the guitar around his neck and generally running around like a madman. Well, today he is still a very physical musician but the music has been given much greater priority over his physical showmanship. 15 years ago, the notes were often pretty ropey in the live performance, but it certainly looked great! Hendrix is obviously a huge influence in terms of onstage presence, but this time I can’t get over just how effortlessly and clearly Vai expresses himself without missing a note. What really impresses about Vai’s presence is just how fluid and open he is, every single joint and muscle serves to express the music, absolutely nothing is held back. He’s also very good at posing, which makes my job of taking photos very easy! It’s an incredible balance between genuine spontaneous musical expression and rock star posturing. Vai is clearly having the best time of his life, the joy in what he does is unmistakeable. Bearing in mind that before every single show, Vai spends the afternoon talking with fans who have paid more money for a premium ticket, I am absolutely amazed at where he gets this energy and dedication from. I really understand as I watch him playing live, how his guitar really is just a means to an end for him to express his spirit, and he does seem to shine ten times more brightly than all the other great musicians on stage.
The emphasis on this tour is on tracks from his latest album, ‘Real Illusions’, which I expected but am also slightly disappointed with. The most interesting songs off the album to me are ‘Dying For Your Love’ and ‘Under It All’, which are fascinating and courageous voyages of self-discovery. ‘Dying For Your Love’ is a dark and honest look at the shadow self and it’s desire for acceptance, ‘Under It All’ is a meditation on who we are underneath how we paint ourselves. Listening to these songs with headphones when I first got the album really was a profoundly cathartic experience. However, these songs aren’t being played tonight, instead we get the more straightforward rock tracks off the album such as ‘Glorious’, ‘Midway Creatures’ and ‘Building The Church’ which are great tracks but not as satisfying as some of the old material which was played on the excellent ‘Live at the Astoria’ DVD.
Vai is very generous with his musicians, allowing them all to have their long ego-gratifying solos, but to be absolutely honest, I’m not here to see them, I’m here to see Vai! I wouldn’t mind so much if these solo spots served to add to the music of the rest of the show, perhaps they could have developed on musical themes already introduced? Instead we just get ‘look how fast I can play, Ma!’ for too long from each musician, and this is a criticism from somebody who enjoys virtuosity! Tony MacAlpine showed flashes of sensitivity and creativity amongst excessive arpeggios and synth pads during his keyboard solo and the drummer Jeremy Colson built up to a nice climax during his solo, but I really wish the rest was either more musical or we had more time to listen to some classic Vai songs.
For a large part during the middle of the show, the pace mellows and Vai relaxes with his acoustic guitar. At one point, I need to go to the back of the stalls for a break. When I look at the stage, all the smoke from the fog machine during the show has settled just above the captivated heads in the front stalls like a morning mist, and the beautiful stage lighting and Vai’s spirit and love of his music makes this scene profoundly moving.
I leave with awe and gratitude, inspired by the presence of a master artist who has shared his spirit with us. I don’t think I’ll leave it another 15 years before I see him play live again.
Last edited by BobsterLobster on Tue Oct 25, 2005 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2003 8:34 am

The day Steve Vai met me! (or 'My day at the Manchester Apollo gig')

13:45 – Turned up early at the venue to get a good place to park. Had a quick walk around and found Steve at the stage door signing and posing for photographs with a group of youngsters – and this was in his own time! One lad handed Steve a CD of music he’d done and Steve said (quite sincerely) he’d try to listen to it but it was finding the time – he does get hundreds of them. But he gave the lad a smile and took the CD.

14:15 Joined the queue for the EVO experience and waited as the rest of the EVO-ists turned up with guitars, albums etc.

14:45 Mikey (thanks for a great day Mikey!) arrives and walks down the queue checking us off his list and handing out our passes. Then it’s into the venue and up to the balcony to watch the sound check.

15:15 – Steve arrives to a ripple of applause and takes his place on a stool in front of us. (Mikey is filming Steve from behind us).
First thing Steve does is to look around and engage each one of us in eye contact for a moment (a kind of non-verbal hello) and then the Q and A is underway.
First impressions of Steve are - what a grounded, down to earth guy he is. There is no guitar-god ego here – just an unassuming guy who is clearly focussed on the music he produces. Listening to him talk around some of the creative processes and the reasons why he produces the music that he does gives you a new perspective on his unique style of music. And he tells the most wonderful funny stories (Steve – if you’re reading this – you should have more of these in the show. You have the gift of the raconteur!). Also during the Q and A, EVO (Steve’s main guitar) was passed around so we could all have a quick play and a photo taken with it.

16:15 – The Q and A ends and then its time for Steve to sign everything - CDs, Albums, Guitars and even one girl’s back (to be tattooed the next day!) – and to pose for photos. This he did happily, chatting to each of us and with no sense of boredom or wanting to be elsewhere. (I got my CD covers/Jem backplate signed and got to shake hands with the great man!)

16:45 – Off downstairs to watch the sound check. Now that was loud! Those kick drums made my eyeballs rattle! Part of the sound check was an acoustic jam (with Eric Sardinas) that may make it onto a future CD release, who knows? – but it was not part of the final show and it was very nice. At the end of the sound check Steve turns to us and says ‘Enjoy the Show’.

18:00 – That’s it, the EVO experience is over. I would have to recommend it to anyone interested in Steve’s music; just to hear the great man talking about his music is worth it alone. I got the real sense that Steve was genuinely enjoying meeting and chatting to his fans – and we certainly enjoyed meeting and chatting to him. A nice guy is Mr Vai – thanks for a great day.

20:15 – Showtime! Once again, Mr. Vai does not disappoint. No one plays guitar quite like Steve Vai – because no one can. From the opening number (“Glorious”?) to the finale (“For the Love of God”) – it was music, emotion, showmanship, humour and fun all mixed together. The music from the new album (which I thought until the gig was so-so) was spectacular! “Freak Show Excess” was just that! And “Building the Church” – wow! Once again I sat through the whole concert with a huge grin as Steve’s playing astounded and entertained. (That’s why I’ll always come back to see Steve Vai play – each time there is something which is better than the last time). Steve’s interaction with the crowd is great and I think the crowd genuinely appreciate his shows; I’m not sure how long the standing ovation at the end would have gone on for if Steve hadn’t held his hands up!
Of course Steve’s not up there on his own and the rest of the guys – “The Breed” – aided and abetted Steve admirably. Loved the drummer’s duet with Steve - that was one of the funniest points of the gig. But had to laugh out loud at the end when Billy Sheehan swapped his bass for Tony McAlpine’s electric guitar and let rip! What a player!!!
And as if things couldn’t get any better – I caught the last pick that Steve threw into the crowd. :D

23:45 – Finally fall into bed exhausted. But the kind of exhaustion that you had as a kid when Santa had brought you all the Christmas presents you’d asked for and you’d spent all day playing with them. See you next time in Manchester, Mr Vai!

Quick shout to the nice folks I met at the gig – Ed (and his mates) who’d driven a long way to be there – and the girl who’s back was getting tattooed with Steve’s autograph the next day – hope it survived!

Last edited by Oliver_Reed on Tue Oct 25, 2005 9:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 9:08 am

Thanks survived . got back about half an hour ago!!!!HURT!!!But very worth it. Eric also signed my back....but That sig was way too big unfortunatley.I will catch him again :D
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Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:20 am

I thought the performance was amazing.

Steve was awesome. I especially liked Whispering a Prayer and Lotus Feet. Dave's little solo was beautiful. And Billy's bass playing. Whoa! I think Glorious was the perfect opener.

Unfortunately, were I was sat (Row M near the front) the sound sucked a lot of the time. The drums overpowered everything, the vocals (not during the acoustic set) were completely indistinct and Steve's solos got lost in the mix. Can't wait for the DVD so I can watch some songs again properly. FTLOG started quite disappointingly I thought. Sounded a bit out of tune. Then again, I compare every performance of that song to the G3 '96 DVD which IMO is the penultimate performance of that song. Maybe it was captured better on camera. The acoustic set was brilliant. It was great to hear Steve play Melissa's Garden.

A great night.

-Danny :D
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Joined: Fri May 14, 2004 1:42 am

Firstly, what a fantastic show by Eric Sardinas and his new band...
If you would like further information on Eric then check out his official website:

Steve Vai as always was excellent and the Breed superb. 'Whispering a Prayer' was fantastic as was 'For the Love of God'..! Good to meet you again Mr Vai at the aftershow!

Richard Booth.
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Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 10:11 am

Firstly, the username is a joke and after last nights performance, I don't think that there is anyone in this world at Vai's standard!

I will never forget last night! I’m only 15 but I don’t expect to see such an exceptional concert for a long time.

Jeremy Colson introduced Eric Sardinas and immediately the stage went dark before ‘Respect Tradition’ (Sardinas’s logo) appeared at the back. His band came on and played for 45 minutes. They played a lively set with some excellent songs. My personal favourite was the song (sorry no name) where he began singing and playing quietly on his own before his band entered and he continued with some excellent riffs and singing.

After the 30-minute break Vai began to speak to the crowd through his guitar. Colson came out first, followed by Billy, Dave and Tony, who all played the intro to Dying For Your Love (what a beginning)…then Vai appeared with his double neck guitar. Glorious was phenomenal! Building The Church emphasised Vai’s superb technique, as did Km Pee Du Wee. Seeing him perform that song made me realise just how difficult that song is.

I’m pleased that Steve played an acoustic set because it has persuaded me to play and appreciate more acoustic music.

My personal favourites last night were Whispering Prayer, Building The Church, Freak Show (what a band performance), Rescue Me Or Bury Me, Lotus Feet and For The Love Of God.

Each of the solos was awesome. Vai must have the ultimate band. Tony was excellent on both the keyboard and on his guitar, Jeremy :shock: :evil: ,he is unbelievably good and he is only in his twenties. (I didn’t know that he’s worked with Marty Friedman). Billy (is it just me or did I see sweep picking on the bass) is the BEST BASS PLAYER IN THE WORLD!!! Also, Dave really performed well last night. I was impressed with his talent and ability on the guitar as well as his confidence (great acoustic party piece)! :guitar

Finally, the crowd were brilliant. It seemed that Vai really appreciated us all last night because I could see it in his eyes after FTLOG when he just smiled and looked all around the audience before thanking us. Also, what a great Zappa story.

Steve, congratulations on touring for 25 years. Please be back on tour soon.

P.S. If only I could have afforded to go on the EVO Experience…

Photos anyone?
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Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2004 2:34 pm

For Sale

My Collection of Guitars
Genuine Reason for Sale - Last Night Witnessed mastery and discipline of Guitar playing of such a stratospheric standard cannot bear to touch them again. :shock: That Steve Vai sure does discourage a lot of up and coming boys. :oops:

Thought selling them would be a better idea than burying them like I did last Summer, when he was last here!

Nothing else to add ...... Its already been said in the other messages.

By the way it was f*&^ing Loud! :evil:
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OK..I was half way through my quirky notes about the wolvo show when I'm getting ready for this and my Long awaited Evo experience..all i could possible do right now after a long trip back to Birmingham and only 2 and half hours of sleep(apart from the occasional nodding off on a virgin..(train that is!) say
I will be posting words on the two shows and the evo that I had the joy to experience.

and to thank right away Mikey for setting this up, amazing bud!Steve and the Breed for a Great day!!and alot of life memories, and to all the fellow'rs who where there to share the fun.

Special Mention to Honey B partner in crime :wink:
My buddy R1 :wink:
THE BIG BAD(BBB) your a star!
Boon Dog and his lovely lady

AND a few of the guys so sorry i never caught your names or i did but my age has let me down again.

BobsterLobster was that you who i had a chat with by the doors and through the show..about your cam..hey thats a lovely review! by the way glad you came along to share that to all the fans :wink:

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Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2005 4:38 am

:D :D :D :D :D :D

The other people here have written decent thinks about last nights show..Excellent reviews all...Here's my review of the show!..... :D

5.15pm. Arrived at The Apollo. There must of been around 10 people waiting outside. Within around 30 minutes of me and my girlfriend Jo arriving that number of people must of grown by about 50. There was a guy in a shellsuit walking around buying spare tickets off people. In front of me was a young lad with i guess who was his dad. He bought 2 tickets from this lad for £20. Bargain. And probably sold them to someone else for about £50 each. Also to note was it was raining in pure british style lol. Not long after the same guy buying spare tickets was selling Vai t-shirts for £5 each. After speaking to R1 earlier today,turns out they are not genuine shirts. I looked at one of these shirts, it says Steve Vai on the front with Real Illusions,on the back the same but with a pic of Steve and tour dates until the 12th of November. Also there was another ticket tout who looked like Huggy Bear, old man's cap,purple jacket,and he looked really funny to me!. I also saw most of the Evo people come out wearing their passes, a blonde haired girl, who i saw near the ladies toilets later around 7.00pm. I'm guessing that was Honey Badger?.

6.30pm. The doors opened and me & my gf Jo went inside. I went straight to the Tour Programme Booth and bought one for £6. And got short changed £4. But never mind that. Had a look at some of the tour shirts/cd's etc on sale. Went upstairs to the bar, the usual quick drink/cig. Then we made our way to our seats,which were Row A seats 41 & 42 front circle. Took a few pics of the stage/Steve's rig etc.

7.05pm. Eric Sardinas came on. He played till roughly 7.50pm. Eric and his band were quite excellent. And i must say he was extremely LOUD. I was impressed by how much noise 3 musicians could make. I hadn't heard his music until lasy nights.Impressedby his style. Beer bottle slide and spitting his beer in the air covering himself with it was great. We went back to the bar for a quick break for 10 mins.

8.10pm. Time for the main show. Steve started by talking to the crowd with his guitar. Which i loved. The Breed slowly made their way on stage. All the lights were quite low. Enter the main man STEVE VAI. Huge ovation from the crowd as you might of guessed. I can't think of the entire setlist right now. But i don't recall any entra songs that wern't played at the other shows on the tour. One think i must say is Steve & The Breed were very LOUD. I expected LOUD but not THAT LOUD. My chair was vibrating all night. Higlights song for me were, The Audience Is Listening, Building The Church, The Reeper, Get The Hell Outta Here, Glorious, Lotus Feet, Midway Creatures, For The Love Of God, Whispering A Prayer. Steve Stopped playing on this song about 30 seconds into it, obviously not happy with his sound, but that was quickly sorted. If you heard a huge "Yeaaaaah" come from above,slightly to the left at the start of this, THAT WAS ME. Hahaha. Couldn't help it. After the last song everyone stood up and gave the main man a huge ovation,and Steve stood there for what seemed 5 minutes looking around almost getting eye contact with everyone. That was a magic moment for everyone i think!.

11.15pm. Made my way outside and went home. And again it was still raining. I went home with a buzz in my left ear. And as i type this its still there, seriouslly. But not as bad. I'm guessing that will pass soon. I must of hurt my ears with the sound being so LOUD. Anyone else get this?

I took a few pics of the show. Some turned out ok. Others not so good. Overall i loved every minute of it. And will definatly see Steve again time UK tour.

Loz :D
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Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 11:38 am

Getting lost on the way into Manchester we got a bit lost and it took us a while to find the venue.

Steves performance (and that of the band) was truely amazing and i enjoyed every min of it.

I have to agree with Crispsandwich in saying the sound did suck. (i was way up the back in row Q) and some times the lighting didnt seem right. But non the less i really enjoyed the concert. The one thing that really made me smile was 2 rows in front of me there was a family sat with 2 kids, one about 10, the other around 7, half way through i noticed the younger lad had fallen asleep !!!! HOW??? LOL.

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Joined: Fri May 14, 2004 2:26 am

Wonderful, wonderful wonderful!!
Spellbound for 3 hours at this man - my only complaint was the security guard who told me to put my camera away, then glared at me everytime I moved my hand near my coat!

And waiting 35 mins in the pouring rain was well worth it to meet the man himself:
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Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:17 pm

Wow, what a great night. My first ever Steve Vai concert. I have been a fan of Steve since the early days. The set list was awesome, practically the G3 tour. Yes, it was loud and I enjoyed every minute of it. This was a once in a lifetime experience and I am glad to have been present.

Shame I could not stay longer but the show did not finish untill 11pm and the last train was 11:39pm. I really wanted to meet Steve and Eric. Definitely next time. Thanks for the superb performance guys.

Steve, did you see me? Row S - guy with the white shirt. I waved every chance I got, lol. :)

Here is a few pics I took.

Last edited by Avanze on Tue Oct 25, 2005 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2005 7:50 am

Not enough credit goes to the lighting design - its top notch, as shown in the pictures. I have nothing to add to everyone else except it was the best show on this here planet right now.
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