REVIEWS: 08 SEP 2007 - TEMPE, AZ

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Jeroen
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REVIEWS: 08 SEP 2007 - TEMPE, AZ

#1 Post by Jeroen » Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:37 am

Did you see this show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, AZ?

Please post your review of the show here. Steve and the band love reading your reviews.

Please do not post in this thread if you did not attend the show.

Jeroen 8)
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#2 Post by jem777az » Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:31 am

Great show from Steve and the band as always. Whispering A Prayer and Tender Surrender were just beautiful. Freak Show Excess was phenomenal! I don't remember the whole set but here are some of the songs I do remember (not in order):

Building the Church
Freak Show Excess
Firewall
Die To Live
Juice
Tender Surrender
FTLOG
Liberty
Answers
All About Eve (acoustic) with a little bit of Damn Good from DLR
Fire Garden Suite
Whispering a Prayer
Oooo
The Crying Machine


There were a few technical problems though. About 1/3 of the way through during Die To Live, Steve's guitar strap broke on FLO. He said that he had never had that happen and was going to have to start from the top because of that. His tech initially brought out the Chrome Jem with the LED's, but Steve said he wanted EVO instead. During Jeremy's drum solo, the smoke machines onstage set off the fire alarms to the venue. Because of this the power to the Marquee was completely shut off. Someone came onstage and announced that once all the smoke was cleared the power could come back on. It took about 20 minutes in all for the power to come back on. I spoke with Dave Weiner at the aftershow meet and greet and he said that they cut 2 songs "The Audience Is Listening" and "The Murder", because of the power situtation. I guess Steve was concerned that the crowd was becoming restless and bored and he didn't want to resume the show with Jeremy's drum solo. Believe it or not, a few people actually left the show during the power outage.

The aftershow meet and greet was great, Steve was very humble and respectful even though he tends to get mobbed by everyone. I talked to Jeremy for a few minutes and he is a super nice guy, we talked drums and about the fact that he was going to include some Sepultura songs in his solo. Dave Weiner is just awesome, I always hear great things about him and now I know why. He was kind enough to just shoot the breeze and talk guitar gear with me for 20 mins! It's rare you find someone as genuine and kind in this business. I also must note that Brian is super nice too, even though I only got to chat with him for a minute. I didn't get a chance to talk to Annemarie, but she seems like an angel. And god is she beautiful!

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#3 Post by JibboominAZ » Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:08 am

The show was incredible, Tender Surrender was amazing and FTLOG is awesome with violins!

The full set list

Now We Run
Oooo
Building The Church
Tender Surrender
Firewall
Crying Machine
Dave's Solo
I'm Becoming
Die To Live
Freak Show Excess
Violin Solo
All About Eve
Jeremy showing off "The Beast"
Angel Food
Drum Solo
Juice
Whispering a Prayer
Taurus Bulba
Liberty
Answers
For the Love of God

Overall the show was great. The smoke machine incident kind of sucked but at least there wasn't a real fire. Too bad Steve didn't come back on stage playing "There's a Fire in the House" that would have been hilarious.

Orianthi was amazing she totally blew me away, I hope I get the chance to see her play again someday!

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#4 Post by BillEarl » Sun Sep 09, 2007 11:21 am

Holy Cow, people; you HAVE to get to this show if it's anywhere near you.

Steve, the band and their crew were wonderful as always. Steve's playing just keeps getting technically better and more emotional at the same time. Please, please, PLEASE make a recording and film of this band.

Mikey was a wonderful host as always for the Evo experience; thanks much for getting us out of that heat as early as possible - I'm used to it, and Saturday was much better than it's been lately, but it was still nice to get inside.

Steve was as gracious as always during the Q&A. We are so lucky that Steve's talent was given to such a nice, regular, guy. :) Listening to Steve answer the questions, it's clear he really cares about the fans and seems to really enjoy the Q&A sessions.

Orianthi was a great opening act. I could have listened to her play for another half hour, but things were already running very, very late.

Which brings us to... the venue. I've had mixed experiences at the Marquee Theater. I'll admit to liking it much better when it was the Red River Music Hall and had seats and acoustic tiles in the ceiling. I admire what the Marquee is doing, having local bands as often as possible, reasonable ticket prices, decent sound and lighting facilities, but dang it just seems like the staff, nice as they are, are amateurs.

A relatively small smoke effect from a drum kit (STAGE smoke at that) sets off the fire alarms? The fire alarm system causes all power in the building to shut off (the Exit lights stayed on at least)? WTH??

The sound was decent, but nothing special. The Marquee seems unable to provide clear loud sound. I could hear the soloists well enough, and the mix was getting better as the show went along, but still, Steve deserves a better venue in Phoenix. At least it's better than the Cajun House in Scottsdale (painful memories from the Ultra Zone tour), but it sure would be nice to see Steve in the Dodge Theater, or even Center Stage, if our local promoters don't think they could put enough seats in the seats to make the Dodge worthwhile.

But back to the show, the highlight for me was the duet violin spotlight. It was very cool to see a rock crowd cheering for two violinists. There may be hope for that old instrument yet. ;)

A wonderful night, fantastic show, not dampened a bit by the problems at the venue. Great work by everyone in the band. I hope you're really having as much fun as it looks like you are.

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what happened to zach as opening act?

#5 Post by breadmanjfp » Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:26 pm

is zach weisenger still the opening act as he was on the Euorpean tour?...what happened ?...I know zach and the reviews were mostly favorable about his unique personality and musical talents...just wondering if it was Steve's decision or Zach's or a mutual one?...or is he coming back?...just curious...

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Tempe Show

#6 Post by wattam » Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:01 pm

What an interesting evening!! When I told my friends in Phoenix I would be flying out for the Vai concert and told them where it was going to be held, they were like, "that dump!" (Their words not mine!). But, since it was Steve, everybody agreed to join me for the show! When I got to the venue for the EVO part, I was pleased to see that the place wasn't a 'dump' but a very nice, clean facility. Nothing fancy but I've been to much worse places to hear a band I want to hear!

So my friend Dawn and I get there about 3:15 for the EVO and My God! How hot it is here! I was dying - plus I was exhausted from going to the show the previous night in Vegas. While waiting for things to get going, here comes a horse walking thru the parking lot and who is on board but Jeremy!!!! My first thought watching him was, "he doesn't know how to ride in an English saddle" and my second thought was, "where is his helmet?"!!!!! No offense, but it doesn't take much to spook a horse and if you aren't used to that kind of saddle you can end up on the pavement pretty quickly (yes, I speak from experience and have the surgery scars to prove it!). However, he looked like he was having a blast and the lady who was the owner of the horse seemed to have everything under control!!!! It was a nice diversion from the heat for us. Thanks Mikey for opening the door a little to give us some AC while everything was organized. One of the really nice side benefits of attending the EVO is the people you get to chat with and enjoy the show with. One guy had flown in from Mexico (just when I think I'm the one who travels the greatest distance!), a mother was attending with her son (couldn't tell who was the most excited!)... you get to share the experience with people who feel as passionately about Steve and his music as you do!

Everything was running late due to the house PA system having some kind of problems. We had a fun Q & A with Steve. It is so cool when he recognizes that the line of questioning from a fan is from a fellow guitarist who may be struggling with all the issues of what path to follow, musically, in their career. Steve also takes charge of the questions so that no one person dominates the time. One thing Steve keeps trying to get across, or so it seemed, is that he is just like you or me. He has just been blessed with a gift and has tried to stay true to himself with his music and is grateful that we enjoy what he produces for us. With that said, we were dismissed for a hour so that they could get the PA situation corrected and then they would do sound check. Dawn and I got back about 50 minutes later and sound check had already started. This is the one of the really cool parts - Unlike the HOB, which are awful to work with, in my opinion, the security guys here recognized our passes, brought us in until Mikey could come take us into the hall, and got us through the throng of people waiting to get in so that we could get on into the hall to enjoy sound check. Thanks to Mikey for making sure these guys knew who we were!

The hall was interesting - reminds me of the places where concerts and dances were held when I was growing up. The concert was fun - I always smile all the way through a Vai concert - just can't help it! Steve sounded great - actually better than the night before. The band just seemed tighter and the show just flowed better. The violinists were great, and Dave is always so good! I am horrible at names so forgive me - the bass player is really cool and I enjoyed his performance a lot!

Now for all the really bizarre stuff! When Steve's guitar strap broke it was just wierd!!! I mean, Steve is really playing and you see the guitar slip!!! He, being the consumate musician, did not miss a beat. Got the guitar he wanted and just picked back up and started the song again! I like the fact that he is so comfortable with his audience that he just tells us what he is going to do and proceeds to do it and the band is right there with him. Actually, I love watching him communicate with the band through out the show!

So now the show is really cooking and Jeremy and Steve do their comedy routine (or what ever you want to call it but it is pretty funny!) and Jeremy starts his drum solo on the portable skull covered drum set. (Don't want to spoil the show for anyone but let's just say there is some dry ice fog involved with this drum set - not very much but very effective!). Then he moves to his regular drum kit, hits the first beat and the power goes out. He keeps playing a little but there are no lights on stage, no lights in the audience, no sound system - just nothing! Then all these people start scurrying around the stage in the dark following all the cables trying to see where the problem is. People in the audience are freaking out a little and I know what they were thinking - New Jersey and Great White - because I was too. My friend Dawn was about to have an anxiety attack. You know, you don't think about that stuff until something like this happens but when you are down front, leaning against the barricade and you realize that the only way to escape is to climb over the metal railing and you probably physically can't, you do get a little wierd. I know some people left and that is understandable. However, if you looked around you could see there was power on either side of the stage in the other rooms. So I told Dawn to calm down, turned my phone on so we could have some light down front. You could see someone flipping all the breakers trying to get something to happen. After what seemed like an eternity, someone came out to tell us that the 'smoke' had set off the smoke alarm and that shut down the power (I guess that makes sense) and once the smoke cleared out the power would come back on. And that is exactly what happened, but it was a long time with nothing happening. Some of the crowd got restless - I mean, what is Steve or anyone supposed to do? Got to have power to do this show!

Now, if you are a musician, think about this: You have a great show happening, musically you are peaking - you have the crowd where you want them - you are building up to the big finish and poof! You have lost your audience mentally. Now you are basically at the end of the show and you have to get your audience back so that they leave feeling that they just had the best musical experience ever. Steve is a genius. First off, I don't know who did this, but they kept the audience lights up once the band started back up. That gave some comfort and a feeling of security to all of us. Then the lights go back down, spotlight on Steve, and he takes his time and looks all around the room - appearing to look at each of us individually - to pull us back to him - makes a circle with his hand signaling us to him, then touching his heart - and then going into Whispering. My heart just melted, my respect for him went up even higher, and he had us back, just like that. He finished the show with a florish and I don't think anybody was disappointed.

And now we have a story to tell our friends! But you know, the story isn't about the power failure - it's about the most fabulous concert with my favorite guitarist, his wonderful band, the incredible EVO experience (with much thanks to Mikey). I just want to say "Thank you" to all for making my Steve Vai weekend one to remember for a long time.

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Vai was bad, Marquee was a ripoff

#7 Post by robs » Mon Sep 10, 2007 1:51 am

I saw Steve Vai play at the Marquee theatre. It wasn’t a positive experience. First off, the Marquee is nothing but an over glorified mosh-pit. To have to listen to instrumental art-rock music on a standing room only cement floor is torture. Second, Steve Vai was quite bad.

Part of the problem was the sound, and I don’t know if that’s because Vai’s sound man was incompetent, or if the problem was the Marquee. Either way, for a professional act like Vai it was inexcusable. For the most part his two violinists couldn’t be heard and the drums could only be heard when he pounded on them as hard as he could. I’m not sure the drummer knew how to do anything but pounding anyway so that might have been a moot issue.

Too often the violinists were trying to play some kind of neo-classical rock fusion and it didn’t jive with Vai’s playing at all. It almost sounded like the violinists were playing with him for the first time without a rehearsal. Maybe that's why the sound guy turned them too low to hear! The violinists also played keyboards which were totally lost behind the roar and rumble. I heard about three chords the entire evening. They could have been pretending to play the keys for all I could hear. Of course Vai’s guitar was loud – sometimes the only thing you could hear!

I thought the idea of two violinists/keyboardists was an awesome concept, but it didn’t work last night. The Asian woman on violin was the best part of the show, but not necessarily because of her playing.

I saw Vai twice before, once with Frank Zappa, and once with G-3 at the Mesa Amphitheater. He was excellent both times, so it’s not like I’m not appreciative of his music. The problem is that this new band of his doesn’t work and they have no musical direction. It was nothing but an ill conceived of jam session.

The low point of the whole affair is when Vai did an acoustic guitar piece. His playing was so bad it’s hard to describe! The sound reinforcement on the acoustic guitar was terrible and got worse when his other guitarist joined in, but that could be because acoustic guitars don’t work good in venues that feature cement floor mosh pits that echo. It didn’t get much better when his two violinists played with him but at least they hid some of his bad playing. They tried to do some kind of gypsy music which might have been OK if Vai would have stopped playing the acoustic.

On top of every thing else the Marquee had a power failure half way through the concert. We waited around for about 30 minutes and then the music started again. The air conditioning came back on just about the time it was getting stuffy. They claimed that the smoke machine caused a fire alarm but there were no audible alarms. Good thing there wasn’t a real fire or I guess I would be dead right now!

As a matter of public safety I think the Tempe fire department should give the Marquee theatre an inspection. If something ever does happen that place could be a disaster, especially if that crowd stampedes.

Steve Vai didn’t play extra tunes to make up for the power failure either. He played the rest of his set and then left. Probably just as well because the music wasn’t very good and by then my knees were hurting. Even if he would have played something good, and he didn’t, by this time I wasn’t in the mood to hear it. I just think the band should have felt an obligation to his audience to put out a little more than usual considering everything that happened.

I paid $30 for this lousy experience, not including $5 for parking and $5 a beer. I will never go back to the Marquee and I don’t care who plays. Shame on anybody who supports that arm pit of a concert hall!

I won’t go back to see Vai again either until he gets his act together. This new band needs to do some serious work before they ruin whatever reputation Vai still has. The bottom line is that the buck stops with Vai because he is the boss, so he is the one who bears the responsibility for the sorry performance of HIS band.

I question the professional ethics of any music act that plays at the Marquee more than once. This is Vai’s second appearance there. Hmmmmmmm.

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#8 Post by Shibiwan » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:39 am

I'm a long time Steve Vai fan and this was only the 2nd time I watched Vai play at the Marquee theater, and I keep wondering why I keep going back to this dump.

The show itselfwas great, but to be brutally honest, the place is literally a dump, and it's gotten worse since the last time I was there (March 05). It's agony to stand and watch the show for almost 4 hours (excluding the waiting time to get in etc).

What made it worse was that during Jeremy Colson's drum solo the smoke machines supposedly set off the fire alarm, and shut down all power to the stage. There was NO WARNING to the audience -- if the fire alarms went off it should have gone off all throughout the place. There was zero organizaion by the staff since the place should have been evacuated. It's all a recipe for a potential disaster.

Steve (or Mikey) of you're reading this, please, please, please choose a different location instead of the Marquee again. I suggest the Celebrity Theater (this place works great for Joe Satriani's shows) or even the Dodge Theater.

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Re: Tempe Show

#9 Post by PSD » Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:50 am

[quote="wattam"]People in the audience are freaking out a little and I know what they were thinking - New Jersey and Great White - because I was too. quote]


This unfortunate occurrence was in Rhode Island, not New Jersey. We Jerseyans (and former Jerseyans) are very sensitive to criticism about our much abused state. Right Bryan?

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#10 Post by OsoVerde » Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:45 am

Fantastic performance! Music and stage antics both get an A+ from me. Steve picked one heck of a band for the tour, I hope he releases a live album or dvd with them. I was wondering how the violins would work with a rock band when I first heard about the tour, but then I saw that Alex DePue was part of the lineup. (Youtube is awesome for stumbling onto great musicians you hadn't heard of, yet.) The arranging to incorporate the violins was done well, it was as if the songs were written with them in originally.

I'd never heard of Orianthi before, I'm glad she's getting some exposure. I really enjoyed her set, wish there had been more time for her to play.

As the other reviews have mentioned, there were various technical difficulties throughout the show. Any other time I've been at the Marquee there haven't been any problems, they were either having a bad night or just aren't used to hosting that big of a show (obviously had not used a smoke machine before...). The sound system there is a bit directional, depending on where in the building you are things sound great or terrible. I started off close to the stage by a bass cabinent and couldn't hear anything other than low-pitched distortion. I moved back towards the center of the floor and the mixing and sound quality were really good there. My companion commented that it was one of the best mixed shows he'd been to lately, once we'd found the sweet spot of the room.

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#11 Post by wattam » Mon Sep 10, 2007 1:37 pm

Thanks for the correction on where the Great White show was!

As far as the sound at the Marquee - let me say where I was standing was horrible for the opening act. All bass guitar and not much else. But for Steve's portion, I heard the violins quite well, the bass was clear, keyboards a little lost, and Steve was awesome. I have heard Steve a lot of times in concert and this is why live performances are so much fun - they aren't perfect. In my opinion, and everyone is entitled to theirs, I thought his acoustic playing was awesome!!! And I'll be at any show of his I can get to!!!

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#12 Post by BillEarl » Mon Sep 10, 2007 2:32 pm

Breadman,

Zach is indeed on this tour, and was in Tempe, but they were running so late that they must have cut his part of the show to save time. Steve even introduced him to us when he wandered by during the Q&A session.

I wish there had been time for him to play at the Tempe show. I was looking forward to hearing him.

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#13 Post by FireComa » Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:23 pm

JibboominAZ wrote:Too bad Steve didn't come back on stage playing "There's a Fire in the House" that would have been hilarious.
That would have been amazing!

I went to the Grove show, but I seriously wanted to hear him play that song; it should have been his opener. In fact, I think that is the best example of a Vai opening song I have heard. Would have been legit with the violins.

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Re: Vai was bad, Marquee was a ripoff

#14 Post by j3 » Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:52 am

robs wrote:I saw Steve Vai play at the Marquee theatre. It wasn’t a positive experience. First off, the Marquee is nothing but an over glorified mosh-pit. To have to listen to instrumental art-rock music on a standing room only cement floor is torture. Second, Steve Vai was quite bad.

Part of the problem was the sound, and I don’t know if that’s because Vai’s sound man was incompetent, or if the problem was the Marquee. Either way, for a professional act like Vai it was inexcusable. For the most part his two violinists couldn’t be heard and the drums could only be heard when he pounded on them as hard as he could. I’m not sure the drummer knew how to do anything but pounding anyway so that might have been a moot issue.

Too often the violinists were trying to play some kind of neo-classical rock fusion and it didn’t jive with Vai’s playing at all. It almost sounded like the violinists were playing with him for the first time without a rehearsal. Maybe that's why the sound guy turned them too low to hear! The violinists also played keyboards which were totally lost behind the roar and rumble. I heard about three chords the entire evening. They could have been pretending to play the keys for all I could hear. Of course Vai’s guitar was loud – sometimes the only thing you could hear!

I thought the idea of two violinists/keyboardists was an awesome concept, but it didn’t work last night. The Asian woman on violin was the best part of the show, but not necessarily because of her playing.

I saw Vai twice before, once with Frank Zappa, and once with G-3 at the Mesa Amphitheater. He was excellent both times, so it’s not like I’m not appreciative of his music. The problem is that this new band of his doesn’t work and they have no musical direction. It was nothing but an ill conceived of jam session.

The low point of the whole affair is when Vai did an acoustic guitar piece. His playing was so bad it’s hard to describe! The sound reinforcement on the acoustic guitar was terrible and got worse when his other guitarist joined in, but that could be because acoustic guitars don’t work good in venues that feature cement floor mosh pits that echo. It didn’t get much better when his two violinists played with him but at least they hid some of his bad playing. They tried to do some kind of gypsy music which might have been OK if Vai would have stopped playing the acoustic.

On top of every thing else the Marquee had a power failure half way through the concert. We waited around for about 30 minutes and then the music started again. The air conditioning came back on just about the time it was getting stuffy. They claimed that the smoke machine caused a fire alarm but there were no audible alarms. Good thing there wasn’t a real fire or I guess I would be dead right now!

As a matter of public safety I think the Tempe fire department should give the Marquee theatre an inspection. If something ever does happen that place could be a disaster, especially if that crowd stampedes.

Steve Vai didn’t play extra tunes to make up for the power failure either. He played the rest of his set and then left. Probably just as well because the music wasn’t very good and by then my knees were hurting. Even if he would have played something good, and he didn’t, by this time I wasn’t in the mood to hear it. I just think the band should have felt an obligation to his audience to put out a little more than usual considering everything that happened.

I paid $30 for this lousy experience, not including $5 for parking and $5 a beer. I will never go back to the Marquee and I don’t care who plays. Shame on anybody who supports that arm pit of a concert hall!

I won’t go back to see Vai again either until he gets his act together. This new band needs to do some serious work before they ruin whatever reputation Vai still has. The bottom line is that the buck stops with Vai because he is the boss, so he is the one who bears the responsibility for the sorry performance of HIS band.

I question the professional ethics of any music act that plays at the Marquee more than once. This is Vai’s second appearance there. Hmmmmmmm.
Robs, I strongly disagree. I saw the show in Tempe and it was extraordinary. I am very discerning and take offense to your assertion that one who thought it was a good performance is oblivious to reality-- and that Vai should have known better than to perform at the Marquee. Perhaps you work for a competitive venue--it does not excuse your assessment that his band's performance was 'sorry.'
Vai is trying something new. I am not backing the venture because I am a fanboy, I am backing it because it was an attempt to expand the context of his standard ensemble. Was the performance recording quality for a live album? Probably not, that does not dismiss the value in the performance when assessing the evolution of Vai's artistic quest. It was an exciting show, the sound was clear and I loved the setlist.
Last edited by j3 on Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#15 Post by fazziah » Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:50 pm

:headbang Prep music was from Pulp Fiction. Way cool untill the 3rd repeat of Stattler Bros. Outstanding show as usual. Great interaction with the crowd by Steve. Hot chick on guitar to start :guitar. Hot chick on violin too. Still wondering how Screetch got in with a lap steel :shock: Tender Surrender was a heart melter. Loved it all but, you owe us a couple of songs Steve for the smoke delay. I'll catch you next time.

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