The Devil's hands are flurry playthings or
...a journey through hell and back to nowhere
I was a bit sad not being able to read about this gig, so I try to fill that gap with a story I experienced on a trip to Mr. Vai.
Never been to the mekka of the party people before, I tried my luck on booking a cheap flight and hotel for me and an old friend in the middle of El Arenal at Mallorca, an island with some diverging faces. I was there before, but on a more family-compatible vacation.No comparison, I tell you...
The booking itself was a problem (like always, shifting free days 2 times), because we never end up making it on the first try.
It was sheer luck that took us there, and we got our mandatory sunburn the first day we spent at the beach. The goal was to get a change of skin colour, no matter which one, so we really didn't waste too much time.
After having lunch at a bar a few hundred meters from the Balnearos, I saw a familiar face on the backside of a bus, smiling back at me but slowly vanishing from sight. As I told my friend I saw Steve Vai smiling at me from a bus, he asked me if I already drank too much at 2pm - Steve Vai would never come to the drunkards enjoying German Pump Music and gulping buckets.
He agreed to a bet to pay the tickets if I could prove I was right.
Back in the hotel, I fed a Euro into the internet cafe system and checked it.
I was right - Steve would perform at Es Gremi, on the 22nd of September, which was...tonight!
The plans were made, we would hire a taxi for the 15 kilometers travel to the industrial state.
My friend got a little lost because he got served all day - with drinks offered by a guy at the hotel, and like always I had to pull him off the scene and shove him into the taxi. I feared to come late and not get any tickets, and my mood only changed after I held the entry card to guitar heaven in my sweaty hands and got punched from my friend to make sure this was not another erotic nightmare.
Everything was cool, and I have to bow to some Spanish folks who offered us a funny cigarette after our mandatory drink orders. They also told us to visit the Excalibur
at El Arenal, a refuge for people who want to listen to Rock and Metal instead of the standard Techno-Sound played everywhere else.
My friend started to get dizzy, but we followed the call of a screaming guitar and were pretty close to see an audience in the mood for partying.
And what a great gig that was! The setlist was a good rollercoaster across albums like "Passion and Warfare", "Fire Garden", "Elusive Light and Sound", "Sex & Religion" and "The Ultra Zone".
The drinks (and so on...) might have made me a bit forgetful, but what I didn't forget was the wave of endorphine that rushed all over the people (and me, of course).
I saw fathers with sons on their shoulders, people dancing (and not just watching flurry fingers) and of course shouting for tribute.
Tracks like "Frank", "Answers", "The Reaper", "Bangkok", "Tender Surrender", "I Would Love To" and of course "For the Love of God" as encore were a great journey for my mind.
Felt like a long overdue church meeting, singing songs like "Rescue Me or bury Me" just fitted in well.
My poor cellphone cam kept for eternity what Steve might look like if the audience is far away.
Looks a bit like the grinning devil - but see for yourselves:http://www.directupload.net/file/d/3615/dff73sbv_jpg.htm
Seeing the devil thrice (two other gigs, two other adventurous stories back in the nineties) must be a good sign - I still didn't make a contract to sell my soul for cheap crap, and the fact that I am still alive makes me feel a bit invincible.
You could have told us that you are the devil himself Steve - although it's pretty apparent seeing you play guitar like not from this world...
You did (almost) everything right and even performed an audience track, invited people upstairs and had some good jokes like on a family meeting.
The only thing I was really missing was "Voodoo Acid" - with you as a bee keeper, that is one of your tracks always enlightening my mind and mood.
If you EVER play that track and get a bottle of helium gas on stage, I will sing the bee part of your song - promised.
And even if I found out that your stage was hell, I would have stayed there if I knew what was yet to come...
After the show ended, the Spanish guy who offered us the funny cig ran after me to give us another one. Thanks for that, brother, you did a good job on the Spanish-German friendship!
I took the lead to find us a bus station, which was, after a kilometer of walk, not existing, so we went back to the club.
My friend, drunk and dizzy, started to get cold and ripped of an advertisement poster to wrap himself up in it.
When we arrived at the Es Gremi, I told him whatever he wanted to do, just lay on the ground and wait til I come back.
Calling a taxi was easy, but when it arrived, my friend wasn't where I left him - no money, no mind. Two girls asked me if I was looking for a guy wearing a tent and directed me.
I would have loved to get home, but instead I had to offer the taxi driver 15€ to find my friend in the nearby area and soothe my bad conscience.
we didn't find him, and I had to leave at the Es Gremi (again) to look after that silly guy myself.
I spent 2 hours, went to the motorway and back again, and after my bad conscience left me, I managed to get one of the last taxis back home.
When I opened the hotel room door, of course my friend already lay in his cozy bed, sleeping deeply, having arranged a whole bar of hard liquor around him and a bottle of red wine poured on the floor. He later told me two grandfathers sipping wine ordered him a taxi which he got paid by the hotel receptionist. Thanks for always being Mr. Nice Guy.
The only few good things of that exodus were a concert plus another story to remember for a lifetime - and a personal bar to supply many hotel guests from til our trip was over.
A few days ago I saw that Mr. Vai will return to los Balnearos once more at the same time I'll go there.
You can count on my word, Steve - if you got the helium, play Vodoo Acid (and I still get a ticket, of course), I'm looking forward to a perfect night to remember!!!
one more edit:
I had to learn the hard way that the date in May was just a master class without concert (nooooo) - and me being a bloody amateur (and my friend being to grasping), I was at Es Gremi and checked people checking in, but finally had to jump back into the rented car and head all over the island.
No helium and singing this time...