REVIEWS: 11 JUL 2007 - MADRID, SPAIN

Been to a Vai show? Review it here. Please post in the appropriate thread for each show!
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Jeroen
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Did you attend this show at the La Riviera in Madrid, Spain?

Please post your reviews here!

Jeroen :)
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_Josu_
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I just arrived....for the moment I will only say amazing! Thanks Steve!

Tomorrow when I can think about what I have seen and heard I will say something more...

I will not forget this night easily
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LucySorets
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In a word UNBELIEVABLE!! :shock:
In a word AWESOME!! :D

It's 1:40 here right now. I've just arrived home too, I will post pics & review & things later... :wink:
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Seraphim
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LucySorets wrote:In a word UNBELIEVABLE!! :shock:
In a word AWESOME!! :D
It's 1:40 here right now. I've just arrived home too, I will post pics & review & things later... :wink:
And I wanted to be there... but the tour bus was already full :cry:
Can't wait to see the reviews and pictures

:mrgreen: Seraphim :mrgreen:
atlantakat
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The warmth that still fills me from last night’s concert more than makes up for an uncomfortable three hours trying to get some sleep on the floor of Terminal 4 of the Madrid airport before my flight back to Barcelona and my family (all of whom are wearing their Vai t-shirts today).

The warmth I am suffused with derives from the wonderful people I met last night, the fantastic performances of some truly incredible musicians, the exuberant and joyous energy of a crowd that seemed to push the band higher and higher and, last but not least, the beautiful and moving music of Steve Vai: music that with this new band is now even richer in sonic palette, drama and emotion.

The band’s professionalism and musicianship was put to the test last night. They came through in flying and brilliant colors.

Some highlights from EVO: Steve was late getting into Madrid, in part due to the time change from Portugal. Steve apologized profusely for the delay and then spoke unhurriedly with us for an hour (after doing a fair amount of press).

The questions dwelt less on the technical side of guitar playing (Steve joked at one point: “Isn’t someone going to ask about the gauge of my guitar strings?”) and focused more on Steve’s worldview and philosophy of life. Steve emphasized themes of self-determination and self-realization while urging each and all find our own paths in this life and universe(s). He spoke candidly and with great humility about his search for answers and his need to experience, test and reconcile those answers with the scientific side of his thought processes.

In this conversation, I was struck by how much Steve loves to communicate with other human beings, both through words and through music. That realization gave me a better context to understand Steve’s stage presence, where every note, lick and riff is accompanied by a gesture or facial expression which conveys some additional emotion or communicative content in addition to the “mere” music itself.

Toward the end, Steve took a short bio break, so Mikey sat in the hot seat and fielded some questions (wearing Steve’s beret – I got a good picture of this that I will try to post). Then it was picture and autograph time, a few minutes for Steve to get a bite to eat and then get to sound check.

The band was working against the clock. Sound check did not begin until after 6 pm and the doors of La Riviera were to open at 7 pm.

It was, in a word, chaos. Nothing was working.

Alex had no signal beyond his own rig. One of Bryan’s amp cabinets shut down. Steve spent a fair amount of the sound check waiting with the patience of Job while the crew frantically tracked down faulty connections and battled with a creaky house console and PA that must have seen better days (or now borders on complete disrepair).
The band quickly worked through Die to Live, The Crying Game and the opening to Fire Garden. Steve was getting so much buzzing in his earphone monitors during the acoustic run through that he remarked that he was not sure he could play through the distraction.

More chaos as the crew cut out all the reverb and delay introduced by the house console to isolate the buzzing. Steve’s vocal mike was either inaudible or feeding back from Jeremy’s drums and ambient noise and the clock was winding down.

Steve gave the band quick instructions on the set list: The Attitude Song was out (boo!), The Audience is Listening was in. (The band apparently was surprised by the deletion of the Attitude Song; Alex actually appeared to lobby for its inclusion, asking twice whether it was really out. Perhaps Alex had a ripping solo worked out that will have to wait now for Milan.)

At this point, I was more than a bit worried about the show – during the sound check several instruments went dead and Steve was struggling to get any useable sound from his monitors. Not a good start to an evening on a tight schedule with a relatively new (to each other) band.

The doors opened at 7:15 and Zach came out around 7:45.

Zach is a natural comedian, all elbows and knees akimbo, but with a formidable right hand finger-style technique matched by an arsenal of jazz, ragtime and blues phrasings. As an adopted Georgian, I meant to ask him if he really is Fran Tarkenton’s long lost son (or merely a long-suffering Minnesota Vikings fan). Perhaps next time around, I’ll find out.

Steve and the band were next up. Showtime.

Steve had told us he was opening the show with the composite of the PUC movie soundtrack pieces – an interesting choice as the music would be new to much of the audience and Steve noted at EVO that the separate pieces make for some challenging transitions when offered as a single piece.

Maybe a minute in, there was some absolutely ear-piercing feedback. The band played through it well while the sound crew scurried to batten down the source.

Next up, Tender Surrender – an absolute favorite of mine (perhaps my favorite of all the 7th Songs!).

Steve had introduced with Wes Montomery inspired theme and the band joined. Suddenly, a noticeable “Shakka boom, shakka boom” emits from the PA, apparently a backing track from Firewall was triggered right as Steve is playing the cleanest and jazziest riff of the night! Steve gave a hard look stage left, composed himself and played on.

At this point, I was growing more and more concerned about where this show was heading.

But then something wonderous happened: the sound stabilized, the band found their stride and then took everyone at La Riviera on the most amazing two and a half hour journey.

The interplay between the new band members was fascinating. Ann-Marie adds an elegant female presence to the stage (I fell in love at her every knowing smile with each beautifully articulated note).

Alex is a showman, channeling the best of Jerry Goodman (think distorted electric violin circa Mahvishnu Orchestra) on the one hand with the joyous fiddle virtuosity of Mark O’Conner on the other. Ann-Marie’s and Alex’s playful “head-cutting” duel was breathtaking for its musicianship but also uplifting for the respect and interplay of these two fine violinists.

The usual kudus go out to Jeremy who was a monster as always and to Dave, who seemed a little subdued last night, but ripped though his solo spot with some very expressive Whammy pedal lines.

As a long-time Billy Sheehan fan, I was very interested to hear Bryan’s contributions on bass in the new band: I came away very impressed. I would describe Bryan’s style as more Bynoe-like than Billy or Stu-like.

While Billy, to me, is a “guitar player” who happens to play bass, Bryan is a bass player through and through. He locked in with Jeremy all night, handled the time changes with aplomb and gave a meaty, funky underpinning to Steve’s music. His solo turn was thoughtful and very musical.

I cannot hope to give a detailed recitation of each song. But by the time the band ripped through Juice, the crowd was stamping, singing Spanish soccer songs at each song break and chanting “Vai, Vai, Vai”.

A spell binding Whispering A Prayer followed leaving the crowd in a blissful state that seemed to be shared by Steve and the entire band. The Riddle was in there somewhere near the end of the set (I think).

As Ann-Marie introduced the FTLOG theme, the bittersweet violin perfectly captured the beauty of the night. I knew the show was ending, I wanted it to go on forever, but the violin warned us to soak up and revel in the beauty of the moment.

So we took one last ride with the band on a journey many of us have taken many times before. But last night it was for me even more powerful with the new textures of the strings. The music and the musicians built tension upon tension, resolving to major tones of redemption as Steve took wing one last time. The soul searching toward the end of the piece seemed more meaningful than ever, giving way to sustained harmonics and tongued whammy pedal resolution.

An wonderful group of fans waited at the stage door while the roadies sweated through the back breaking work that goes on after a show. Steve took photos with each, signed everything put before him while Mikey gently ushered proceedings toward the tour bus and some rest. Steve made a point of greeting each of the EVOs who had stuck around, noting that he had picked us out in the crowd during the set and reinforcing that moment each of us shared, where we felt that Steve as communicating and playing for each of us alone, yet all of us together.

I met so many wonderful people last night, though my Spanish goes now deeper than being able to order a decent meal in a restaurant, I found myself surrounded by Spanish friends with whom I understood (at some level) a common language: that of Steve’s music and the shared experience of a night and a performance, a moment in time that I will cherish forever.

Muchas gracias to Steve, the band, to Lucy, Pedro, SalamancaFiesta, Rodrigo (and to the lovely fellow from Singapore by way of Melbourne – I hope you find your luggage!)
Ryan Brothwell
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading that review. Even though your spanish is not expansive, your English is fantastic! Great use of language! :D
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ralvarezm
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Hey!!! What a great show... that's all i can say for now with sleepy eyes in front of my office's computer :D

After Dan's review there's no much left to say but "WE WANT MORE!!" really, really exciting experience. (hope you enjoyed the wait at Barajas :P )

I'll post some pics later...

For now the setlist...

Image

and Steve (Soundcheck)

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ears1991
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Audience is listening WOOT he better play that in london :D
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ralvarezm
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Last edited by ralvarezm on Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
amanvai
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Hi folks,

Well, first of all thankyou Dan, though I´ve kissed my luggage goodbye, so if they find it I´ll have the icing to my Euro-trip cake. It was so very nice to meet you, as well as Lucy, ralvarezm and all you other dedicated Vai fans. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to be part of such a well connected, warm and truly dedicated community. I only wish I could have stayed a little longer till after the show, but I had important matters to attend to (including figuring out what the hell I´m going to do regarding what to leave behind since I dont really have a check-in bag). I hope very much to meet you all again sometime.

Actually, I have to tell you, I had a very interesting time getting to the show. I had arrived in Madrid the night before from Rome. My bag (with my ticket and all my clothes and so on) that I had checked in must have fallen asleep and missed it´s flight, because apparantly when I got to Madrid it was still in Rome. So, after a long night during which sleep was a luxury I made my way to the airport yet again, but to no avail. Very straight forwardly I was told that the whereabouts of my bag were unknown. Alright. After travelling to and fro, which is something like a two hour journey it was maybe 11 or 12. I had to figure out how to actually get to La Riviera and be there by 3:30. So I rushed out to get some basic essentials and to print my ticket. There seemed not to be enough time to get new clothes (and don´t forget the student budget you´re on you idiot). When I got back to my hotel eventually, there had been a problem with the electricity which they were fixing. I walked in to find a few electricians working furiously, and I remember thinking that this was not good. And what d´you know, for whatever reason it may have been, I couldn´t take a shower and ofcourse couldn´t charge my phone (and did I mention that my camera charger was in my lost baggage?). Someone up there must have been having a lot of fun. Eventually the electricity came back and I could shower too so I hurriedly got ready and ran out the door. Incidently, Steve was a little late but hey, that´s alright. It´s all part of the fun, and I actually enjoy having a monkey on my back (though I didn´t expect a whole family), so I wasn´t for a moment upset. In fact, I thought it all to be prett funny. It only made the whole day much more interesting for me, and the EVO and the show so much sweeter an experience.

The show, as mentioned was glorious and absolutely blew my mind and kicked my ass. I was moved to tears on so many occasions, and the sheer spritual conenction between Steve, the band and the crowd was magical. There are no words to describe the feeling of standing right up front watching Steve as he plays to you and for you. It was fun attending soundcheck too; it goives one the opportunity to watch everyone on stage as real people rather than performers, and ofcourse all the mechanics of working out sound issues are always interesting. The EVO experience was just the best. It was so nice to meet Steve and to actually interact with him. He´s such a great guy, and as Dan mentioned, really loves to connect with each an every one of his fans as people; it really is something special that you feel. Wouldn´t you folks agree?

Thre´s been enough detail given with regard to the show and the EVO experience (including Mikey´s EMO experience (thankyou Bryan)), but I just wanted to tell you all how wonderful an experience this was. It´s been a privelege and an honour, and I will treasure these memories for many years to come. Ha, And I can´t wait till the next time I meet Steve.

Thankyou so much again to all my EVO expeirence friends. Dan, have a great time in Barcelona, and I hope you and your family have a good trip back.

Peace and love and good happiness stuff,

Aman
lespaulplus
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It is the second concert I attended in this tour.

1st was Lorca (7/7/7). I wanted EVO in that date for obvious reasons and 2nd yesterday in Madrid. No EVO but aftershow pass.

The concert in Lorca was much more special overall. The band played in a castle surronded by mountains. Absolutely amazing. The band played great and except of some technical problems everything went fairly well.

However the public in Madrid was fantastic. What an audience... I've been in Madrid attending a lot of Vai's concerts but this one was the best by far. The acoustic in La Riviera is horrible but yesterday sounded great.

Steve is a clever cat (but already knew that). At the end of the distorted solo in "tender surrender" just before the slow part he stop to tune the guitar as the 1st string went out of tune during the dive bombing etc... but he knew how to convert this pause in an ovation from the public with a couple of "Vai's trademark faces". What a guy.....

He did all the movements, all the faces, all the tonge.... everything done and everything done perfectly.

Congrats Steve.
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litlgrnman
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Thanks for the great review atlantakat!

FYI - Zack is merely an eternally-succeeding Steelers fan from Pittsburgh.
:wink:

Who can tell us more aobut The Beast????
atlantakat
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Ralvarezm:

Muchas gracias siempre por la cerveza y las tapas. Y para ayudame con el taxi al aeropuerto antes noches!

And thanks for posting the setlist -- memory is so unreliable for such details. Answers, not Riddles last night!

I can't bear to edit my review as I see so many typos and mistakes, -- including some basic subject verb disagreements-- but I think I got the gist of the show posted despite ( or perhaps because of my sleep deprived state), so it will stay as is.

But thanks to those who have posted kind words about what I wrote (and occasionally misspelled).

It has been a very special 48 hours for me. I caught Jeff Beck opening his new tour in BCN and then get to see Sr. Vai 24 hours later. Now I need to sleep, hopefully to awake to find EVH has gotten his life together and DLR is ready to turn back the clock and make Mighty music again.

Then I will know I am in heaven.
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ralvarezm
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litlgrnman wrote: Who can tell us more aobut The Beast????
It's not a song by itself... i think is just the introduction to Jeremy's BEAST-like DRUMKIT :D (They joke about the big skull being Vai's one)


Image
Yeah... i know it's not a great pic
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ralvarezm
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atlantakat wrote:Ralvarezm:

Muchas gracias siempre por la cerveza y las tapas. Y para ayudame con el taxi al aeropuerto antes noches!
Don't worry, as i told you, next time in Georgia you pay ;P
..till then just keep in touch :D


A question for all at EVO... have you seen the DVD... there is an Easter Egg in there: a password... (won't tell no more by now) ... do you know if there's any place to use it?? (this kind of things reveals me as the IT security geek that i am :D :D)
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