Mailbag 28

>I just had to write in after reading Steve’s words about the making of “Passion And Warfare”. I had always thought and even had heard that Steve put himsef into PAW but now I know for sure.

I have seen Steve live numerous times now and I have always considered a Vai show to be something of a religious experience, however one show in particular will forever stand out in my mind. After Steve finished the first G3 tour he started touring for ‘Fire Garden’. About two months after he played the G3 show in Minnepolis he returned to a small club in Minneapolis called First Avenue (Prince filmed parts of “Purple Rain” at First Ave.)

Mike Keneally & Beer for Dolphins opened the show after a long technical delay. I didn’t mind however, since Mike spent about 20 minutes talking with me in the audience before he went on, it always amazes me how no one realizes who he is. BFD kicked ass!

But, But! Nothing could have prepared me for Steve, not up close. I stood at the edge of the stage for 3 hours just to make sure I’d have a great vantage point, I wasn’t disappointed. I have to say now that any Vai fan who has never experienced Steve up close while he is playing is missing a whole different dimension of Steve… I could talk for hours about that show but I’ll mention just one song, my personal favorite… “For The Love Of God”.

I know this song like the back of my hand, every little squeak and nuance. While Steve was playing FTLOG I was euphoric. Steve looks people directly in the eyes while he plays, he makes these truly wild and intense faces… I noticed that many people other than myself were getting into this song just as deeply as I was… I also noticed that when Steve would make eye contact with me it seemed like the more I got off the more he got off. For all you guitar players out there you’ll understand the next part: You know that part in FTLOG about 4/5ths of the way through, just before he brings it down, where he is playing those otherworldly apreggios? I was going nuts… I’d say close to having a cosmic orgasm… He looked right at me making this intense face and he saw me totally freaking out, with him on every note… and he didn’t look away…he just shook his head as if to say “yes… you know why I’m up here” and he was smiling from ear to ear… It was truly intense…

Maybe I’m just a nut but I don’t think so… I think the Zappa in me was just waiting for Steve to come along and free my musical soul…. Thank you Steve, your music has moved me.

On a closing note, it was a red letter night at that show for a tried and true Vai fan. Thanks to the help of a friend (you know who you are) I became the receipient of the guitar pick Steve threw after smashing the white RG550 at the end of “Kill the Guy With the Ball”… Also Steve kindly autographed a tour poster where he wished a merry xmas to a woman who is very dear to me, she was thrilled and still cherishs it. Oh yeah… she’s as much of a Vai freak as I am…. One other point of interest, I gave my kind friend (who secured aftershow passes for me) a Pignose amp in gratitude… When I next heard from him I was told Steve was using the Pignose to warm up before shows! There’s only one dream left, Steve… when can we jam??? (hint hint)

One hell of a night wasn’t it? 🙂


Gary Hancq