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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
LIVE STEVE VAI Perth Concert Hall July 2013

STEVE VAI at PERTH CONCERT HALL on JULY 10 2013

 

 

 

 

Two things that were noteworthy on Wednesday night's show - the first being that this was my first time at the Perth Concert Hall which is always fun to go to a venue that I had never been before, and 2nd this was Steve Vai's first show on this leg of the tour and as Vai mentioned during the show, they were going to shake some of the cobwebs off at this show. Usually Perth gets the tail end of a tour so it was good to see the flip side of that.

 

 

Looking back though, it didn't seem to make much difference in the performance, Steve Vai completely in control the whole time and never faltering or showing signs of rust. I had only seen Vai once before back in 2004 but that was a completely different show to this one, complete with opening band, standing room only and basically rocking out. This was a much more intimate show, seating only in the elegant concert hall which is usually reserved for special shows and classical music. And interestingly, no opening band. It's similar to the "evening with" shows that Dream Theater do, an almost 3 hour experience with just the main act. Some may find it a bit too lengthy but I guess if you're a genuine fan, 3 hours is never enough. I will say that comparing this show to the 2004 show, this one was better in every single possible way. From the sound to the lights to the set-list, the performance and the crowd, it was a stunning display of theatrics and virtuoso playing from one of the best guitarists in the world.
Supporting the new album "The Story Of Light" which was released in 2012, the band performed a solid chunk of songs from the album along with some of the older classics. Admittedly I hadn't taken much time to listening to more of his recent stuff so I only recognised some of the older material at hand. Anything from  "Sex & Religion" and "Fire Garden" was right up my alley and am glad they did play some of those tracks. Luckily almost every song played was an instrumental too as I can't say I'm a huge fan of Vai's vocals. It's not that he's a bad singer but that it seems to take a little away from the music and guitar solos itself which is first and foremost the main attraction in his material.

 

 

A bit after midway through the show the band slowed down a bit and pulled out an acoustic set which to guitar enthusiasts, is a good way to show that Steve Vai proves that he's not just another guitar player hiding behind the electric. The real skill is performing some of these songs on a traditional guitar and without a doubt showed that during this set. Not that anyone actually thinks he's a fake guitar player but there is something about seeing Vai pulling off these grand solo's on an acoustic which has to blow your mind. The other thing I have to mention is the talent behind the backing band, Vai's right hand man on the other guitar (I don't remember the names) definitely held up his own providing Vai with much needed backing assistance and lending an occasional solo trickery here and there, the drummer providing a solid backbeat without being too flashy and the bass player throwing down some mighty grooving bass lines that seriously shook the room. Vai also introduced a young keyboard player who was literally 18 years old but a prodigy in his own right. One can only think what he was thinking performing with these brilliant stalwarts.

 

 

Some fan interaction was also in play on the night with Vai getting two fans on the stage and getting them involved in some improv song writing. Hilarious but also fascinating to see how Vai can turn the most ordinary ideas into something that most songwriters could only dream of. The improv factor from the rest of the band also cannot be denied, to be able to just jump into a non-existent song like that to me is true talent. Oh and one crazy moment in the show which I guess is always part of Vai's crazy imagination is where he came out dressed in some kind of futuristic looking suit complete with a helmet and embedded with flashing lights and lasers sprouting out from everywhere, even on his fingers and his guitar, it was either the funniest costume you have seen, or a fairly scary one, given the right circumstances. Either way, the light show that came with this moment and the music was perfect; it had to be one of the highlights of the evening.

 

 

Overall it was a truly impressive show, varied and spot-on in every way. The sound of the concert hall is probably the best I have seen in Perth to date and that certainly helped. Steve Vai's performance was bar none brilliant and flawless, his guitar playing simply fascinating to watch, his animated facial expressions- a show in and of itself! Next time he rolls into town, do yourself a favor and go see him live, I know I will.

 

 

 

by Andrew Schizodeluxe

 

 

LIVE STEVE VAI Perth Concert Hall July 2013