A little more than a month had elapsed since I covered my last show, and it was time to kick the dust off and get busy. Florida’s fall weather, slightly cooler than the blistering summer, had moved in and the presence of threatening rain was absent as I pulled into The Plaza Live in Orlando. Tonight’s bill featured guitar virtuoso Steve Vai, who was here in the midst of his 2022 Inviolate Tour. This show had been postponed from earlier in the year, more on that later, and the sold-out crowd was proof that patience is a virtue.
When it comes to being late, I’m a little OCD. I’ve never been late for work or for a show. Never. Not once. I always employ a 2-step method for checking show times. First, I look at the event listing and then the actual ticket site. In this instance both said, “doors at 7:00” and “show at 8:00.” I arrived just before 7:00, picked up my credentials and decided to wait outside for a little while since the weather was so nice. I entered the venue at 7:30 and quickly discovered that the opener, Larry Mitchell, was in the middle of his last song! To say that I was bummed is an understatement as I was looking forward to his performance.
Any serious discussions involving the elites of the guitar world must include Steve Vai. At the age of 12, Vai began his musical journey by receiving lessons from the masterful Joe Satriani. What was to follow is the stuff movies are made of. Vai has been involved in numerous projects and has worked with greats like Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth, Whitesnake and many more. His list of awards and accomplishments are so long it would be difficult to fit them into this review. Therefore it comes as no surprise that this show was a sell-out.
Steve Vai and company hit the stage right at 8:00 and what followed was nothing short of an electrifying, transcendent evening that no one in attendance would ever forget. Several of the 1st few songs were from the Inviolate album including “Avalancha” and “Little Pretty.” Watching Vai perform is mesmerizing and I had to keep reminding myself to focus on taking the photos. Vai told the sold-out crowd he was thankful to see them and it must mean that he has been doing something right for the last 40 years.
Vai’s performance was complimented by the talented group of musicians he has surrounded himself with. Bass master Philip Bynoe provided the boom while drummer Jeremy Colson tore up the skins. I saw Colson about a year ago while he was touring with Sebastian Bach, so I knew the talent that he possessed. Clad in a tye-dye shirt and pork pie hat, guitarist Dave Weiner was stellar and took full advantage of his well-deserved solo.
Before inviting Larry Mitchell onstage to jam with the band, Vai took a moment to explain why the original show had been postponed and for once, Covid was not to blame. Vai tore a shoulder tendon while working with a pizza oven at his home. He said that he wished he had a better story but that was the truth. Prior to delivering an outstanding rendition of “Greenish Blues,” Vai clarified that the song is about his infatuation with the color green and not a tribute to blues great Peter Green. Vai’s sense of humor and keen wit were on display throughout the night including when he said that he opted for no mic stand so that he could be like Tom Jones.
For the performance of “Teeth Of The Hydra,” Vai delicately removed a covering that revealed the Hydra, a triple-neck guitar named after the mythological beast. This monster of a guitar created by Ibanez, is so heavy that it has to be played on a weighted stand. Describing it as awe-inspiring really doesn’t do it justice. The encore of the night was “Taurus Bulba,” from the 2009 album Where The Wild Things Are. Steve Vai and his band captivated the audience for more than 2 hours and no one left disappointed. There are plenty of dates left on this tour so don’t miss out on an opportunity to witness a truly legendary performance.
Steve Vai (Band):
Steve Vai: Guitar
Jeremy Colson: Drums
Dave Weiner: Guitar, Keyboard
Philip Bynoe: Bass
Dante Frisiello: Guitar Tech
2.Giant Balls Of Gold
5.Lights Are On
Dave Weiner – Solo
7.Building The Church
11.Whispering A Prayer
Jeremy Colson – Solo
13.Teeth Of The Hydra
14.Zeus In Chains
16.For The Love Of God
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I’ve had a love for photography since I was young. Whether it was a Polaroid or a Kodak 110, I was always the kid with the camera. My love of music goes back even further. Nothing beats being at a show when those lights go down and the crowd goes nuts.