The Uptown Theater in Napa California Welcomes Steve Vai’s Inviolate Tour on December 2, 2022



So… When I heard the Steve Vai show in Napa, California had been rescheduled to early December, I knew I had to go. I have photographed him once before at a benefit show in Los Angeles for a couple of songs but, this was him doing his music. Man, I was sure glad I got the opportunity, given this was the next to the last show on the Inviolate tour.

As I made the 20 minute trip to the Uptown Theatre in Napa, California, I knew it was going to be an epic night. The Uptown Theatre was built in 1937 in downtown Napa and has hosted some of the finest musicians in the industry.  Holding only 857 people and it being just shy of 100 feet from the last row to the stage, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. I fortunately, had the best seat in the house, behind my camera.

What can be said about Steve Vai that hasn’t already been said? This man is a juggernaut with a guitar. A phenom if you will. Right from the first notes of  “Avalanachia”, the audience was captivated by his brilliance.  With each song came a new guitar and more amazing riffs. When it was time for “Bad Horsie”, it was intro’d by a scene from the movie Crossroads with Ralph Macchio. After the intro, Vai broke in to the track and proved without a shadow of a doubt, that he was the true winner of the duel.

A couple of times during the night, he picked up the mic and said a few words. The first time explaining that he had tore his shoulder while, of all things, making pizza was the reason why the original show was canceled. Another time to introduce the band and crew and how thankful he was that he has had such a long relationship with his team. 

 The biggest highlight was what everyone was waiting for. The unveiling of “The Hydra” guitar for the song “Teeth of the Hydra”. This is a beast of a guitar sporting three-necks that host 7 and 12-string guitars; a 4-string ¾ scale length bass; 13 sympathetic harp strings; half-fretless necks; single-coil, humbucking, piezo, MIDI and sustainer pickups; floating and hardtail tremolo bridges and phase splitters. This has to be the most insane guitar ever created and takes a master to wield it. Vai did it with style and flair. And while that was the big moment, every song was a moment for this crowd. Each song ended in a standing ovation and rousing applause. 

On “For the Love of God”, he had one lady from the front row stand up and approach the stage where she gave his guitar a kiss. Moments later he had another approach the stage where he had her strum the guitar. What a memory for a couple of fans! The show finished up with a one song encore in which he waled down the side steps and into the adoring crowd, making magic the entire time. 


Steve Vai’s touring band

Steve Vai – guitars

Dave Weiner – guitar, keyboards

Phillip Bynoe – bass

Jeremy Colson – drums

Dante Frisiello – guitar tech, guitars

Dani Gonzalez Suarez – vocals, guitar, monitors



Set List
1). Intro
2). Avalancha
3). Giant Balls of Gold
4). Little Pretty
5). Tender Surrender
6). Lights Are On
7). Candlepower
8). Dave Solo
9). Building the Church
10). Greenish Blues 
11). Bad Horsie (With Crossroads Intro)
12). I’m Becoming
13). Whispering a Prayer
14). Dyin’ Day
15). Jeremy Colson Solo
16). Teeth of the Hydra
17). Zeus in Chains
18). Liberty
19). For the Love of God
20).Taurus Bulba 

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