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October 16, 2016
Doors 7 p.m., Show 8 p.m. | $40 | 21+
1300 SE Stark Street, Portland, OR
Steve Vai is a virtuoso guitarist, visionary composer, and consummate producer who sculpts musical sound with infinite creativity and technical mastery.
At age 12, he started taking guitar lessons from Joe Satriani. At 18, he began his professional musical career transcribing for, and then playing with, the legendary Frank Zappa. More than three decades, 15 million album sales and three GRAMMY Awards later, Vai continues to use unbridled guitar virtuosity and soulful artistry to explore the spectrum of human emotion. He has proven himself, in his own right, to be one of music’s true originals.
“I make music to push my own buttons,” explains Vai. “I’ve always been driven by an addiction to create sounds that are unique — not better than what other people do, just different.”
That obsession remains the guiding force behind Vai’s ongoing musical evolution and what he loves most about being a musician.
“For me, the real gravy is when I hear a strange or beautiful sound in my head and then make it real in the world using the devices I have as a musician,” says Vai. “The things that have never been done before are what interest me most.”
Vai’s work has been recognized with a long list of awards, including an even dozen from Guitar Player. The TEC Foundation honored him with the prestigious Les Paul Award, created in 1991 to salute those who have set the highest standard of excellence in the creative application of technology (past winners include Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Herbie Hancock, Steely Dan, and Bob Clearmountain). In bestowing it on Vai, TEC noted, “Steve Vai’s sheer breathtaking facility on the guitar is acclaimed in the rock world and beyond…Vai has dedicated his talents to creatively advance the language of music. While many artists fit easily into a single category, Steve Vai remains unclassifiable. He is a musical alchemist of the highest order.”
In April and May of 2016, Vai joined Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt and Tosin Abasi for a tour of the U.S. & Canada — Generation Axe – A Night of Guitars. The tour, which featured all five guitarists performing together as one supergroup, as well as individual sets and various configurations, earned widespread acclaim. A short while thereafter, Vai launched a 50-date tour of Europe and beyond to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his landmark album, Passion and Warfare — highly regarded as one of the greatest instrumental rock guitar recordings of all time. In celebration of this groundbreaking recording, for the very first time live, Vai’s set list includes the entire Passion and Warfare record from top to bottom, with some very special surprises.