This was a benefit concert to benefit Cliff Cultreri, the Relativity and A&M Exec who discovered Joe Satriani and Steve Vai and many others. Many friends came to support the cause.
As usual, I took my camera phone, and the pictures can be seen here.
I must say this was one of the very best performances I have been to.
Not only was the stage in this small venue graced with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai playing their favorite instruments and favorite songs (including oldies we have not heard in a long time), they had a seemingly never ending list of special guest stars to the stage.
You’ve heard of G3? This was like G8. Let’s see if I can remember the big 8:
Paul Gilbert (his site, Wikipedia site) (pictured to right) was one player of note. At 6’4” tall, he was easily the giant on the stage. And this man can really shred, when given the opportunity for his long solos. Aside from Vai and Satch, I think he amazed us the most. He also sang and I was very impressed!
Steve Lukather (his site, Wikipedia site) (pictured to right) also played his heart out. He played “Always With Me, Always With You” with Satch, and did some truly remarkable things with it. I get the feeling he’s played a ballad before… This is the guitarist from the band Toto.
Dweezil Zappa (Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa) (his site) played a couple of songs, and was obviously very familiar with being on stage.
Scott Henderson (his site) also performed, but stayed so far off to the side that we could not see him!
Johnny Hiland (his site) (pictured below) is one man who can shred like mad. He came out for a song with Steve Vai, then came out with Satriani, and then came out again with the entire crew.
Johnny A (his site) (pictured below) also wowed us with his performance. Very professional delivery from this guy!
Steve Vai’s (his site) (pictured above and below) guitar work was incredible as always. His facial expressions are unforgettable and very signature. Every time I see him, he has a new trick to playing even more stuff with just his left hand. This is one of only two times I’ve seen him play where he didn’t whip out a two- or three-necked guitar. He played Flo and Evo (and swapped out between the two several times), his DNA guitar, and an interesting guitar with bright blue lights up and down the neck.
Billy Sheehan (his site) (pictured below) played a two necked bass, and Vai only played single necked guitars. At one point, Vai comes up behind Billy and reaches around and plays his bass, while Billy reaches back and plays Vai’s guitar. Later they face each other and play each other’s instruments again.
Joe Satriani (his site) (pictured above) is still playing with Dave Larue (his site) which is a good thing. Not that I don’t miss Matt Bissonnette or Stuart Hamm – I miss them both greatly. I’m just saying that Joe switched to another expert bass player - Dave is very talented. I still love his rendition of Cool #9! This is the second time I've seen him play it, and it's great!
Joe did his normal amazing job. I can’t say enough about his skill at the guitar. His skill is flawless, and his technique great as ever.
His current rhythm guitarist (does anyone know his name?) is top notch, although I do miss Eric Cordeaux and others he has played with before.
They played 7 or 8 songs after the normal Vai and Satch sets, including Little Wing, a couple of Hendrix tunes, at least one ZZ Top tune, and “My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mother,” a favorite Zappa tune.
Between Vai’s set and Satch’s beginning, a DJ came up to MC an auction for a bunch of gear and mementoes, including signed gold press albums, signed posters, signed album artwork, and several guitars. Joe’s shiny guitar began its auction life at $2,000, and was immediately raised to $5,000 by someone who obviously wanted that particular trophy. No one upped him, and he got it. It was also announced he’d receive a free lesson from Joe. Several other guitars went for $1,000 to $2,500, and many mementoes for $125 to $850 or so.
Weeks before the concert, as part of the fundraising event, Steve Vai donated his prototype DNA guitar. A couple from Italy won the auction on eBay for $26,000 (I believe that’s what Vai said as he made the announcement) and flew out to pick up the guitar. He brought them on stage and introduced them and gave them the guitar. He mentioned that only 300 of the DNA guitars was made, and that they used his blood in the paint for the guitars. Creepy, but cool in an odd Vai sort of way!
This was definitely one of the best concert performances I have ever had the honor to attend. I would definitely repeat this event.