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Steve Vai – Live!

Steve Vai. Amazing guitar player! UNREAL guitar player! He’s really quite the sight to see.

I’ve seen Steve Vai twice. Once on November 18, 1999 in Providence, RI at Lupos Heartbreak Hotel (when they were still on Westminster Street) and again in Boston, MA on March 31, 2005 at the Avalon (which is now the House of Blues). First up….Providence!

I went to this show with my buddy Denslow. This was at the peak of my “I want to be a bad ass guitar player” phase. When I watched Vai though, it didn’t energize me to practice more. Instead, he showed me how much I suck. I had been playing for a few years so I knew my limits. No way in hell was I going to be able to get anywhere close to this guy. He is truly amazing. What was cool about this show was that a local music store had held a contest to win a chance to play with Vai. People had to submit their recordings and he would choose a winner when he got into town. When this point in the show came, he introduced the winner (some chick) and invited her to play. He picked a song that he figured was safe and that every guitar player or wannabe guitar player would know: Black Dog by Led Zeppelin. This chick had NO IDEA what the song was. Even as they began to play it, she was completely clueless. Steve was dumbfounded (and felt bad) as he figured everyone would know it. She got through it pretty well, but she had clearly never heard the song before.

At some point during the show, which makes it one of my favorite concert moments, Steve bent down during one of the songs to adjust a fan that was blowing on him. It was a part of the song where he didn’t necessarily need to play while the band kept the rhythm. Like many shows at Lupos, I had gotten there early to be as close to the stage as I could be. As he bent over to adjust the fan, I saw the guitar pick still in his hand and plucked it out. Souvenir for me!! He gave me a “what the hell?” look at first, but I looked back with a shit-eating grin and a thumbs up. He shot a laugh and a thumbs up my way and went about the rest of the show.

He hung around after the show to talk with his fans, and I got my ticket stub signed that night. Very cool guy and so impressive.

Thanks for the signature!

So in 2005 when my friend Miguel, who actually is a bad ass guitar player, asked me to go see Steve Vai I of course said yes.

While Vai was impressive and super entertaining as I’d expected, this show was a bit different. First off, the sound system was f’ing up most of the night causing one of the speaker stacks to crackle. It was quite loud and sounded like an electrical issue which gave me some anxiety considering my past experience with the Station nightclub fire.

This show was still almost 2 years prior to the first iPhone being released, but we checked online and cameras were allowed (non-professional equipment only). Throughout the night Miguel snapped some amazing photos. We were so excited about the images he was capturing. Then literally during the last or 2nd to last song, a bouncer walked over and said something to him and they walked away. I honestly thought he was pulling him aside to give him a better view or something but he never came back. I found him outside moments later. When I asked what happened, he told me the bouncer had forced him delete the images (it was that or hand over the SD card) and kicked him out after deciding the camera was professional quality. It wasn’t, I had the same one at home. We’re pretty sure the bouncer was just a racist dick.

We emailed the contact on Steve Vai’s website the next day, but no reply. That ending ruined the night. Not Vai’s fault at all. But that club sucked. I’ve been back since HOB took it over and it’s much better now.

About Rob the Concert Guy

I love live music and will pretty much go to just about any concert. I've made a lot of friends because of my willingness to put that extra ticket to good use. I've been to hundreds of shows and finally I decided I should start writing about them. Better late than never I guess.


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