Vai’s Minneapolis Trilogy: Get Them All

April 14, 2010 | By | 2 Replies More

New CD – Last Part of the Trilogy – Out Now

Vai_OtherWildThings_art_1004In an era when the word “artist” is thrown around for everyone from “rap artists” (oxymoron) to people who couldn’t shovel snow with a guitar let alone play it (but are famous), I’m here to tell you something we already know: Steve Vai is a true artist. In multiple senses of the word.

This hit home to me when i saw him play in Portland, Ore. a few years ago. It was the tour when he put on that crazy light/lightbulb/flashlight suit about halfway through the show. When he came out in that, I was like, Holy crap – I’m not at just a “rock concert.” This is performance art.

And then there’s what he does with the same six strings that I play – apparently with 10 thumbs, at least compared to Steve. That same guitar we all play is like a body part for Steve – sort of a cliche for a great player, but how else do you say it? He plays guitar as easily as the rest of us – what? Catch a baseball?

Plus Steve looks like a rock star. He’s one of those guys – like the ones we idolized when we were young – who could wear a barrel with suspenders and still make it look cool. Which is cool! (I’d just settle for having all my hair back….)

Then there are the bands and performances he puts together. I don’t know how long these bands practice before hitting the road (anyone?), but they are TIGHT. And it’s not like they’re just going out and playing the songs. There are odd breaks and performance detours – the bottom line being that Steve has a band as tight as James Brown’s or Prince’s, no matter who’s in it. No small feat.

In case you think this is all a bunch of fan-boy stuff, it’s not. I’m too old for that (I think)! It’s just respect for a guy who is hugely talented and gives us our money’s worth all the dang time!

Speaking of that, Steve has a new CD out called Where the Other Wild Things Are – which is a play on the DVD and CD named Where the Wild Things Are (WTWTA). The WTWTA DVD and CD were filmed and recorded in high-def at the State Theater in Minneapolis, Minn. during Steve’s 2007 Sound Theories Tour. The DVD took 2 years to get released, and is worth whatever wait was endured. It kills! The performances are great, the visuals are great and the music is of course outstanding.

Steve has just released the final part of the WTWTA trilogy, Where the OTHER Wild Things Are (12 tunes). This has the tunes from the performance not released on the first CD. Here’s what Steve said about it: “The original CD release for Where the Wild Things Are consisted of songs from the concert DVD that had never been released in a live format before. It’s a robust CD! The other songs that were performed at the concert but were not released on the CD were burning a hole in the hard drive and beckoning me for the light of day, so I thought, even though these songs have been released in live versions with other bands from the past, my new band gives them a whole new life. So we decided to release a second disc that contains all the tracks that were not on the first disc.

“And there you have it: Where the Other Wild Things Are, and it’s even ‘robuster’ than the first one.”

I don’t know how Steve defines robust, but it – all of it – is mind-boggling. And there’s something on all of it for everyone who plays guitar, whether you’re a diehard Vai fan or not. It’s a performance, tone, technique, guitar porn feast for the senses.

Why the CDs?

I had that question: I have the DVD, so why should I get the CDs? I got the answer in my car, listening to the Other CD: CDs let you focus on the music instead of the visuals – how awesome it sounds overall and how Vai sounds. And sound is what it’s all about.

If you’re watching the DVD, you (I) can’t help but be mesmerized by Steve’s playing. And believe it or not, some of the music and emotion gets lost when watching. Listening with no visuals simply is a different experience.

So you can get just the DVD, but you’ll want the CDs (both) and vice versa. And all together are cheaper than the cost of most concert tickets these days.


> Steve’s gear is pretty well-known these days, at least when it comes to guitars (Ibanez Jems with DiMarzio Evolution, Evo 2 and Breed pickups) and amps (Carvin Legacy II – the stock cabs have Celestion Vintage 30s). He uses several pedals – here’s a photo of his pedalboard from the 2007 tour.


> FYI, the DVD Live In Minneapolis: Where The Wild Things Are debuted at #4 on Billboard’s Top Music DVD Chart, went gold in both the US and Canada, and the track “Now We Run” was nominated for a 2010 Grammy for best rock instrumental. The DVD is also available in Blu-ray.

Building the Church, from the DVD
> Sick! Every tune is like this!

Category: mp3/CD/DVD, Steve Vai

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  1. Todd says:

    Vai is on my list of must see. It's sad that true musicians/artists are overshadowed by the commercial machine telling you what's talent … from disney's stars to idol …. WTF?

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