Steve Vai @ House of Blues, Dallas, TX

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
If you glance at any list of the world’s top guitar players, it is almost guaranteed Steve Vai’s name will be somewhere in the top one-hundred! On this night, Mr. Vai provides living proof that he is certainly worthy of those accolades. My first introduction to this virtuoso was through this thing called MTV, they used to play music videos. Playing in David Lee Roth’s band at that time, he appears in a video playing a triple neck, heart-shaped guitar, for young guitar players this was revolutionary! Say what you will about David Lee, but he has always had a knack for collaborating with top-notch players.

At this point, I should mention prior to his employment with Roth, he played guitar in another group of talented musicians, Frank Zappa’s band. Vai’s resume also includes a stint in Whitesnake and Alcatrazz. As a solo artist for the past 30 years, he has proven he can stand on his own merits. To drive this point home tonight’s show only has one name on the marquee, no opening act needed. Amongst the pre-show crowd chatter, you can overhear conversations about guitars, gear, and over-exaggerated tales of one’s guitar prowess.

Rows of chairs on the House of Blues floor suggest that Vai’s show is designed for observation. With so many budding guitarists in attendance, they will surely want to observe an expert at work. After a three-year layoff is touring in support of his latest effort, Inviolate. Quickly introducing Dallas to the new material, he opens the set with the album’s sixth track, “Avalancha.” The theatrics with his Ibanez guitars are limited to the fretboard but occasionally he will sneak in a few cool tricks, see attached photos.

As I eluded earlier, Vai has a fondness for unique guitars, this tour introduces the public to his newest creation, Hydra. The Hydra guitar features three necks, a set of harp strings on the body, with steam punk inspired details. The new album opens with “Teeth of Hydra”, a piece of music that is designed to highlight every inch of this mythical beast of a guitar! Big cheers were in the house as Tim Henson and Scott LePage of Polyphia join Steve on stage for an impromptu riff fest. Polyphia’s recently released single, “Ego Death”, features a Steve Vai soloing with this Plano, TX-based band.

And what good would a maestro be without a band? Philip Bynoe (bass), Dave Wiener (guitar), and Jeremy Colson (drums) do a stellar job of filling any voids left by Vai. And each member puts their talents on display with solos at different points throughout the show. A Steve Vai show may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have any interest seeing guitar playing done right, then Mr. Vai is the guy to see! Big thanks to Steve Vai and the House of Blues for allowing MTC MAG to be front and center!

Photos of the show are below:

Contributed by Duane Clawson
Steve Vai @ House of Blues, Dallas, TX Steve Vai @ House of Blues, Dallas, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on October 10, 2022 Rating: 5
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