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September 16, 2007

STEVE VAI @ The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA 9.12.07

My last concert review assignment for Billboard/Mobilebeat -- what a bummer!

I have to say THANK YOU again to Billboard & LG for this wonderful experience -- I've enjoyed every minute of it, and hate for it to end!

But what an amazing show to get to see and photograph for my last assignment -- Steve Vai at the historic Fillmore in San Francisco.


As I traveled to Chicago and spent 11 hours in a stadium watching some of the greatest in the world at the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival, you've probably noticed that I LOVE the electric guitar. To get a chance to see Steve Vai, who is considered to be one of the all-time greatest guitar players was very exciting. ( Steve Vai was not at Crossroads this year, but was at the first Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2004 ... and if you haven't bought or rented that DVD yet, GO DO IT!)

But wait ... there's more!

Steve Vai's opening act was another INCREDIBLE guitar player ... Orianthi.


Orianthi is a 22-year old young lady from Australia, and she players the guitar like you would not believe.  (And she's absolutely gorgeous too!)   Not surprising to learn that she is somewhat of a protege of Carlos Santana (one of my Top 3 Favorite Guitar Players), who she lists as one of her top musical inspirations.  Her music ranged from one song which had a very Santana feel to it -- to heavy metal.



Orianthi is an amazingly talented young woman.   After her set, she was signing autographs in the lobby ... I had a photo signed for my two sons.  Well, I knew that my 12 year old would really appreciate the fact that this girl is beautiful, and I told them, "Keep this. This girl is going to be a BIG STAR someday." (You read it here, folks!)   :-)

Steve Vai looks every bit the rock star -- his clothes, his hair, his lighting, and his guitars convey the perfect rock star image.    But he's SO much more than that!   His music is not exclusively rock; like his opening act, Orianthi, he plays many styles of music, and as he is a TRUE MUSICIAN (somebody who KNOWS music -- he's not just somebody who PLAYS music); it's an absolute thrill to see him perform.


OK, let me amend that ... he's not JUST a musician, he's also a PERFORMER.   He's fun to look at!   He puts on a SHOW!!  (I mean seriously ... if you didn't care for a particular song, all you'd have to do is just WATCH him and you'd be plenty entertained ... with his hair being blown straight up by fans, his facial expressions, his moves, his clothing changes, the lights & the fog ... he even had a see-through guitar with a light-show going on inside!!)


Let me tell you a little bit about Steve Vai, and I think you'll understand just what an incredible guitar player and performer he is.

At the age of 14 he took guitar lessons from ... JOE SATRIANI.   (Enough said? You want more??)

His first band gig was with Frank Zappa. (He occasionally sits in as a special guest with Dweezil Zappa's "Zappa Plays Zappa," which was expertly reviewed and photographed recently by SOMEBODY on this very website.)    :-)

He has played with David Lee Roth, Whitesnake, Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osborne, Al Di Meola, Eric Johnson, and Joe Satriani, among others.

He won a Grammy Award in 1994 for his performance on Frank Zappa's song "Sofa," from the "Zappa's Universe" album.  He appears on many lists of "top guitar players of all time," and his guitar solo from his song, "For the Love of God" has been voted one of the "top guitar solos of all time."


Vai's work and his passion for music are all about creating new and different sounds. In 2002 he performed with the 100-piece Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, doing a concerto for electric guitar and (100-piece!!) orchestra written by an esteemed Japanese composer and pianist, Ichiro Nodaira.

His band includes to of the most incredible violin players you've ever seen.  I can't find much information about them on the internet to share with you, but they clearly are both "classically trained" violinists. They performed a Dueling Violins that was a highlight of the show and just about brought the house down.



Their Battle of the Violins gave me goose bumps ...


Steve Vai has a "Jerry Rice-like" work ethic ... it's reported that he practices the guitar TEN HOURS A DAY.    Reminds me of that old joke:  "How do you get to Carneige Hall?"   Answer: "Practice, practice, practice."


Steve Vai is a very special musician and performer, and I'm delighted that I had a chance to see his show. Thank you again, Billboard and LG!  And thanks to all my friends, acquaintances, and people I don’t even know who have read my blogs and posted comments.

-- Lesley Beals

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The Hair

Wow how the heck did you get a job reviewing concerts for Billboard? I wanna do that!

The first time I saw Steve he was playing with Santana and Satriani and had Kenny Wayne Shepard open for them. He really is every bit the performer.


The Hair

The Hair

Wow how the heck did you get a job reviewing concerts for Billboard? I wanna do that!

The first time I saw Steve he was playing with Santana and Satriani and had Kenny Wayne Shepard open for them. He really is every bit the performer.


The Hair

Gary Rossiter

WOW, what a show I was there also.

So Steve Vie took lessons fron Joe Satriani
how old is Joe ?

Steve Vie is a Guitar Wizzard !!!

Nice post Lesley,

Gary Rossiter


sorry that this is the last leg of your "summer tour!" next summer you and i are both entering the contest!!! i want to do this job too :-P


Wow, another informative review and fantastic pictures...that LG phone is amazing ! I'm sorry to hear that this is your last review, they have been so entertaining. If the people at Billboard have any brains, they'll sign you up as a regular reviewer !!!!

Great job Lesley !!


No! Say it ain't so! This is your last review? I've really enjoyed every one, and your reviews have prompted me to look for music by artists I haven't heard of before (like Orianthi). You're an excellent writer and photographer, thanks for blogging, Lesley!


Did I forget to ask, where's my LG Phone? I hope they let you keep it so I can borrow it... ;)


Great work, Lesley, introducing me to some rock performers I had never heard about before your posts. I love the color in your photos and that you interwove them so well with the text. You have a wonderful style of writing, you easily draw people in to the event...Great work!

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