STEVE VAI - Unmasked!
by Martin Popoff

With the release of Mystery Tracks Vol. 3 and Vol. 4, plus The Essential Steve Vai 2CD set, plus the Live At The Astoria London DVD, there's lots of ear-piercing Steve to go around. Front wave of the flood however is G3 Live - Rockin' In The Free World, a 2CD axe extravaganza that finds Steve, Joe Satriani and Yngwie Malmsteen in separate 20 minute sets on the first disc, then on the second disc, a half hour jam framed around two Hendrix staples plus the Neil Young-penned title track.

"It's sort of a historical club in London," says Vai of the venue used for the white hot new DVD. "It holds about 2000 people or so but it has various functions. It's a very cool place to have a concert; it sounds good, and those particular two nights at which we played, it turned into a giant gay bar, after we played. So it definitely has some colour. After we performed, the next night it was a gay bar party, and then the next night it would be like, you know, a singles thing, and then changing again, you know what I mean?"

One of the cool things about Vai live (and which can be experienced on the DVD) is the theatrical aspect, starting with his "plumage," in particular, Vai's opening the show wearing a mask. "Well, I don't know if it's meant to mean anything deep and esoteric," explains Steve. "The way that I thought about it was that I want to come out... I didn't want to just walk out and start playing. I wanted to put on a show with that band. When I do solo performances, I try to rack my brain to come up with interesting things that come off entertaining. Coming out... when you're waiting in the audience for someone you want to see, and you've been waiting a long time, once they come out, you see them, and there they are. And I go by the way I felt, when I saw people, when I see musicians I really admire, and I've been waiting a long time."

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