Tag Archives: ibanez JEM

Steve Vai’s Bo is back

SteveGreat news everyone: Bo, Steve’s mirrored JEM that went missing this past weekend, has been found left in the bushes at the gate on Steve’s property. We do not have any more details on how it got there and will perhaps forever remain a mystery. The entire Vai camp is grateful for all the amazing outpouring of support we have seen regarding this issue over the last week. Bo is now ready for 2016 and all the notes she will once again be singing from Steve’s fingers and soul.

Steve Vai’s Guitar Stolen Outside L.A. Benefit Concert

Mark Davis, Getty Images Mark Davis, Getty Images

Steve Vai‘s “Bo” guitar was stolen outside a benefit concert today (Dec. 12) for Tony MacAlpine. Guitar tech James Shotwell is now offering a reward.

The instrument, a mirror Ibanex JEM with blue LEDs pictured above, vanished from the loading area of the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. Vai is appearing there with Zakk Wylde, Billy Sheehan, Derek Sherinian, Mike Portnoy and John 5.

Vai’s Facebook page includes detailed information on “Bo,” including distinctive wear marks. “This is a one-off, irreplaceable guitar,” says Shotwell, who has worked for Dio Disciples’ Craig Goldy and the Lucky Strike Live venue in Los Angeles. “Anyone sees this guitar, contact me immediately! This isn’t hard to spot and is very unique.”

This wouldn’t be the first guitar Vai has lost. In fact, his web site lists a number of missing axes that have been “stolen, misplaced or loaned and never returned” – including a guitar used in the “Yankee Rose” video during Vai’s tenure in David Lee Roth‘s band, a black Ibanez loaned to a second studio engineer, and others.

MacAlpine, who is fighting colon cancer, has previously worked in bands with Vai (The Breed) and Sherinian (Planet X) as well as Portnoy and Sheehan (PSMS). Sheehan and John 5 are also Roth band alumni. Tragically, MacAlpine’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in June.

Read More: Steve Vai’s Guitar Stolen Outside L.A. Benefit Concert | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/steve-vai-guitar-stolen

EM7V SBL (Sparkle Blue)


The Ibanez JEM7V,also known as the JEM7V SBL (Sparkle Blue), is a JEM guitar guitar model and signature model of American guitarist Steve Vai.

Features include DiMarzio pickups, a double locking tremolo, a special Sparkle Blue finish and matched blue vine fingerboard inlays. It was introduced in 2002 as a finish variant of the white JEM7V. Other differences with the JEM7V WH were the hardware color and the rosewood fingerboard. It was discontinued, after three years, in 2004.

In 2003, the Lo Pro Edge tremolo was replaced with the new Edge Pro.

Specifications for JEM7V (Sparkle Blue)
Name: JEM7V
Years: 2002-2004
Areas: Worldwide
Made in: Japan
Finishes: SBL (Sparkle Blue)
Body material:
Alder with Basswood veneers
Neck joint:
2002: Lo Pro Edge
2003-2004: Edge Pro
Hardware color:
Vintage Silver
Neck type:
JEM Prestige
Neck material:
1-Piece Maple
Scalloped frets 21 to 24
Blue Vine
24 / W/6105
PU Config:
Neck PU:
DiMarzio Evolution
Mid PU:
DiMarzio Evolution
Bridge PU:
DiMarzio Evolution
1 Volume / 1 Tone / 5-Way Lever

Ibanez JEM 777 DY Guitar Specifications



   _DSC3193 Item: The Original JEM777DY Our Replicated JEM777DY
Finish: Desert Sun Yellow Desert Sun Yellow
Body Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Wood: Basswood Basswood
Body Construction: Bolt-on Bolt-on
Neck Wood: Maple Maple
Neck type: JEM JEM
Fretboard: Maple Maple
Inlays: 3-Color Pyramid Inlay 3-Color Pyramid Inlay
Scale Length: 25.5″ 25.5″
Frets: 24 24
Bridge: Edge High-quanlity OEM
Pickup Switching: 5-Way Selector 5-Way Selector
Controls: 1 volume, 1 tone  1 volume, 1 tone
Hardware: Black Black
Pickups: DiMarzio PAF Pro(H-S-H) Wilkinson(H-S-H) 


The Story of Steve Vai and the Ibanez JEM777

Steven Siro Vai(born June 6, 1960) is an American guitarist, songwriter and producer who has sold over 15 million albums. After starting his career as a music transcriptionist for Frank Zappa, Vai recorded and toured in Zappa’s band for two years, from 1980 to 1982. He began a solo career in 1983, has released eight solo albums and won three Grammy Awards. He has also recorded and toured withPublic Image Ltd., Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth and Whitesnake. Vai has been a regular touring member of the G3 Concert Tour G3 which began in 1995. In 1999 Vai started his own record label Favored Nations.

JEM777 is an electric guitar and first produced in 1987. It was revealed at the 1987 summer NAMM Show.The guitar’s most notable user is its co-designer, Steve Vai. So aside from being today’s #1 Rock guitarist, Steve Vai has some very definite ideas about guitar design. After carefully checking the elements that made his favorite guitars work, Steve drew all the best features together into one instrument, unique in both form and function. The features include the “Monkey Grip” handle, the “Disappearing Pyramid” inlays, lions claw and so on. For those who like to know, why they are called JEM and not SV or something like that. Joe Desagni, a friend of Steve Vai owned a company that called JEM guitars that made custom guitars. When naming this guitar, Steve Vai decided to use JEM finally.

The JEM777 was available in three different and, at the time, unique finishes and started the famous Jem-line. Of the Loch Ness Green version(LNG) was the first being produced and only available in 1987, only 777 were made (All signed by Steve Vai). The Desert Sun Yellow version(DY) was produced from 1987 until 1996. The Shocking Pink version(SK) was available from 1987 until 1989. All three have the 3 colours green, yellow and pink in it. And they all share the 3-color pyramid inlay.


Features of the JEM 777DY Guitar

1987 JEM777 in Desert Sun Yellow was made for and owned by Steve Vai- customized personal favorite guitar used on David Lee Roth “Skyscraper” tour. Steve Vai gave this away for a children’s hospital charity. On the back, it was Steve Vai’s declaration: “To a worthy cause-this is my personal favorite guitar-Skyscraper ’88- Steve Vai”

The Ibanez JEM 777 DY is beautifully made from the basswood body to the maple neck. They are in accordance with the original JEM777. Although the body is a little heavy it offers lots of resonance giving the guitar very high levels of sustain. It is a totally balanced sound. Neon color combination and look!!! The Ibanez JEM 777 DY has a yellow body and black pickguard, green knobs and pink pickups, switch and lion’s claw. It looks fantastic!


3 Color Disappearing Pyramid.



Another feature of the JEM777 is the famous lion’s claw The lion’s claw is the space under the tremolo. Although the claw itself is just cosmetic, the space under the tremolo makes it possible to pull the tremolo as much as a 5th. The original JEM777 have 2 humbuckers and 1 single coil. We have duplicated it as well. Together with the special 5-way switch, they give a beautiful tone to the guitar  when it comes to playing metal or hard rock as the pickups offer an excellent bass and treble response allowing you to get the perfect sound for those crunching, muted chords.











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Ibanez JEM Models and Variations

Ibenez neon

JEM Anniversary

There are four sub-models of the JEM Anniversary.


The model was created for JEM’s tenth anniversary in 1997, although production started in 1996. “This sub-model of Anniversary JEM includes numbered letter of authenticity hand-signed by Steve Vai. The aluminium pickguard has an engraved vine and its JEM10 serial number. JEM10s designated for the USA have a silver tweed JEM case with outside plaque and inner silk screened protective shroud. Later numbered JEM10s going to the USA have their JEM10 plaque screwed onto the case, instead of riveted/glued on.” There are 852 JEM10 guitars around the globe (210 of them are in the United States), and each guitar has its own serial number. #1 is at Hoshino USA, #2 is at Roland (Roland/Meinl) in Germany. #3, #5, #7, and #9 went for sale in the US and JEM10 #16 was given away by Steve during G3.


HAM stands for Hoshino Anniversary Model, which was made for the 90th Anniversary of Hoshino. The specifications are similar to the JEM10 model, as both use the same type of wood, pickups, hardware and tremolos. There were exactly 72 guitars brought by Ibanez to the US of the 831 available worldwide.


The most notable aspect is the color, as Vai added his DNA (blood) to the mixture of the paint. The painter of the guitar, Darren Michaels/Darren Johansen of ATD (About Time Designs), stated on Jemsite.com, “For the record if you own a DNA you have a good amount of the “DNA”. The “blood red” paint that I mixed was mixed at a ratio  of approximately 8:1 [paint:blood] so the content is quite high. There had to be pigment mixed into the paint to hold it onto the guitar as well as a carrier. If you purchase a canvas you get a picture of myself and someone mixing [the blood] in to the color. Also a picture of the room we did the guitars in too. The canvases also have the same content as I mixed all the DNA left into the paint when I left Japan and brought the paint back with me . I hope this clears things up for you”The guitars were made in the year 2000, represented in the model series, JEM2KDNA (2000). Around the world, there are exactly 300 guitars.


In 2007 Ibanez announced the 20th Anniversary JEM guitar. This guitar is made of acrylic with multicolour paint streaks running through it. When the tone control is pulled up a set of green LED’s light up within the body.

Standard Production Models


From six different variants, currently Ibanez produces only the JEM7VWH series as it was Steve Vai’s main guitar that he used for live performances. Steve Vai has one JEM7VWH with exactly the same specification as the guitars on the market, which he named “Evo”. The main features of JEM7 variants are the monkey grip, which are located above the pickups and the scalloped fingerboard that applies from the 21st fret up to the 24th. This series is also equipped with DiMarzio Evolution pickups. In 2003, the 7VWH specifications were changed from an ebony fingerboard to a rosewood fingerboard. According to Ibanez officials, this was done because “Evo” and “Flo” also had their necks changed to rosewood fingerboards.

Complete list of JEM7 variants:

  • JEM7RB – dot inlays, Root Beer, American Basswood body (production 1988,1989)
  • JEM7PBK – disappearing pyramid inlays, Pearl Black, American Basswood body (production 1989,1990)
  • JEM7VWH – vine inlay, White, Alder body (production 1993–present)
  • JEM7BSB – screw head inlays, Burnt Stained Blue, American Basswood body (production 1996 – 1998)
  • JEM7DBK – screw head inlays, Black with texture, American Basswood body (production 1999 – 2004)
  • JEM7VSBL – Blue vine inlay, Sparkle Blue, Alder body (production 2002 – 2004)
  • JEM7EAFX – fixed bridge, vine inlay, Black, American Basswood body (production 2009)
  • JEMVLWH – vine inlay, White, Alder body (production 2009) Lefthand model of the JEM7VWH


The older 77 guitars use the DiMarzio PAF Pro pickups, where the new 77BRMR (discontinued) and the 77VBK (discontinued) are equipped with DiMarzio Breed pickups. Steve Vai used to use the JEM77BRM model as his other main gear, named “MOJO”. Steve’s version of the 77BRMR has a few modifications that are not in the production model, such as blue LED light fingerboard inlays. The 77FP and 77BFP featured a flower pattern, that was a real fabric, put over the black painted guitar body and then clearcoated onto the guitar. The 77FP was re-issued as the 15th anniversary model, with exactly the same specs as the older 77FP. Therefore the 77FP is widely available on the used guitar market and the cheapest collectors model. The new Flower Pattern is the 2010 release of Ibanez, the Ibanez Jem77FP2. It features a basswood body clad in actual floral pattern fabric chosen specifically by Steve, and then clear-coated. The guitar features a 5pc maple and walnut neck with a rosewood fingerboard, and vine neck inlay with red accents to match the body design.

Complete list of JEM77 variants:

  • JEM77FP – vine inlay, Flower Pattern, American Basswood body (years of production 1988 – 2003)
  • JEM77BFP – vine inlay, Blue Flower Pattern, American Basswood body (production 1991 – 1994)
  • JEM77GMC – vine inlay, Green Multi Color, American Basswood body (production 1992 – 1993)
  • JEM77PMC – disappearing pyramid inlay, Purple Multi Color, American Basswood body (production 1992 – 1993)
  • JEM77BRMR – dot inlay, Black Rock Mirror, American Basswood body (production 2005 – 2006)
  • JEM77VBK – vine inlay, Black, American Basswood body (production 2007–2011)
  • JEM77FP2 – vine inlay, Flower Pattern 2, American Basswood body (2010 – present)


The JEM777 variants are the oldest variants among all JEM models. Currently no 777 model is in production. There are exactly 777 JEM777LNG (which stands for “Loch Ness Green”) guitars around the world, which is also the first variant produced. One of the most noted users of these was the late Denis D’Amour of Canadian band Voivod. The Loch Ness Green guitars were also hand signed by Steve Vai. From a technical point of view, all JEM777 guitars have more or less the same specifications with the other two JEM models (JEM7 and JEM77) . All Jem777LNGs have been signed and numbered by Steve Vai with a differing squiggle/graphic underneath making each guitar very unique.

_DSC3177The Ibanez JEM 777DY

Complete list of JEM777 variants:

  • JEM777LNG – disappearing pyramid inlay, Loch Ness Green, American Basswood body, personalized signature (years of production 1987)
  • JEM777DY – disappearing pyramid inlay, Desert Sun Yellow, American Basswood body ( years of production 1987 – 1996)
  • JEM777SK – disappearing pyramid inlay, Shocking Pink, American Basswood body ( years of production 1987 – 1989)
  • JEM777VBK – vine inlay, Black, American Basswood body (years of production 1988 – 1992)
  • JEM777VDY – vine inlay, Desert Sun Yellow, American Basswood body ( years of production 1989 – 1991)
  • JEM777VSK – vine inlay, Shocking Pink, American Basswood body ( year of production 1989)

JEM 555

All the JEM555 variants are not widely available in the USA currently, as Ibanez received a great deal of negative feedback from consumers. However, in 2000, the variants have been reintroduced in many different countries thanks to high demand. Unlike the other JEM variants, the 555s are Korean-made rather than Japanese and are of lower quality and specs. Most years have the script JEM Jr. on the headstock.

Complete list of JEM555 variants:

  • JEM555BK – vine/ dot inlay, Black, American Basswood body (years of production 1994–2000)
  • JEM555WH – vine/ dot inlay, White, American Basswood body (years of production 1994–present)
  • JEM555LWH – vine/ dot inlay, White, American Basswood body (years of production 1997 – 1999)

JEM 505

Complete list of JEM505 variants:

  • JEM505BK – black dot inlay, Black, Basswood body (years of production 2010–2011)
  • JEM505WH – black dot inlay, White, Basswood body (years of production 2010–2011)

JEM 333

These are currently only available in East Asian and South American countries. In essence it is an RG350EX with the monkey grip, using the same Infinity pickups instead of DiMarzio pickups that even the JEM555 used, and the Ibanez Edge III tremolo.

(Unfortunately, there are some companies in Asia (China) that produce JEM counterfeit copies. These are cheaply made and are sometimes sold on US auction sites. They’re referred to as “Chibanez” models in the US. These are not to be confused with the authentic Ibanez JEM333 models.)

Universe 7-string

The Universe series is not a JEM sub-model. It was designed from the start as its own model separate from the JEM despite its similarities.


From 1987 to 1992 all Ibanez JEM models came standard with a DiMarzio PAF PRO (Humbucker) neck pickup in the neck position, a DiMarzio PAF PRO (Humbucker) bridge pickup in the bridge position, and a DiMarzio JEM (Single Coil) in the middle position.

In 1993 the JEM7VWH was introduced. One of the new features of this guitar was the new DiMarzio EVOLUTION (hence the guitar also being known as EVO) pickups in the neck and bridge position, but the DiMarzio JEM middle pickup was still featured on the model introduced in 1993. This pickup configuration was standard on all JEM7’s, JEM77’s, and special edition JEM’s from 1993 to 1998 (JEM777’s were not produced after 1992). A slightly different pickup configuration has been featured of JEM555 models ever since their original production in 1994, JEM555 feature an EVOLUTION middle pickup in addition to the EVOLUTION neck and bridge pickups (a feature that was not standard on other JEM’s with EVOLUTION pickups until later in the JEM’s history).

In 1999 the JEM7DBK was the first JEM with DiMarzio BREED pickups.

The JEM7VSBL which was originally produced in 2002 was the first JEM that was not a JEM555 to feature a DiMarzio EVOLUTION single coil pickup in the middle position.

All JEM’s introduced in 2003 or after have either all Dimarzio EVOLUTION or BREED pickups except for the JEM-JR (JEM333), the JEM20th, and the JEM505.

The Acrylic JEM20th featured DiMarzio TranceJEM pickups.

The Birth of the Ibanez JEM series

Ibanez JEM is an electric guitar manufactured by Ibanez and first produced in 1987. The guitar’s most notable user is its co-designer, Steve Vai. As of 2010, there have been five sub-models of the JEM: the JEM7, JEM77, JEM777, JEM555, JEM333, and JEM70V. Although the Ibanez JEM series is a signature series guitar, Ibanez mass-produces several of the guitar’s sub-models.

The design of the Ibanez JEM series was heavily influenced by the superstrat style of guitars of the early 1980s such as the Jackson Soloist, Kramer Beretta and Hamer Chaparral. This type of guitar is more aggressively styled in terms of shape and specifications compared to the Stratocaster on which they are based.

Ibenez neon

Earlier guitars

Previously, Vai used a handbuilt guitar by Charvel Jackson. With Joe Despagni and Tom Anderson he created various custom guitars and used Tom Anderson’s model to record the demo of the David Lee Roth album Skyscraper. Vai also began to bring his Tom Anderson guitars on tour:

“… He built this for me after my old green monster, which I used out on the road last year until it died. I was pulling on the whammy bar and ripped the bar right out of the guitar [laughs]; it was actually ripped out before the show at Madison Square Garden. I was dying. So I started using Tom’s guitar as my main guitar for the rest of the tour, and I really like it because it has a very heavy sound to it. So I took the best of the sounds from that guitar and had them incorporated into the Ibanez.”

Ibanez and Steve Vai

Vai decided to stop using his Anderson guitar in favour of a guitar deal with a bigger company. Just before Christmas 1986 Ibanez received Vai’s guitar specification; they were similar to Despagni’s guitars. Ibanez built one of their “Maxxas” guitars for him with a palmrest for the tremolo. Vai liked the model and decided to produce that particular guitar with Ibanez. It took five months to make the new model samples in Japan, the JEM guitar and the RG range which launched at the NAMM Industry Trade Show in June 1987.

Design and production

Steve Vai with Ibanez JEM

After the JEM series was launched at the NAMM show, Ibanez with Steve Vai began to design and produce the guitar actively. Rich Lasner of Hoshino explained that Vai used a “Chinese menu approach” to design the guitar (i.e. choosing from many different categories). The first design was by Vai, when he sent Hoshino his ideas from many different guitar features he liked and combined it into one guitar. The essential considerations were the weight, wood types and pickups. For the latter specification, Vai decided long before Ibanez contacted him, that he would use DiMarzio pickups for his guitars.

Later, Lasner asked Vai to explain the guitar specifications further: “‘The first thing he did” Lasner explains, “was disassemble them on the spot. Neck from body, pickguard off, tremolo out… took ’em apart. I was shocked, to say the least. But Steve looked at me nonchalantly and said, ‘Relax, I do this all the time.’ He wanted to check Mace’s detail and craftsmanship.””[2] Mace Bailey, who was also involved in the production, later went to Japan to the Ibanez factory to really begin producing the guitar. He sat there with the craftsmen and made ten guitars for Vai.

Naming conventions

Ibanez has not revealed much about the naming system of the JEM models(JEMxxx) but letters always refer to the name of the color pattern used for each models (JEM777LNG > LochNess Green). However, it is known that the number 7 came from Steve Vai himself as he likes the number 7. Steve Vai has also released an album titled “The Seventh Song” which contains ballad songs from albums before “The Seventh Song”. Steve Vai  stated on the CD cover, “Traditionally, I have made the 7th song on all my CD’s the mellifluous guitar ballad that serves the melody on a silver platter. In numerology, the number 7 is shrouded in mystique. In a record sequence, it has always felt like the sweet spot. These songs are more devotional in nature than technical. They are a reflection of one man’s desire to expose a glimmer of the depth of his longing for spiritual communion.”

There are 4 JEM sub-model numbers: 7, 77, 777 and 555. JEM777 was the first JEM sub-model, created in 1987. Currently Ibanez no longer sells this model, thus some of these models are quite rare, especially the JEM777LNG, which was a limited run and each model was hand-signed by Steve Vai. On the other hand, JEM77 models are more widely available compared to the JEM777 guitars. Some of the 77 models are very easy to make out and are especially interesting for collectors-these are models with a floral or multicolor pattern, for example, the JEM77FP (Floral Pattern) and the JEM77PMC (Purple MultiColor). However, a variant of JEM77, the JEM77BRMR is not a multicolor guitar, but it has dot inlays on the fingerboard and a “rock mirror” finish and the 77VBK, which is basic black with a mirror pickguard and the vine inlay. The JEM 7 series was derived from Steve’s current main guitar, “Evo” and is still in production, with the 7VWH being the longest run production model of all JEM guitars. The 7VWH is still in production today. Different from other JEM models, JEM555 is produced in Korea and in terms of quality, this variant is considered by many to be poorer than the others. As of 2008, the only production model JEM guitars are the 7VWH and the 77VBK. The cheaper Korean- made 555 was discontinued in 2000 for the USA market. JEM505 needs mentioning, the JEM333 is no where to be found, the other jem77 models. etc. etc. In 2008 there were more models than the 7vwh and 7vbk.

80s guitars 2

Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 36 Amp Head

Hughes & Kettner’s Tubemeister has a few new tube heads. The 5 watt mini amp, the 18 and 36 watt. I was impressed of the feature set and huge sound of the 5 watt. The  Tubemeister 36, with 36 watts of output and three channels, offers considerably more features in a compact package that’s only about twice the size of the Tubemeister 5. The Tubemeister 36 may still qualify as a mini amp, but the only things small about it are its physical dimensions and affordable price. It offers versatility, performance and functions that aren’t available on many three-channel amps nearly four times its size.


The Tubemeister 36 is a stylish amp head featuring chrome handles on its sides and a clear Plexiglas faceplate that lets you see the transformers and glowing tubes inside. The interior is also illuminated with cool blue LEDs when the amp is powered up. Four EL84 tubes drive the power amp section to provide 36 watts of output, while three 12AX7 tubes drive the preamp section. To keep the size as small as possible, the Tubemeister 36 features onboard digital reverb instead of a bulky spring reverb tank. The reverb is also programed to sound full and lush with clean tones and become less pronounced with crunch and distortion tones to avoid the smeared mush that often occurs when using reverb with high-gain sounds.

The front panel is logically laid out. It has separate gain and master volume controls for the Clean, Crunch and Lead channels, three-band EQ (treble, mid, bass) controls for the Clean channel, and three-band EQ controls that are shared by the Crunch and Lead channels. Each channel has its own push-button selector switch, although you can also switch channels with an optional footswitch controller or via MIDI. The rear panel reveals most of the Tubemeister 36’s “secret” weapons, which include its Power Soak feature, Red Box DI output and TSC (Tube Safety Control) self-adjusting bias feature.

The Power Soak reduces power to 18 watts, five watts or one watt and provides a speaker-off setting that allows guitarists to use the head without an external speaker cabinet or load box. The Power Soak is also MIDI programmable, allowing users to program different settings for each channel (such as 36 watts for the Clean channel for maximum clean headroom, 18 watts for the Crunch channel to produce full-bodied power amp overdrive and five watts for the Lead channel to generate singing sustain at lower volumes). Up to 128 different combinations can be saved. The Red Box is an XLR DI output with 4×12 speaker emulation for sending the preamp and power amp tone to a mixing console or recorder. The TSC automatically adjusts optimum bias, and rear-panel LEDs indicate if the power tubes are malfunctioning.

A MIDI input lets guitarists use an external MIDI controller to switch channels, reverb, effect loop and Power Soak settings, and a MIDI Learn switch makes it easy to assign amp settings to a program-change number. The seven-pin MIDI connector also provides up to 20 volts of direct current for powering a MIDI controller without an external power supply.


I thought the Tubemeister 5 sounded huge, but the Tubemeister 36 sounds absolutely colossal, especially when connected to a 4×12 cabinet. Like most Hughes & Kettner amps, it has its own sonic personality, so you’ll want to try a variety of cabinets to find the best match. With 1×12 cabinets, the amp sounded best through speakers with scooped midrange characteristics, as the Tubemeister 36’s inherent midrange is quite pronounced and assertive. I use it with the Carvin Legacy 2 x 12 speaker cabinet.

The Clean channel offers more than ample undistorted headroom, and it can generate lush, gorgeous tones with the reverb dialed in. The Crunch and Lead channels deliver plenty of supersaturated gain and sustain, but if you prefer muscular power amp thump you can get that even at low volume levels thanks to the Power Soak. Don’t let the Tubemeister 36’s small size and 36-watt output fool you—this is a truly gigworthy amp that’s more than loud enough for the stage. And if you need more volume you can feed its glorious tone to the house PA via its impressive Red Box DI.


The Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 36 may be a mini amp head, but it provides outstanding tones, versatile professional features and distinctive innovations that many full-size amps don’t offer.

Biography steve vai


Steven “Steve” Siro Vai (born , 1960 in Carle Place, New York) is an Italian American instrumental rock guitarist, songwriter, vocalist, producer, beekeeper, and actor. After starting his professional career as a music transcriptionist for Frank Zappa, Vai would also record and tour in Zappa’s backing band starting in 1980. The guitarist began a solo career starting in 1984 and has released 13 solo albums as of 2008. Apart from his work with Frank Zappa, Vai has also recorded and toured with numerous musical artists including Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth and Whitesnake. Vai has been a regular touring member of the G3 Concert Tour which began in 1996. In 1999 Vai started his own record label Favored Nations with the intent to showcase, as Vai describes: “…artists that have attained the highest performance level on their chosen instruments.”


1970s and 1980s

In 1974, Vai took guitar lessons from guitarist Joe Satriani, and played in numerous local bands, one that took the name, “The Steve Vais”. He has acknowledged the influence of many guitarists including Jeff Beck and jazz fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth. Vai followed those lessons by attending and graduating the Berklee College of Music, afterwards recording a promotional piece for them, speaking about auditioning for Frank Zappa, at age twenty.

Steve Vai (on guitar in between the drum set and keyboard set), Frank Zappa and band during a concert at the Memorial Auditorium, Oct 25, 1980 Buffalo, NY

Vai mailed Frank Zappa a transcription of Zappa’s “The Black Page”, an instrumental song written for drums, along with a tape with some of Vai’s guitar playing. Zappa was so impressed with the abilities of the young musician that he hired him in 1979 to do work transcribing several of his guitar solos, including many of those appearing on the Joe’s Garage album and the Shut Up ‘n’ Play Yer Guitar series. These transcriptions were published in 1982 in The Frank Zappa Guitar Book.

Subsequent to being hired as a transcriber, Vai did overdubs on many of the guitar parts for Zappa’s album You Are What You Is. Thereafter he became a full-fledged band member, going on his first tour with Zappa in the Autumn of 1980. One of those early shows with Vai on guitar, recorded in Buffalo was released in 2007. While touring with Zappa’s band, Vai would sometimes ask audience members to bring musical scores and see if he could sight-read them on the spot. Zappa referred to Vai as his “little Italian virtuoso” and was listed in liner notes as performing “stunt guitar” or “impossible guitar parts”. He would later be a featured artist on the 1993 recording, Zappa’s Universe. In 2006 he returned to playing music composed by Frank Zappa as a special guest on his son, Dweezil Zappa’s ‘Zappa Plays Zappa’ tour, alongside old friends from his early years who he had performed with when Zappa was alive.

After leaving Zappa in 1982 he moved to California where he recorded his first album Flex-Able and performed in a couple of bands. In 1985 he replaced Yngwie Malmsteen as lead guitarist in Graham Bonnet’s Alcatrazz with whom he recorded the album Disturbing the Peace. Later in 1985 he joined former Van Halen front man David Lee Roth’s group to record the albums Eat ‘Em and Smile and Skyscraper. This significantly increased Vai’s visibility to general rock audiences, since Roth was in a highly public battle with the Van Halen members and Vai was favorably compared by many commentators to Eddie Van Halen.

In 1986 Vai also surprised everyone by playing with ex-Sex Pistols John Lydon’s Public Image Ltd on their album Album (also known as Compact Disc or Cassette). Then, in 1989, Vai joined Whitesnake, replacing Vivian Campbell. But, when Adrian Vandenberg injured his wrist shortly before recording was due to begin for the album Slip of the Tongue, Vai played all the guitar parts on the album. Vai also played on the Alice Cooper album Hey Stoopid along with Joe Satriani on the song Feed my Frankenstein.

1990s and 2000s

Vai continues to tour regularly, both with his own group and with his one-time teacher and fellow guitar instrumentalist friend Joe Satriani on the G3 series of tours. Former David Lee Roth and Mr. Big bassist Billy Sheehan also joined him for a world tour. In 1990, Vai released his critically acclaimed solo album Passion and Warfare.

The song “For the Love of God” was voted #29 in a readers’ poll of the 100 greatest guitar solos of all time in Guitar World Magazine.

In 1994 Vai began writing and recording with Ozzy Osbourne. Only one track from these sessions and “My Little Man” was released on the Ozzmosis album. Despite Vai penning the track he does not appear on the album. His guitar parts were replaced by Zakk Wylde. Vai’s band members throughout the 1990s included drummer Mike Mangini, guitarist Mike Keneally and bassist Philip Bynoe. In 1994 Vai received a Grammy Award for his performance on the Frank Zappa song Sofa from the album Zappa’s Universe.

Vai playing a twin-necked Ibanez

In July 2002, Steve Vai performed with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra at the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan, in the world premiere of composer Ichiro Nodaira’s Fire Strings, a concerto for electric guitar and 100-piece orchestra.

In 2004, a number of his compositions and orchestral arrangements including some previously recorded pieces, were performed in The Netherlands by the Metropole Orchestra in a concert series entitled The Aching Hunger. In 2003, drummer Jeremy Colson joined Vai’s group replacing previous drummer Virgil Donati. Vai’s latest album, Sound Theories, was released in 2007.

Steve Vai released a DVD of his performance at The Astoria in London in December 2001, featuring the lineup of bassist Billy Sheehan, guitarist/pianist Tony MacAlpine, guitarist Dave Weiner and drummer Virgil Donati.

In February 2005, Vai premiered a dual-guitar (electric and classical) piece that he wrote called The Blossom Suite with classical guitarist Sharon Isbin at the Ch?telet Theatre in Paris. In 2006, Vai played as a “special guest” guitarist alongside additional guest Zappa band members, drummer Terry Bozzio, guitarist-singer Ray White and saxophonist-singer Napoleon Murphy Brock in the “Zappa Plays Zappa” tour led by Frank’s son Dweezil Zappa in Europe and the U.S. in the Spring as well as a short U.S. tour in October.

On 2006, Vai made a special appearance at the Video Games Live concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, California. He played two songs with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra; Halo Theme, and a second song for the world premier trailer for Halo 3.

Steve Vai made an appearance at the London Guitar Show 2007 on the 28th April 2007 at the ExCeL Center. In late April 2007, Vai confirmed the release of his most recent record, called Sound Theories, on . The release is a 2-CD set consisting mostly of previously released material that Vai rearranged and played in front of a full orchestra. Vai says that the project was a great joy because he considers himself to be a composer more than a guitarist, and he is happy to see music he has composed played by an orchestra that can play it well. A DVD followed the record but was not released until later that year. He guested on the Dream Theater album, Systematic Chaos, on the song “Repentance”. The appearance was vocal rather than instrumental, as Vai was only one of many musical guests recorded. The song features contributions from many artists, with the aim of apologizing to important people in their lives for wrongdoings committed in their pasts.


Vai is set to release Where the Wild Things Are on CD, DVD and Blu-Ray on Sep 29 2009. This is a live recording of his performance at the Minneapolis State Theater from his 2007 Tour.

Video games

“Juice” was featured on the 1996 video game “Formula One” for the PlayStation.

In 1998, “Erotic Nightmares” was featured as the menu music in the video game WCW/nWo Revenge for the Nintendo 64.

Two different songs featuring Steve Vai’s guitar playing appeared in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Both Yankee Rose by David Lee Roth and God Blessed Video by Alcatrazz are featured on the game’s soundtrack.

In 2004, Steve Vai was featured on Xbox’s Halo 2 (a game by Bungie Studios) Volume 1 soundtrack, performing a heavy rock-guitar rendition of the Halo theme, known as Halo Theme (MJOLNIR Mix). He also performed on the track Never Surrender. He later featured in the second volume of the soundtrack, where he performed on the track Reclaimer.

In 2008, Steve Vai’s For the Love of God and Halo Theme (MJOLNIR Mix) were featured as downloadable tracks for the game Guitar Hero 3.


Steve Vai’s music has been featured in a number of feature films, including Dudes and Ghosts of Mars. He appeared onscreen in the 1986 Ralph Macchio movie Crossroads, playing the demonically-inspired Jack Butler. At the film’s climax, Vai engages in a guitar duel with Macchio, whose guitar parts were dubbed by Vai and also Ry Cooder, who played the initial slide work in the duel and Macchio’s earlier performances in the film. The fast-paced neo-classical track entitled Eugene’s Trick Bag with which Macchio wins the competition was also composed by Vai. The body of the piece was heavily based on Paganini’s Caprice #5. He later borrowed the opening riff from the track Head Cuttin’ Duel for a song called Bad Horsie from his 1995 EP Alien Love Secrets. Later the Crossroads duel reappeared on the 2002 album The Elusive Light and Sound, volume 1.

In 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey the introductory riff to KISS’ God Gave Rock ‘N Roll To You II, as performed by the Wyld Stallyns in the Battle of the Bands was performed by Vai. He also composed and performed the soundtrack to PCU (1994), and made contributions in 2001 to the score for John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars, performing on the tracks Ghosts of Mars and Ghost Poppin. His track “I’m the Hell Outta Here” can be heard during 1992’s Encino Man in the scene where Brendan Fraser is taking a driving lesson.

His guitar is starring in the animated short film “Live Music”.

Playing style

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Vai performing in 2001

Vai is widely recognized as a highly technically advanced rock guitarist and has been described as a virtuoso in the world of guitar music . His 1990 album Passion and Warfare and the ballad For the Love of God in particular received a significant amount of press and are often cited by critics and fans alike as amongst his best work to date .

Vai’s playing style has been characterized as quirky and angular, owing to his technical ability with the instrument and deep knowledge of music theory. He often uses exotic guitars; he plays both double and triple neck guitars, and is regarded as the first to use the 7-string guitar in a rock context. Along with Ibanez, he designed a signature 7-string guitar, the Ibanez Universe.


Vai is an accomplished studio producer (he owns two: “The Mothership” and “The Harmony Hut” ) and his own recordings combine his signature guitar prowess with novel compositions and considerable use of studio and recording effects.

Vai also helped design his signature Ibanez JEM series of guitars. They feature a hand grip (fondly referred to as a “monkey grip”) cut into the top of the body of the guitar, a humbucker-single coil-humbucker DiMarzio pickup configuration with several different types of pickup including Evolution, Breed and EVO 2. He also uses the Ibanez Edge and Lo-Pro Edge double-locking tremolo systems (the current production JEMs have the newer Edge Pro), as well as an elaborate and extensive “Tree of Life” inlay down the neck. Vai also equips many of his guitars with an Ibanez Backstop, a tremolo stabilizer that has been discontinued. Lately Vai has also equipped some of his guitars with True Temperament fretboards in order for his chords to sound completely in tune. Vai also has a 7-string model designed by him named Ibanez Universe. The Universe later influenced the 7-string guitars used by Korn and other bands to create nu metal sounds in the late 1990s. He also has a signature Ibanez acoustic, the Euphoria. Before Ibanez, he briefly endorsed Jackson guitars, but this relationship only lasted two years.


Steve Vai has also worked with Carvin Guitars and Pro Audio to develop the Carvin Legacy line of guitar amplifiers. Vai wanted to create an affordable amp that was unique, and equal in sound and versatility to any guitar amp he had previously used. Over his long musical career, Steve Vai has used and designed an array of guitars. He even had his DNA put into the swirl paint job on one of his signature JEM guitars, the JEM2KDNA, in the form of his blood. Only 300 of these were made. Nowadays he mainly uses his white “Evo”, a JEM7V, and his “Flo”, which is a customized Floral Jem 77FP painted white. They are both inscribed with their names in two places, mainly in order to allow him to distinguish between the guitars he uses onstage. “Flo” is equipped with a Fernandes sustainer system.

He also has a guitar named “Mojo” in which the dot inlays are blue LED lights. Additionally, he has a custom-made triple-neck guitar that has the same basic features as his JEM7V guitars. The top neck is a 12-string guitar, the middle is a 6-string, and the bottom is a 6-string fretless guitar with a Fernandes Sustainer pickup. This guitar was featured on the G3 2003 tour on the piece I Know You’re Here. Vai’s effects pedals include a modified Boss DS-1, Ibanez Tube Screamer, Morley Bad Horsie, Ibanez Jemini Twin Distortion Pedal, TC Electronics G-System, Morley Little Alligator Volume pedal, Digitech Whammy, and an MXR Phase 90/Phase 100 on the Passion and Warfare album. His flight cases are labeled “Mr. Vai”, or latterly, “Dr. Vai”. He used a number of rack effects units controlled via MIDI, but used a floor-based TC electronics G system instead for the Zappa Plays Zappa tour.


In 2005, Vai signed on as an official supporter of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides free musical instruments and instruction to children in public schools throughout the U.S.A. He sits on LKR’s Honorary Board of Directors.

Vai was a judge for the 3rd and 8th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists.

Vai is also the founder of the Make A Noise Foundation. The foundation’s goal is to provide funding for music education and programs for those unable to pursue music-related activities due to limited resources.

Favored Nations

Vai owns Favored Nations, a recording and publishing company that specializes in internationally procuring and maintaining recording artists. Favored Nations is separated into three sections, ‘Favored Nations’, ‘Favored Nations Acoustic’ and ‘Favored Nations Cool (Jazz style)’


Artists with whom the Favored Nations label works or has worked include Eric Johnson, Steve Lukather, Neal Schon, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Petrucci & Jordan Rudess, Mattias IA Eklundh, Tak Matsumoto, Andy Timmons, Johnny Hiland, Tommy Emmanuel, Vernon Reid, The Yardbirds, Larry Coryell, Mimi Fox, Eric Sardinas, Dweezil Zappa, Dave Weiner, James Robinson and Johnny A.

Personal life

Vai is married to Pia Maiocco, former bass player of Vixen, who can be seen in Hardbodies. Vai and Maiocco have two children; Julian Angel and Fire. In his spare time Vai is an avid beekeeper – his bees regularly produce a crop of honey that Vai sells for his Make a Noise Foundation.

Band History – not including guest appearances

Frank Zappa (1980-1982)
Steve Vai (1982-1984)
Alcatrazz (1985)
David Lee Roth (1985-1986)
Public Image Ltd. (1985-1986)
Frank Zappa (1986)
David Lee Roth (1987-1988)
Whitesnake (1988-1990)
Solo (1989-present)


Ibanez JEM-EVO & JEM 70V Review


There are only 100 Ibanez JEM-EVO guitars being made – each one a hand-crafted replica of Steve Vai’s own legendary guitar – issued to commemorate the guitarist’s 25 year association with the company. Now, for the first time, Ibanez is also offering a more affordable version of the Vai masterpiece, the JEM70V. iGuitar was privileged to be loaned one of the only two JEM-EVOs coming to the UK. We also borrowed a JEM 70V to compare the two.Tom Quayleput them side by side and let them shoot it out!

Before teaming-up with Ibanez to produce the JEM series of guitars, Steve Vai was using typical ’80s super-strats like Charvels and Jacksons. He often customised these early instruments with modifications to the whammy bar cavity, scalloped the upper frets and added deeper cutaways for easier access. Once his career began to take off a few years later, it was inevitable that such a stunning player would be snapped-up by a major guitar brand and the honour, when it came, went to Japanese guitar masters, Ibanez.

Thus, the Ibanez JEM was born in 1987 and it certainly didn’t disappoint, being the perfect accompaniment to Steve’s radical and creative technique and creative and featuring all of the innovations that Vai had attempted on his previous guitars such as the Monkey Grip, Lion Claw bridge cavity, super-slim 24-fret neck, scalloped upper frets and deeper cutaways. 25 years later, it has proved to be one of the most successful modern designs and the inspiration for a whole generation of new players and guitar builders.

Over the years there have been many iterations of the JEM series but for 2012 Ibanez has released two really interesting variations that add something new to the design, guaranteed to excite both the collector and the more budget-minded player. The JEM-EVO is an incredible artistic pursuit to create a carbon copy of Steve’s original EVO guitar, complete with every ding and scrape, crack and flaw. It is a real marvel to behold and represents the highest level of Ibanez’s Japanese output. The JEM 70V, meanwhile, is a little closer to the other end of the price scale, occupying territory that a JEM has never previously entered, being a budget-friendly Indonesian made ‘Premium’ model, attempting to match the quality of the Japanese models at a more affordable price. Before you reel in horror at the idea of an Indonesian-made JEM, rest assured that some of the best factory produced guitars iGuitar has seen in the past year or two have been made in Indonesia. Several major brands are now being produced there and we have seen some stunning results.

As you can imagine, we started by checking out the EVO model (I was too excited not to!) only to find out that we had model 1 of 100! Well, that’s how it seemed. Later, we learned that to avoid disappointment, Steve Vai has ordained that every one of them is being numbered one out of a hundred. Oh well!

There is always a sense of occasion when you are confronted with something as rare as this and you know, as soon as you see the included heavy-duty case, that something amazing awaits inside. Just to prolong the suspense, let me add that this is easily the best Ibanez case I’ve seen and would survive a direct hit, so it’s perfect for the collectors, at whom I assume this guitar is aimed.

And once you finally pluck-up your courage and open the sarcophagus? What you find within is a guitar that looks exactly, stunningly, like Steve’s original guitar, in every way possible. Exactly as you’d hope, the EVO features an alder body, maple neck and rosewood fretboard with the iconic abalone/pearl ‘Tree of Life’ inlay. But those are just the bare facts of the matter. Ibanez has surpassed itself here in the level of detail in this re-creation. Every single scratch, dent and flaw has been reproduced in painstaking detail, right down to a simulated neck joint crack that matches the actual crack on Steve’s guitar. It even has tape appearing to hold the neck pickup in place, in honour of the original!

Whether you’re into the idea of aged/stressed guitars or not, you have to appreciate the sheer craftsmanship and artistry that has gone into this guitar. All the hardware is exactly as you would want it, from the monkey grip, the DiMarzio Evolution pickups in an HSH configuration, the original Edge tremolo with Lion Claw (some say this is the best version Ibanez ever released and I agree), a locking nut, scalloped frets, jumbo Dunlop fret wire and back stops to support tuning stability. The EVO logo is present and for the sake of detail Ibanez has even used Velcro to attach the back plate and pick holder as on Steve’s guitar. This is a JEM through and through but not just any JEM – this is Steve Vai’s actual guitar, or as close as you’re ever going to get to it! What’s more, Mr Vai has even signed every single one, in the exact place on the guitar where his own bears the signature of the late Les Paul, enscribed on the latter’s 95th birthday.

As you would expect, the EVO’s playability is supreme, thanks to a super low action, matched with the slimmer than normal neck profile and a fantastic set-up. The EVO almost plays itself and feels just like a well-worn friend that you’ve known for 25 years. Ibanez has left the neck finish as close to bare as possible, simulating years of use and as such it feels fast and smooth. The Edge bridge stays in tune perfectly, thanks to the back stop, and performs all of Vai’s whammy bar dives and squeals with perfect accuracy. The Evolution pickups are tight and aggressive sounding, with a clarity that gives almost a Hi-Fi like tone. The neck pickup is creamier and allows for a full range of sounds from warm cleans to thick, saturated leads, all the while retaining clarity. This is a very versatile guitar thanks to the HSH set-up and can reproduce both Strat and Les Paul like tones in addition to a wide range of sounds of its own.

So is the JEM-EVO as good as we hoped it would be? Unquestionably! Whoever buys one of these guitars is getting as close to owning Steve Vai’s own guitar as it could be, without buying it off him and for a collector that accuracy is what matters.

It does, of course, come at a very substantial price, so what about those of us who would dearly love to own something like it, but don’t seem able to find that much loose change down the back of the sofa?

We were expecting a bit of a disappointment from the JEM 70V, to be frank. How could you not be a bit underwhelmed after playing a guitar as stunningly good as the EVO? But we were wrong. Very wrong. In fact I was surprised to find that this guitar feels almost as good to play as the EVO itself!

True, the Indonesian version features a different construction in order to save cost, so we have a sea-foam green basswood body with a five-piece maple/walnut neck and a rosewood fretboard. The rosewood grain is nowhere near as dark and tight as the EVO’s but it still looks great sporting the ‘Tree of Life’ inlay in matching sea-foam green. There’s no abalone or pearl going on here either, but the inlay work is still flawless. All the JEM’s hardware is identical to that on the Japanese model, too, featuring proper DiMarzio Evolution pickups, Edge bridge with lion claw and monkey grip. The sea-foam green finish won’t be for everyone but I loved it and it looks a lot better in person than in pictures. The fretwork, which can often be a problem on lower priced models, was also very good with no sharp or unfinished ends and whilst the neck is a little thicker than the EVO model’s, the set-up on our sample was very good, with a low action and even feel across the whole range. There were a couple of tiny finish flaws around the neck joint but nothing to cause any concern. This is undeniably a very well made guitar.

But the real surprise is in the playability and tonal performance. This 70V model is a superb guitar to play, featuring some amazing tones and a set-up that plays almost as easily as the EVO version. This is a real triumph for Ibanez and an impressive achievement, given that their Japanese instruments are as good as it gets. The neck feels incredibly comfortable and smooth and thanks to the same Edge Bridge and locking nut, tuning stability is perfect, even after very aggressive whammy bar antics.

Tonally the 70V is in the same world as its bigger brother and has a tight, aggressive output that is perfect for harder Rock and Metal material, giving a gorgeous tone for lead work that really responds well to pick attack and volume changes. The HSH set-up is very versatile and both guitars surpass their stereotypical image, being useful for many other styles too.

Both of these guitars represent the best of Ibanez’s work and it’s a real testament to the company’s commitment to quality that they can produce an Indonesian made JEM that feels so close to the real deal. Whilst I love both guitars I can’t justify giving the EVO a 4.5 or 5 star score as it is just so expensive. It’s really for collectors only, which is a shame in a sense, as it’s a supremely playable guitar that looks and sounds insanely cool too.

The 70V, on the other hand, seems like a complete no-brainer to me, providing you can live with the colour. True, it still isn’t a cheap instrument but it sells for a fraction of the price of the ‘real thing’ and it gets terrifyingly, impressively close to it!
Source: www.iguitarmag.com

Steve Vai met ‘The Story of Light’ Tour, vrijdag 16 november in 013, Tilburg.

Vrijdagavond 16 november was Tilburg het podium waar gitaarvirtuoos Steve Vai zijn kunsten kon laten zien. In 1988 gaf hij al een acte de precense op het ‘Monsters of Rock’-festival in Tilburg, samen met Zanger David Lee Roth. Gisteravond was hij er echter solo. Met een succesvolle carierre gaf hij in het uitverkochte 013 weer blijk van zijn kunsten.

Vai speelt in Tilburg  materiaal van The Story Of Light en daarvoor brengt hij drummer Jeremy Colson en harpiste Deborah Hensen met zich mee. Verder bestaat de band uit oude bekenden Philip Bynoe op bas en sidekick Dave Weiner op gitaar. Zij leven zich allen lekker uit in het supersnelle Racing The World van de nieuwe plaat, waarmee een lange, dynamische show van start gaat.

Met ogenschijnlijk gemak bespeelt hij zijn instrument. Veel ogen van gitaristen, gitaardocenten en liefhebbers waren gericht op de man die nagenoeg alles kan met zijn gitaar. Op het podium speelt Vai de partituren schijnbaar moeiteloos. Ingewikkelde nummers als Tender Surrender, For The Love Of God en Building The Church vinden gemakkelijk zijn weg via het fretboard.

Bijzonder tijdens dit verder fenomenale hardrockconcert was de aanwezigheid van harpspeelster Deborah Henson-Conant. Met veel plezier ondersteunde ze het repertoire van de meester. Tijdens Whispering A Prayer krijgt haar harpspel een prominente rol. Hensen blijkt een prima toevoeging aan Vai’s band, meer nog dan bijvoorbeeld de twee violisten op de Where The Wild Things Are-dvd (2009), die niet altijd even goed in het geheel pasten. Na een overweldigend Whispering A Prayer volgt – kennelijk tot Vai’s grote verbazing – een opvallend hard en lang aanhoudend applaus.

The Audience Is Listening, een favoriet op de klassieker Passion & Warfare uit 1990, is zo’n track die het wildste in Vai naar boven brengt. Met zijn gitaar in handen rent hij over het podium doet de meest vreemde dingen met zijn gitaar, doe zijn mallotige danspasjes en maffe gezichtsuitdrukkingen.

Halverwege de show komt drummer Jeremy Colson op het podium (bewapend met een draagbaar doodskopdrumstel) en geeft een imponerende drumsolo. Vervolgens komt de extravagante gitarist op als een lichtgevende robot – hij lijkt wel een figuur uit Star Wars! – voor een spectaculaire versie van The Ultra Zone. Met een prachtige uitvoering van Frank, brengt de meester een ode aan zijn oude meester Zappa.

De show van Steve in Tilburg duurde drie uur; zeker na de helft van de show bleek dat te lang. Veel gepraat, grapjes en gedoe en bovendien ook het componeren van een nummer met behulp van een een dame en heer uit de zaal kon wat mij betreft weg blijven.