October 7, 2012 | Uptown Theatre – Napa, CA
Review by Michael Marshall / Photos by Asinthia Marshall
The rolling hills of Napa, California were rocked last Sunday when the Steve Vai tour stamped its sonic signature on the Uptown Theater crowd. In support of Vai’s new album, “The Story of Light”, the band blasted several new songs while delivering on some of Vai’s timeless classics. With the technical proficiencies and the poetic passions of Steve Vai, Dave Weiner, Philip Bynoe, Jeremy Colson, and Deborah Henson the band’s three hour show guided the crowd through a melodic maze in the promise of leaving the theater “feelin’ great”. While Vai may have made good on that promise, there was a missed opportunity to send the crowd with something more than they were expecting.
Even though Beverly McClellan was the opening act for the show, her vocal talent resonated throughout the evening. Whether while picking the guitar or stroking the keys the soulful and powerful nature of her voice captured the audience. Her three song set left members of the crowd asking “Who was that?!” and “Is she going to play more?!” When it was explained of her role on the TV show The Voice and that she recorded a vocal track on Steve Vai’s new album audience members responded with “I hope they play that song.” When “John the Revelator”, featuring Ms. McClellan, played the crowd’s reaction was the pinnacle of the night’s energy.
“John the Revelator” is the blues/rock track that combines the raw soulful energy of McClellan’s voice with the masterful precision of Vai’s guitar. The marriage of the two created an audio adultery for fans as they loved every second of the performance. Sadly, the affair was short lived and the Vai/McClellan union was not to be heard again that evening. Fortunately, the crowd was awarded custody to a guy named Steve Vai.
Steve Vai’s ability to play guitar is second to none and his musical compositions trespass far beyond the borders of labels and stereotypes. Combine these traits with his naturally loving and charismatic personality and it is easy to understand why the Steve Vai tour travels so well. Fans were given a clear and concise road map into Vai’s musical genius as he traveled through his musical library. Even while Vai stepped backstage for costume changes, he made sure the crowd was entertained.
Dave Weiner and Deborah Henson gave dazzling performances on their respective instruments while Vai was away. Weiner, a long time member of the Vai tour, provided an outstanding performance on his acoustic PRS guitar that contained strong melodic lines and fierce speed techniques. Henson wowed the crowd on her electric harp with music saturated in emotion. The two artists did well in contributing to the overall success of the evening.
With the exception of the limited appearance by Beverly McClellan, the show gave everything it had to the fans and left them feeling great. Even though the Steve Vai U.S. tour is coming to an end on October 13th, the album “The Story of Light” is available for purchase at your preferred outlet.
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