For a guitarist, seeing Steve Vai play live can be a mind-altering experience. From the moment I saw him play the devil's guitarist, Jack Butler, in the 1986 cult movie classic, Crossroads, he had me hooked for life. Vai has transformed my view of the guitar as much as Hendrix, Page, and Van Halen did before him.
Where The Wild Things Are was filmed in high definition at the State Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota during Vai’s Sound Theories Tour of 2007. The video took two years to get released because Vai meticulously produced and edited it himself - and we all know just what a perfectionist this man can be. Just ask his poor band members. Thankfully, Vai learned from the production mistakes that made his Live At The Astoria London DVD difficult to sit through at times, and this time around he has put together one of the most satisfying concert DVD productions of the year.
A new composition entitled "Paint Me Your Face" serves as the show opener as the band members take their place on stage with most of the lights still dimmed. Vai, wearing sunglasses and a full-length black coat, adorned with multi-colored musical notations, proceeds to warm up the anxious crowd with a 20th Anniversary, acrylic-bodied, translucent-green, Ibanez Jem that is a feast for the eyes. Settle in for one hell of a wild ride.
Vai uses this same guitar for another new song, "Now We Run," before settling in to more familiar territory with the eclectic Ultra Zone track, "Oooh." After this song he is handed another of what seems like a hundred different Ibanez Jems before he kicks off one of his best performances of the night, "Building The Church." This song begins with a ridiculous two-handed tapping lick that screams, I am Steve Vai and I am going to blow your fucking mind tonight.
I was a bit skeptical when I first heard about the new band Vai had put together for this tour. Longtime rhythm guitarist Dave Weiner is still around, and Jeremy Colson is back behind the skins. The always shirtless, tattoo-covered Colson seems like such a poor fit for the Steve Vai band at first, as his appearance and style exude heavy metal excess. But it quickly becomes apparent why Vai has kept him around. The dude plays with equal parts power and finesse, and his tireless energy is simply amazing. Bassist Bryan Beller has stepped into Billy Sheehan's gigantic shoes, and he is no less impressive.