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Instrumental Evening In The Stratosphere
Last In Line Copernicus Center Chicago, IL November 16, 2022 Photo by David Haig

No vocals, few words and an evening of instrumental guitar that even Mozart would be in awe. A rescheduled tour date by Steve Vai finally touched down at the Copernicus Center in Chicago and what an evening it was to behold. The iconic veteran guitarist of bands such as; Frank Zappa, Alcatraz, David Lee Roth and his appearance in the 1986 CROSSROADS film were clearly on display again as he took Chicago on a musical journey through a set list discography of purely mind-blowing proportions.

Steve weaved through selective numbers like; GIANT BALLS OF GOLD, LITTLE PRETTY, BUILDING THE CHURCH, LIGHTS ARE ON, ZEUS IN CHAINS and the one that just really struck home with me was his blues rendition GREENISH BLUE. Vai gave a bit of a background story on this tune as having been asked if it was influenced by the late PETER GREEN a founding member of Fleetwood Mac which he said, "No, I love Peter Green and he was a true blues guitarist, I'm more of a GREENISH BLUE blues guitarist", then rolled into this as only Steve Vai can. A wicked good planet blues piece that was just mesmerizing to sit back and absorb.

He did break from the seriousness of the evening with a lighthearted tale of his rescheduled shows not attributed to COVID but to his accident while making pizza the cause of an injury that set the tour back. Steve then thanked his brother Michael, owner of the world class Vai's Italian Restaurant in Naperville, IL for the meal the night before, so family was in the house for the show. Steve in a tongue and cheek moment said, "My wife said I need to talk more during the show"

For me having first seen Steve Vai with Frank Zappa in 1981 I couldn't help but think that at the time Steve was just a guitarist in Zappa's band and its just amazing how Zappa surrounded himself with talent such as Steve Vai in those days. This was an evening to really sit back, tune this insane world of ours out, tune in and let Steve Vai's guitar take you to the far reaches of the universe and just enjoy such a rare and unique musician so beyond imagination.

Steve Vai
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Author & Photographer: David Haig
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