Steve Vai

By Jason Koerner

It would be a journalistic crime to let a guitar player of this magnitude go by unnoted. Headliners hosted Steve Vai when he came to town on November 11 as part of the "Ultra Zone" tour. This was quite a show, but, unfortunately, most people do not even know who Steve Vai is. The exception to this rule is - of course - guitar players. If you are one, then you probably have a Steve Via bible (instructional video, CD or magazine) laying in plain sight. I think that every guitar player in town attended. They were either trying to learn something, trying just to hear some good music, or trying to meet women, since they must have thought that women would be attracted to the idea of having a couple hundred guitarists in one room together.

Sigh. We guitarists are just so full of ourselves, aren't we?

If you are a guitarist and have never heard him play, you are a disgrace to the trade. As a "My First Steve Vai Album," I recommend the G3 live album, since that features him with Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson. That should get you hooked. Since the early '80s, Via has appeared on many albums with Frank Zappa, as well as numerous solo albums, compilations, soundtracks and other studio performances with such well-known artists as Alice Cooper, Whitesnake and David Lee Roth. There was even a performance on a Disney CD for kids. The man is well-rounded!

Eric Sardinas was the opener. Sardinas is without a doubt the "Victor Wooton of Slide Guitar!" He has revolutionary technique that is as loco as it gets. Like many gifted musicians, his talent has been developing since he was six years old. Playing custom electrified Dobro resonators with a brass pipe creates a most unusual sound, to say the least. But who needs a slide anyway? As long as a beer bottle is around, Sardinas has no problem adjusting to his surroundings, as he demonstrated at Headliners. The bottle and the slide come together to create a more aggressive version of the Delta blues. Sardina's band was truly sensational.