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Old 09-02-2013, 07:37 PM   #1
SilverSpurs616
AKA VypyrVai
 
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Location: Merthyr Tydfil, Wales
Steve Vai Evo Experience review

Hi guys! I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Vai through the Evo Experience last weekend, so I figured I'd write a review for anyone else considering it.

The Evo experience is essentially a meet & greet package with a bunch of goodies thrown in. It costs $250/170, but be aware that this does NOT include the ticket to the concert.. so altogether expect to pay $300/200~ depending on the venue.

I went to the venue at 3:30, and the building manager (at St Davids Hall, Cardiff UK) let us in at 3:45. There were six of us in the Evo Experience and we were taken to a quiet room to wait for Steve to arrive "at 4pm exactly" and sure enough, the moment the clock hit 4 he entered. He took a moment for us to introduce ourselves and greet us individually, then we all sat around him and eagerly listened. He opened by talking about the venue and city, reminiscing on the last time he had played Cardiff and shared a few stories of the tour. We were also given a goodie-bag with his logo on the side, which included a print of a handwritten score of his, a laminated photo of him, a sticker of his logo, a white Dimarzio guitar strap (ideal for signing!) and two guitar picks with The Story of Light artwork on. I gave one of these to my former music college tutor who was also at the gig later on. There was purchasable merch available such as tshirts with tour dates, Dimarzio Vai cables and guitar picks and also Dave Wiener's (Vai's guitarist) new CD.

He then invited us to ask questions and proceeded to answer them for the next hour, and was happy to discuss anything from guitar techniques and gear to his diet and how he keeps fit and healthy, mentioning his early days with David Lee Roth and how he got him into working out and shared more stories from throughout his career. He spoke about his relationship with Joe Satriani and many other famous musicians and explained some of the running jokes that he and his crew often use- I won't spoil them for you. Midway through the session his assistant brought out Evo, and I could swear she was giving off some kind of magical aura as she sat there in all her battered glory (Evo, not the assistant :P). Pic below



There was one fan who would interrupt to ask a question, and while Steve was answering him the guy started playing with his phone! At one point he was typing away and even seemed to be not paying full attention, simply answering Steve with "mmhm, uhuh, yeah.." etc. Steve kept his cool, however.. a far more patient man than I.

By the end of the session I had not managed to ask Steve anything and his assistant told him it was time to wrap things up, and Steve looked straight at me and asked if I had a question for him. I was really pleased that he made sure we all had an opportunity to speak with him, and I asked him for advice on practicing and overcoming some difficulties I'm having. He looked me in the eye and said, "I myself still get these kinda issues, and as you overcome them- and you WILL overcome them- you'll find that it gets easier. You can spend an hour practicing and being stressed by a problem, or you can spend an hour viewing it as an enjoyable challenge and a chance to improve." I felt so inspired by that, and he's given me the belief that I truly will overcome my difficulties not only on the guitar but in other areas of life by applying that same attitude. It was an incredible moment for me.

After the Q&A session we had photo opportunities (I'll post down below) and he signed my RG1527 after playing a few licks on it. One guy (who I know locally) has a Story of Light-inspired tattoo and he got Vai to sign it, which he has now had tattooed permanently! The guy who kept hogging all the questions brought down a load of stuff, like his Carvin amp and loads of other little things, which we had been asked not to do- a couple of things only. Once again Steve kept his cool. The same guy also picked up Evo for a photo with her, and I noticed the assistants and staff throwing each other some concerned looks, but Steve didn't seem to mind too much. We all felt that he should have asked before doing this, though. Below is a pic of myself with Vai, and my signed guitar.





Once this was over Steve left for the soundcheck, and we were escorted to the main hall to watch. Initially Jeremy, Dave and Phil were jamming while the sound guys checked everything over. Steve came on shortly afterwards and they instantly went into Racing The World, which sounded flawless. Steve's tone was even more otherworldly than on the records, and it was amazing to be sat in the front row dead-centre as if he was performing personally for me. They ran through some sections that they felt needed tightening up, and I really enjoyed seeing the relationship between Steve and Jeremy (drums) as they worked on something new. There was another jam, after which somebody asked "what song was that?" and Steve casually replied, "oh we were just jammin!"

The soundcheck went on until about an hour before the venue doors opened, and he thanked us for coming and hoped we enjoy the show. The gig itself was outstanding, Vai has the most incredible stage presence and he interacts with the audience as if we are all his personal friends. At one point he invited two audience members onto the stage to "write a song" with the band, and he chose a little girl who I guess was around 8 years old. She was very shy, so he chose another lady, but during the encore he came to the edge of the stage and beckoned her up to play with his whammy-bar- I thought this was an incredibly sweet moment, and it was so nice that he gave her a second chance in this way. It was also incredibly cool when he was playing guitars with a mirrored pickguard or finish, as it would reflect a visible beam of light into the audience. At one point he went off stage and it became flooded with smoke, and then he came back on wearing some insane suit covered with moving colored lights and LAZERS ON HIS FINGERS and played a track from Ultra Zone. My favourite moment from the entire performance however was at the beginning of Whispering a Prayer- the keyboards played the opening chord softly and a beam of light blue light shone down upon him from above, and he just stood there.. looking into the audience. He slowly turned his gaze around the entire room, as if he were looking at each one of us personally, then made a pointing gesture before touching his hand to his heart. He then began the song.. it was a touching moment. Steve really seems to live for his fans, and pours everything into making the performance the best he possibly can. We weren't allowed to take pictures, but I had to take a sneaky one early on :P



All in all, it was a breathtaking experience that words cannot truly do justice to. I feel privileged to have met Steve Vai and the experience was worth every penny, although I am not sure that I would pay as much for many other celebrities.. Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert and John Petrucci perhaps being the exceptions. Steve is an incredibly insightful man and we hung on his every word like fascinated schoolboys. He is humble, but he is also fully aware of who he is and what he can do. He is not afraid to say that he is a master, but nor is he arrogant to hold that over other people. He gave us invaluable advice that I will apply forever, and I feel enrichened for receiving it. If you are a big fan or a passionate musician, I highly recommend the Evo Experience to you. You will leave feeling enlightened.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:04 PM   #2
Dimarzio45
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That's cool to hear a review of the EVO experience.

When he came to Rochester NY, he did the exact same layout as what you saw. It was amazing. It was extremely surreal to see him utilize all of the tricks in his bag. He did everything from the "Live at the Astoria" DVD plus more. Such an unforgettable experience. Plus, DAT TONE!

Edit: Screw that guy who didn't respect Vai's rules on items to bring for the EVO experience. Also, that guy who was messing around with his phone when a phucking legend is literally talking to HIM. Disrespectful to the greatest extent. However, knowing how Steve Vai is such a modest, patient guy, I'm knot surprised by his reaction in the least.

Last edited by Dimarzio45 : 09-02-2013 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:38 PM   #3
SilverSpurs616
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimarzio45
That's cool to hear a review of the EVO experience.

When he came to Rochester NY, he did the exact same layout as what you saw. It was amazing. It was extremely surreal to see him utilize all of the tricks in his bag. He did everything from the "Live at the Astoria" DVD plus more. Such an unforgettable experience. Plus, DAT TONE!

Edit: Screw that guy who didn't respect Vai's rules on items to bring for the EVO experience. Also, that guy who was messing around with his phone when a phucking legend is literally talking to HIM. Disrespectful to the greatest extent. However, knowing how Steve Vai is such a modest, patient guy, I'm knot surprised by his reaction in the least.


Indeed, DAT TONE! I haven't listened to any other music since the gig, I think he's actually ruined it all for me

I forgot to mention that Dave Wiener played an incredible acoustic track from his new album, it was very impressive! Jeremy and Phil also had their own solos which were terrific, and it's nice that they get their moments to come forward into the spotlight.
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:21 PM   #4
Dimarzio45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSpurs616
Indeed, DAT TONE! I haven't listened to any other music since the gig, I think he's actually ruined it all for me

I forgot to mention that Dave Wiener played an incredible acoustic track from his new album, it was very impressive! Jeremy and Phil also had their own solos which were terrific, and it's nice that they get their moments to come forward into the spotlight.

It was funny when Jeremy did the song with the skulls that talked. Also, yes, Dave's acoustic song was pretty sweet.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:19 PM   #5
savanne20
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Hi I`m recently buy the evo experience in Argentina, and I want to now if I can gift it to my boyfriend, anybody knows if inspite my name on the receipt it can appear his name?
thank you very much.
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Old 10-04-2013, 05:14 AM   #6
DaFjory
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Cool story, bro. And I mean that! Really enjoyed reading about the Experience.
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