jakub | October 22, 2023




Cool breezes have begun to blow, and it seems that autumn has finally arrived in Tokyo. It’s the best choice to indulge in the best live music on such a comfortable night. How lucky we were! Tokyo’s Toyosu Pit witnessed a guitar legend like no other as Steve Vai and his talented band members, Jeremy Colson on drums, Dante Frisiello on guitar, and Philip Bynoe on bass. They brought the “Inviolate tour” to Japan in support of their new brilliant studio album with the same title, which was released in January 2022. In addition, this concert was a journey through the life and career of virtuoso Steve Vai with more than four decades of experience.

Steve Vai’s history as a musician is noteworthy. He began taking guitar lessons from Joe Satriani in 1973, and in 1978, further honed his skills at Berklee College of Music before joining Frank Zappa‘s band. These experiences laid the foundation for a career marked by technical prowess and innovation. Steve’s playing style is a great fusion of techniques such as two-handed tapping, alternate picking, legato, and many more.

Lots of smoke filled the air and the lights dimmed. The night kicked off with the band launching into “Avalancha,” an exciting track from the new album Inviolate. Steve Vai made a grand appearance, with his guitar illuminated by blue lights embedded in the fretboard. We were overwhelmed to see his aura and charisma. It was obvious this would be a killer show.

The concert was a fusion of Steve’s incredible guitar wizardry and his deep connection with the audience. He is a special person like guitar god for us. But at the same time, he is a fan-friendly person who often made eye contact with the audience without ever being overbearing. He told us many stories between songs with engaging the crowd, and that created an intimate atmosphere.

Steve’s connection with his instruments was a sight to behold. He used the whammy bar and various pedals with precision, creating sounds that seemed to transcend the realm of possibility. His control over every nuance of sound, from vibrations to scratches, left the audience in awe.

One of the highlights of the evening was the unveiling of “The Hydra,” a guitar of epic proportions. This magnificent instrument featured three necks, including 7 and 12-string guitars, a 4-string bass, and 13 sympathetic harp strings and more. Steve played “Teeth of the Hydra” from Inviolate with precision all by himself. We were on cloud nine! It was really unfortunate that I was not allowed to photograph this beautiful scene. My shooting time was already over. After playing the tune, Steve said, “I want to introduce someone who is in the audience. I have been working with Ibanez staffs for years and they do great job. He created The Hydra!” and addressed a guy in the crowd. Applause rippled through the house. As you might know, Ibanez is a Japanese guitar brand owned by Hoshino Gakki, based in Aichi, Japan. It was a special moment for Japanese audience.

Throughout the performance, each band member had their moments to shine with impressive solos. Steve’s band, consisting of exceptionally talented musicians, provided a solid backbone for his guitar pyrotechnics. The chemistry between the musicians was evident, enhancing the overall experience. The concert reached its emotional peak during “Liberty” and “For the Love of God,” off of Passion and Warfare (1990) accompanied by stunning visuals on the back screen and Dani González Suárez’s operatic vocals. The flow of these two songs was nothing short of transcendent, moving many in the audience to tears. It was a moment of deep emotional connection, where Steve’s music seemed to touch the very essence of our existences.

In their 135-minute set, they played six songs from the new album Inviolate. Tokyo crowd welcomed well-curated set list and enjoyed every moment. As the evening drew to a close, Steve and his band members took a final bow, with Steve expressing his gratitude to the audience. I felt it was a night where time seemed to stand still, where music transported everyone beyond the material world into the metaphysical realm.

To be honest, I can’t come up with any words other than the BEST to describe the Steve Vai concert. His show is over. But I’m sure his music still sustains in our heads.

I heard the nice words from a fan after the show, “We may be living in hard times, but at least we have Steve Vai. Isn’t that what we call happiness?



Steve Vai – Guitars

Jeremy Colson – Drums

Philip Bynoe – Bass

Dante Frisiello – Guitars, Keyboards

Dani González Suárez – Vocals



Set list:

1. Avalancha

2. Giant Balls of Gold

3. Little Pretty

4. Tender Surrender

5. Lights Are On

6. Candlepower

7. Building the Church

8. Greenish Blues

9. Bad Horsie

10. I’m Becoming

11. Whispering a Prayer

12. Teeth of the Hydra

13. Zeus in Chains

14. Liberty

15. For the Love of God


16. Fire Garden Suite IV – Taurus Bulba







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