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STEVE VAI

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Steve Vai biography
Steve Siro Vai - Born June 6, 1960 (Long Island, New York)

STEVE VAI is one of the greatest guitar players of all time, studied master classes under JOE SATRIANI, and student of the Berklee School of Music, Vai later was invited to join FRANK ZAPPA's band by ZAPPA himself. He was in ZAPPA's group, playing very complex pieces, sometimes even transcribing out ZAPPA's solos and music just to play them live (something he had done in his final year at university according to room-mate Happy The Man's Stan Whitaker). VAI was given the name "Little Italian Virtuoso" and sometimes "Stunt Guitarist" by ZAPPA, because of VAI's technical skill and sounds produced. VAI surely is an incredible guitarist. In 1984 VAI went out on his own and started creating his own albums. VAI also joined ALCATRAZZ and DAVID LEE ROTH to create hard rock music in the vein of VAN HALEN. VAI in 1993 created his rock unit called VAI featuring DEVIN TOWNSEND, T.M. STEVENS and another ZAPPA alumni TERRY BOZZIO. G3 tours also ensued, featuring VAI and SATRIANI and a new guitarist each year, notably ROBERT FRIPP and JOHN PETRUCCI. Since then other solo albums have been issued and VAI has continued to innovate and impress as a great composer and incredible guitar player.

He has guested on number of albums, e.g. along side AL DI MEOLA (reconstructing Al's "Race With The Devil On Turkish Highway") and on the critically acclaimed Indo jazz fusion album by Surinder Sandhu, 'Surang Orchestra', where Vai plays the closest you find to jazz, (e.g. playing duets with jazz saxophonist Andy Shepherd).

VAI's big albums are "Flex-Able", his first landmark debut album and the incredible "Passion and Warfare".

VAI is highly recommended to any guitar player (if somehow you don't already know him), and any fan of great guitar and rock composition in the vein of ZAPPA.

Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com : Progressive guitar composer and Zappa alumni.

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Modern Primitive / Passion & Warfare (25th Anniversary Edition)Modern Primitive / Passion & Warfare (25th Anniversary Edition)
Sony Legacy 2016
$10.49
$6.84 (used)
Passion And WarfarePassion And Warfare
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2010
$4.03
$2.25 (used)
Fire GardenFire Garden
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008
$3.73
$3.95 (used)
Real Illusions: ReflectionsReal Illusions: Reflections
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2011
$7.85
$6.06 (used)
Ailen Love SecretsAilen Love Secrets
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2007
$3.73
$4.07 (used)
Modern PrimitiveModern Primitive
Favored Nations 2017
$10.95
$11.47 (used)
Stillness in Motion: Vai Live in L.A.Stillness in Motion: Vai Live in L.A.
Multiple Formats
Sony Legacy 2015
$11.44
$9.99 (used)
Flex-AbleFlex-Able
Extra tracks
Epic / Akashic / Sony 2011
$15.61
$6.87 (used)
Where The Wild Things AreWhere The Wild Things Are
Favored Nations 2009
$9.54
$1.16 (used)
FlexableFlexable
Akashic 1990
$19.79
$1.49 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
RARE Steve Lukather/Eddie Van Halen/Steve Vai/Slash/Edgar Winter CD Santa Mental USD $30.58 Buy It Now
Fire Garden by Steve Vai (CD, Sep-1996, Sony Music Distribution (USA)) USD $4.20 Buy It Now
Joe Satriani - Satriani Live 2CD Progressive Rock ffo Steve Vai G3 Eric Johnson USD $8.00 Buy It Now
STEVE VAI : THE ULTRA ZONE 13 TRACKS CD ALBUM FRANK JIBBOOM BLOOD USD $2.38 Buy It Now
Steve Vai - Flex-Able JAPAN CD 1988 CSCS-5377 +4BONUS USD $10.70 Buy It Now 2h 5m
Steve Vai - Passion & Warfare with torn inner plus free UK postage USD $16.72 Buy It Now 2h 47m
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Steve Vai - Passion and Warfare/Sex & Religion (1993) USD $2.65 Buy It Now 6h 21m
STEVE VAI " VISUAL SOUND THEORIES " 2007 DVD ! DIGIPACK USD $4.25 [2 bids]
6h 48m
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Steve Vai - The Ultra Zone [CD] USD $6.34 Buy It Now 7h 58m
The Ultra Zone by Steve Vai (CD, Sep-1999, Epic (USA)) USD $7.49 Buy It Now 9h 15m
The Elusive Light and Sound, Vol. 1 by Steve Vai (CD, Jun-2002, Favored Nations USD $8.24 Buy It Now 9h 17m
The 7th Song: Enchanting Guitar Melodies Archives - Steve Vai (CD + hidden track USD $1.50 [0 bids]
USD $10.00 Buy It Now
9h 36m
LEARN TO PLAY STEVE VAI SOLOS GUITAR LICK LIBRARY DVD USD $29.66 Buy It Now 9h 54m
STEVE VAI - Passion & Warfare - (CD 1990) Relativity USD $11.88 Buy It Now 9h 55m
STEVE VAI The Ultra Zone JAPAN CD SRCS-8977 1999 NEW USD $41.96 Buy It Now 10h 10m
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Alien Love Secrets by Steve Vai (CD, Jun-1997, Epic (USA)) USD $3.99 Buy It Now 10h 17m
Steve Vai-Stillness in Motion (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $15.86 Buy It Now 10h 19m
STEVE VAI Down Deep Into The Pain 12" Picture Disc Vinyl! USD $7.95 Buy It Now 10h 30m
LEARN TO PLAY STEVE VAI VOL 3 GUITAR LICK LIBRARY DVD USD $29.64 Buy It Now 11h 19m
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Steve Vai - SOUND THEORIES VOL. I & II 2-CD Set -Sealed USD $14.99 Buy It Now 16h 49m
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STEVE VAI / Passion and Warfare - '90, JAPAN OBI ** WHITESNAKE , ALCATRAZZ USD $6.90 [2 bids]
17h 14m
STEVE VAI / The 7th Song - Enchanting Guitar Melodies...- '00, JAPAN OBI USD $8.00 [3 bids]
17h 15m
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Alcatrazz - Disturbing The Peace (CD, 1995, Toshiba/Emi, Japan) NO OBI Steve Vai USD $19.99 Buy It Now 17h 36m
Steve Vai-The Story of Light CD NEW USD $15.33 Buy It Now 18h 34m
The Story of Light by Steve Vai (CD, Sep-2012, Favored Nations Records (USA)) USD $8.00 Buy It Now 18h 52m
STEVE VAI "FLEXABLE" AKASHIC RECORDS-GUITAR WIZARD-SEALED USD $14.99 [1 bids]
19h 35m
STEVE VAI / FLEX-ABLE EFTOVERS JAPAN CD OOP W/OBI USD $19.99 Buy It Now 19h 45m
Alien Love Secrets by Steve Vai (CD, Jun-1997, Epic (USA)) USD $7.99 Buy It Now 20h
Steve Vai - Passion and Warfare/Sex & Religion (1993) USD $3.97 Buy It Now 22h 48m
CD Album : Steve Vai - Ultra Zone (2002) excellent condition USD $5.96 Buy It Now 22h 55m
Cassette Steve Vai titled Fire Garden. Brand New Sealed USD $7.49 Buy It Now 23h 3m
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Michael Lee Firkins Promo CD Cactus Cruz Joe Satriani Eric Johnson Steve Vai USD $0.99 [1 bids]
23h 12m
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Passion And Warfare Steve Vai [ROCK & POP] [Audio CD] [AOI] NEW USD $6.90 Buy It Now 1 day
STEVE VAI Best Ballads RARE CD JOE SATRIANI USD $15.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Steve Vai - Passion & Warfare (Vinyl Used Like New) USD $20.79 Buy It Now 1 day
STEVE VAI Sex & Religion CD, 1997 Epic Records USD $5.50 Buy It Now 1 day
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Alcatrazz / Live In Japan 1984 ORG Steve Vai 2CD G USD $75.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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1 day
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David Lee Roth - Skyscraper (1988 Warner B - W2-25671 - CD) signed by Steve Vai USD $24.99 Buy It Now 1 day
STEVE VAI - Fire Garden (1996 CD) signed by Steve Vai and Stuart Hamm USD $24.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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STEVE VAI Modern Primitive Passion & Warfare JAPAN 2Blu-spec CD with Guitar Pick USD $51.08 Buy It Now 1 day
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STEVE VAI discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STEVE VAI top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.61 | 67 ratings
Flex-Able
1984
3.61 | 135 ratings
Passion And Warfare
1990
3.16 | 94 ratings
Vai: Sex & Religion
1993
3.88 | 93 ratings
Fire Garden
1996
3.65 | 78 ratings
The Ultra Zone
1999
3.87 | 80 ratings
Real Illusions: Reflections
2005
4.17 | 63 ratings
The Story Of Light
2012
3.67 | 9 ratings
Modern Primitive
2016

STEVE VAI Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.77 | 45 ratings
Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Steve Vai - G3 Live In Concert
1997
3.93 | 27 ratings
Alive in an Ultra World
2001
2.97 | 26 ratings
Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen- G3 Rockin' In The Free World
2004
3.70 | 18 ratings
Live In London
2004
3.29 | 36 ratings
John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani- G3 Live In Tokyo
2005
3.77 | 24 ratings
Sound Theories Vol. I & II
2007
4.70 | 24 ratings
Where The Wild Things Are
2009
3.34 | 10 ratings
Where The Other Wild Things Are
2010
3.12 | 7 ratings
Stillness In Motion: Vai Live in L.A.
2015

STEVE VAI Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.08 | 17 ratings
G3: Live in Concert
2000
3.92 | 26 ratings
Live At The Astoria
2003
4.55 | 23 ratings
Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen- G3 Live In Denver
2004
4.25 | 17 ratings
G3: Live in Tokyo
2005
4.62 | 13 ratings
Visual Sound Theories
2007
4.97 | 21 ratings
Where The Wild Things Are
2009
5.00 | 3 ratings
Stillness In Motion: Vai Live in L.A.
2015

STEVE VAI Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.46 | 21 ratings
The 7th Song: Enchanting Guitar Melodies - Archives Vol. 1
2000
3.32 | 18 ratings
The Elusive Light And Sound Vol. 1
2001
3.50 | 10 ratings
The Infinite Steve Vai - An Antology
2003
3.20 | 5 ratings
Archives, Vol.3: Mystery Tracks
2003
3.77 | 7 ratings
Archives Vol.4: Various Artists
2003

STEVE VAI Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.55 | 28 ratings
Flex-Able Leftovers
1984
3.47 | 48 ratings
Alien Love Secrets
1995
2.14 | 3 ratings
Without Me
2010

STEVE VAI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Alien Love Secrets by VAI, STEVE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1995
3.47 | 48 ratings

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Alien Love Secrets
Steve Vai Prog Related

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars There is no doubt that Steve Vai is a huge influence for rock guitarists everywhere. There is no doubt that he is one of the greats. He has quite a history including being a part of Frank Zappa's band from 1980 - 1983. He was known by Zappa as the Stunt Guitar man because of his technique and playing of the nearly impossible passages written by Zappa. As a matter of fact, Vai transcribed "The Black Page" before Zappa even knew who he was. Vai sent Zappa a copy of the transcription and Zappa was so impressed he hired him to transcribe most of his music.

Other than this, Vai is mostly known for his solo work even though he has worked with many other bands and artists. Usually, as a rule, I tend to stay away from solo albums that feature guitar players, because they usually end up sounding all the same. Sure they are great to listen to a song at a time, but when they are played together in an album format, they tend to wear out their welcome. I already know you can play that guitar, how about showing us a little variety now and let's see how talented you really are.

This EP is just about the right size as far as I'm concerned for this type of music. Vai gets to show off, which is fine, he has every right to do so. But, with just barely over 30 minutes, this EP does not wear out it's welcome. And Vai even dares to add a little variety while he's at it, so I actually enjoy this album. Guitar greats that do this like Vai, Alan Holdsworth, Eric Clapton, and so on are the ones that dabble in other styles and are not afraid to try out new things. I can listen to these artists because they prove how diverse they are and don't have to rely on one style of music.

The EP starts off with "Bad Horsie" which is a good way to start things, no holds barred Hard Rock. Forget the fact that he can make his guitar sound like a horse, The Osmonds did the same thing back in the 70s. It's much more than that, it's a hard driving heavy metal song that lets out all the stops. The next 2 tracks are pretty much formulaic though and don't have anything unique about them. After this however, we are treated to "The Boy from Seattle", Vai's homage to Hendrix. This is an excellent track, with a completely different style, more bluesy along the lines of Hendrix without trying to be him with a little Stevie Ray thrown in for good measure. "Ya Yo Gakk" is a very innovative and playful number done with Vai's young son. I love this. His son sings and Vai answers back imitating his son with his guitar. "Kill the Guy with the Ball/The God Eaters" starts out fairly straightforward but eventually wanders into a bit of progressive territory but then around the 4:30 mark, things get really interesting for a little while, then the suite moves into more mellow territory when the percussion disappears. Not bad. The last track is a nice jazz-blues number called "Tender Surrender". This is very reminiscent of some of Santana's slower numbers, just with some different tricks. You can also tell that you haven't mistakenly put on a Santana song because it still has Vai's wild signature sound as it moves on.

The EP is nice to listen to on occasion and because there is some variety present, it also makes it more pleasing and not so traditional when it comes to guitar solo albums. There isn't much in the way of progressive rock here, but his technique can be so unique that you almost think you are listening to something progressive. No doubt that Vai is a guitar hero and that he can do more than grind an axe. He is also a master.

 The Infinite Steve Vai - An Antology by VAI, STEVE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2003
3.50 | 10 ratings

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The Infinite Steve Vai - An Antology
Steve Vai Prog Related

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars It always seems a little redundant writing reviews for compilations, but what the heck. They serve a purpose, after all. A good compilation should serve as a broad overview of an artist's output, with all their most popular hits, while also acting as a bit of teaser, enticing you to explore their back catalogue a little deeper. And this anthology does each of these quite well.

With two full discs of music, there's plenty of material for newfound Vai fans to sink their teeth into here. The tracks included were compiled from the bulk of Vai's career, with songs included from each of his studio albums from 1984 to 2003. That isn't all, of course, with a few live cuts ("Giant Balls of Gold", "Whispering A Prayer") thrown in for good measure, as well as the hair metal rocker "Kittens Got Claws" by Whitesnake, and "Lighter Shade of Green", a solo instrumental Vai recorded during his stint with Alcatrazz.

As far as Vai's solo career, I'm generally satisfied with the inclusions. All of his most famous material, like "For The Love of God", is included. There's also quite an exhaustive representation of the many different sides to his career. There are hard rock shredder tracks, succulent prog material like "Liberty", "The Riddle" and "Fire Garden Suite", a handful of ballads, and even the vaguely Zappa-like "Salamanders In The Sun". There are some questionable exclusions, of course, such as the shred-tastic, humorously autobiographical "The Audience Is Listening", as well as other less famous but still notable tracks, such as "Juice", "Hand On Heart", or "Erotic Nightmares".

For potential buyers, it's worth noting that in 2011 Sony BMG re- released this two-disc set, with the same track listing, as "The Essential Steve Vai". In all, this is a solid release as far as compilations go. I'd recommend this as a good introduction to Vai's music. And even then, it's not just "Vai 101"; this anthology includes some bonus-y material that established fans may not have been able to get their hands from the studio releases.

 Fire Garden by VAI, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.88 | 93 ratings

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Fire Garden
Steve Vai Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If you're a fan or electric guitar, it's hard to do better than Steve Vai's signature sound of artsy and playful hard-rock. If you're already a fan of Vai, it's hard to do better than Fire Garden. This record is a total package: it's got memorable songs filled with slinky cool jams and savage riffing, guitar virtuosity that's unabashedly complex and weird and energetic, and an overall style that just plain cooks.

Vai opens the album with three fantastic hard-rock songs. The rip-roaring "There's a Fire in the House," solo-heavy "Crying Machine," and many-textured "Dyin' Day." Great stuff, busy and personality-filled, with a crisp production. A few heavy, experimental, and romantic moments follow this completely instrumental first half, culminating in the massive "Fire Garden Suite." It's the album's showcase, and may be the most 'prog' sound that Vai has yet produced. It sprawls across sounds and influences rapidly and with gusto, cramming tons of wonderful moments into its 10-minute running time. One of the best song's that Vai has recorded, which is saying something.

The second half is slightly more "normal," with Vai handling vocal duties, quite well, with the ballads "All about Eve" and "Brother" standing out. Instrumentally this album is pretty much flawless. Vai's supporting band is great, but stick to the background, while the songwriting varies. This is especially apparent in the second-half, which strikes me as being the left-over ideas. However, even the more conventional songs are completely energized by Vai's guitar playing and the band's overall feel.

By the end of Fire Garden you'll be a believer. A great starting place to discover this exceptional musician.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

 The Ultra Zone by VAI, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.65 | 78 ratings

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The Ultra Zone
Steve Vai Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Guitar-virtuoso Steve Vai sends us another collection of excellent, personality-filled, artful hard rock jamming with Ultra Zone, his 5th release. More so than his other works that I've heard, this one is all about Steve's fingers doing crazy things to his guitar. Half of the songs on this album are instrumental set pieces, each with a distinct vibe and varying shred-factor. Vai is a killer player, and if you're into guitar and rock, it's hard to be disappointed. Each of these instrumentals (which take up the entire first side of the album), are crisp, modern, and filled with personality. While none of it is especially daring or experimental from a songwriting perspective, Steve's playing makes them a lot of fun; great for some rocking background grooves, but also creative enough to reward careful listening. Some make more of an impact than others, but all are solid. Vai handles vocals for the remaining songs, which are also great. There's an inherent likability when it comes to Vai's playing that makes this work easy to enjoy.

For many listeners, Ultra Zone will be a fun rock album with crazy guitar effects; for musicians aficionados, it could be an academic experience. I sit somewhere in the middle. I had a lot of fun with Ultra Zone, but was left wanting more in terms of scope or composition. That seems crazy to say, given Vai's pedigree, but I didn't feel a sense of build or drama with this release; each song could be taken on its own, and while a great experience when taken in isolation, the album as a whole doesn't drive home a musical message beyond a sense of playfulness. This isn't a bad thing, just something that makes Ultra Zone a good but not great release for me. Lots of fun when the mood strikes.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 5 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

 The Story Of Light by VAI, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.17 | 63 ratings

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The Story Of Light
Steve Vai Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Under rated guitar virtuoso and solo artist Steve Vai offers us an exceptional listening experience with the diverse, thoughtful, and exciting Story of Light. It's ambitious without feeling bloated, artistic without pretense, and enthusiastic without instrumental excess. While Vai is perhaps best known to readers here at the Archives as a supporting player during Zappa's final era, he's earned is place as a solo artist to our attention thanks to a collection of consistently fine - to outstanding - solo releases, and this one may be his best to date.

Story of Light opens in grand, dramatic fashion with the highly layered and impeccably produced title track. While I can't find a translation to the Russian narration that drifts in and out of the foreground, we can assume that they're dealing with the album's concept of enlightenment and truth (per interviews with Vai). What's more interesting to me is the stellar guitar and synth playing. Vai's soloing is complex, crisp, snappy, and highly polished. For many, this kind of playing is the reason for listening, and Vai doesn't disappoint.

We get more balls to the wall guitar showcases during the heavy chugging and thoughtful tempo breaks in "Velorum," and in the heavy, sassy, "Gravity Storm." Vai will crush you with walls of sound that are complex and engaging and thoughtful all at once. Some of the best playing on the album and pure guitar bad-assery.

The boogie-woogie-metal-rock-gospel combination of "John the Revelator" and "Book of the Seven Seals" is an unexpected surprise, and is just plain a blast to listen to. It's an eclectic diversion that is just perfect; it makes you say, "what the heck is this... holy cow, what's happening... holy cow this is amazing!" It lasts just long enough to leave you wanting more, which, when combined with a handful of lush, down-tempo jams that round out the album, is exactly how I feel about Vai's music in general.

Story of Light is a ton of fun and shouldn't be missed by any guitar fan interested in some artistic razzle-dazzle the spice up their hard rock!

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 5 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

 Fire Garden by VAI, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.88 | 93 ratings

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Fire Garden
Steve Vai Prog Related

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars This album is so close to being a 5 star one that it really pains me to give it anything lower, especially considering it's probably one of my 20 favourite albums, but I will make my case.

With a close second of "Passion And Warfare", "Fire Garden" is Steve Vai's best work; at least of those I've heard, anyway. A progressive smorgasbord with eclectic styles, virtuoso performances and unparalleled songwriting in Vai's catalog, this is stellar album, plain and simple. Well, maybe not so plain and simple, as the complexity of the music would suggest.

The first half of the album hits the ground running with the heavy metal "There's A Fire In The House". A thrilling start! Not only is the song a shredding showcase, it also features a blistering drum solo from Chris Frazier and begins to hint at Steve's production talents with its seamless use of effects. "The Crying Machine" and "Dyin' Day" are both two more emotive pieces that follow, the former a Santana-esque world fusion latin rock groove and the latter a stirring ballad co-penned by Ozzy Osbourne.

Following some raw-yet-sophisticated rock numbers, "Hand On Heart" begins, providing what is likely Steve Vai's most emotionally powerful ballad. A slow-building, cathartic spectacle, it is the one song on "Fire Garden" that is not to be missed by anyone. But just as soon as it ends, it is matched in quality by the progressive epic "Bangkok/Fire Garden Suite".

"Bangkok" offers humble but riveting beginnings with its minute-long crescendo of mosquitoes and development of Eastern music themes before seguing into the uptempo hard rock "Bull Whip", which starts off the title track suite. The oriental motifs continue with the Indian- style "Pusa Road" and "Angel Food" continues to build the piece with its playful piano and acoustic guitar trade-offs that eventually build into a spirited united musical force. If Vai ended the song here, I would have been completely satisfied. But instead he chooses to round out the suite with its finest movement, the metal "Taurus Bulba". This is probably the finest piece of music in Steve's catalog, offering his trademark fretboard mastery while following in the 70's symphonic tradition with seamless time and key changes. And it never descends into self-indulgence, either; it is an artfully balanced work on par with "Close To The Edge" and other greats from the classic prog era.

After "Fire Garden Suite" comes to an end, the album's only flaw avails: the fact that it continues. Had Steve chosen to end the album with the instrumental "phase 1" and save "phase 2" for another day, it would have greatly improved the album overall. Phase 2, while not terrible, isn't nearly at the same caliber of musicianship. The album's last 9 tracks are mostly vocal numbers and while Steve is a pretty good singer, most of the songs included here are just typical rock or metal numbers and "When I Was A Little Boy" is the sort of quirky silliness that I wish he had left on "Flex-Able".

There are some exceptions, though; "All About Eve" is another slow, moving ballad with good lyrics, "Warm Regards" is another solid instrumental ballad and "Genocide" is the best vocal track on the album. With a solid, mechanical drum beat and chanting vocals that build to a stunning coda, this is another work not to be missed in Vai's discography.

So while the first 9 tracks of "Fire Garden" are 5 star material, the 2 to 3 star second half drags this down to just a very, very good album. It is one that I would still highly recommend to any prog fan, whether they're a fan of classic or modern prog. This is a gem not to be missed!

 Alien Love Secrets by VAI, STEVE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1995
3.47 | 48 ratings

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Alien Love Secrets
Steve Vai Prog Related

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars This is a guitar lover's dream. A short but rich and cohesive album, "Alien Love Secrets" presents some of Steve Vai's most focused output.

The album's style ranges from heavy to melodic, bluesy to romantic and showcases flawless guitar technique with a healthy dose of creativity. The album is very close to a masterpiece but there are some slight pitfalls now and again. "Ya-Yo Gakk" comes to mind, which is a humorous hard rock song featuring Steve's 2-year-old son Julian on lead vocals and loses its novelty quite quickly. The metal-oriented songs, "Bad Horsie" and "Kill The Guy With The Ball", while initially quite exciting, do tend to wear a little thin after years of listening. That isn't to diminish from the other 4 songs on the album, though, as they have all stood the test of time or even improved with repeated listens.

"Juice" is the uptempo rock shuffle that southern rock would envy being, a highway boogie romp with impeccable trade-off style guitar licks. Though not progressive, it's certainly a classic. "The Boy From Seattle" is a classic, with gentler guitar textures and bluesy melodies. "Tender Surrender" is the emotional masterpiece of the album (and even Steve's career) and will leave you satisfied for years to come provided you don't have any qualms with its hyper-romantic nature.

"Alien Love Secrets" is heaven for guitar lovers and may just offer some great material to other listeners too, proghead or not.

 Flex-Able Leftovers by VAI, STEVE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
2.55 | 28 ratings

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Flex-Able Leftovers
Steve Vai Prog Related

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars A bizzare, eclectic and eccentric collection of some of Steve Vai's weirdest and most experimental musings. If you aren't already a Steve Vai fan, turn back now. If you've heard lots of his other material and want to get a better insight into the man behind the music, read on. "Flex-Able Leftovers" contains a wide range of musical styles, with some simpler, relatively melodic numbers interspersed with more abstract, sometimes humorous pieces. I'm not really a fan of the latter ones but there is good material to be found . Some of my favourites are the hard rock shredder "Massacre" and the acoustic "Burnin' Down The Mountain". There are some more complex songs that are also of interest, such as "Bledsoe Bluvd.", which reminds me of some Canterbury Scene music and "The X-Equalibrium Dance", which has such an erratic drum part that would give Bill Bruford a run for his money. I believe that the best song on the album is the primal hard rock "Natural Born Boy", which is a quality song that wouldn't be out of place on "Alien Love Secrets". The real prize that comes with owning this album are the CD's liner notes; Steve writes out little anecdotes, stories and descriptions about each of the album's songs, which makes for a riveting read.

"Flex-Able Leftovers" is a gold mine for any serious Steve Vai fan but will have very little allure to anyone not acquainted with his art.

 Flex-Able by VAI, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.61 | 67 ratings

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Flex-Able
Steve Vai Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Flex-able is under-rated guitar virtuoso Steve Vai's first solo album, featuring a enjoyable mash-up of song styles and instrumental playing. While it's not exactly a guitar clinic or instrumental showcase, it is completely fun, infectious, and energetic.

Zappa's influence on Vai is all over this album; in fact, if one didn't know better, the album's opener "Little Green Men" could be mistaken for a lost Zappa track. It's a jaunty, highly complex and orchestrated song with diverse instrumentation like flutes and vibes. There's even an enjoyable send up of the Close Encounter's melody. This and the rapidly shifting time signatures and playful vocals/characterizations make a great first impression. It's a fun track that is cheesy enough to enjoy at a superficial level, but such a dense composition that there's actually a lot going on behind the surface. This description goes for much of the album.

That's not to say that Vai is just ripping off Zappa. There is a distinct guitar signature that we hear throughout on later songs. There are numerous instrumental transitions that show off Vai's ambitious and almost vocalized guitar sound. There's no shredding or in your face solos, just a lot of nice axe work incorporated into the fun vibe of these songs. I guess I'd call Vai's guitar playing as being sassy, as we hear in the apply named "Attitude Song". The Zappa influence acknowledged, I actually found just as much Fripp influence as well, as Vai's creativity comes across as the sort of tangled guitar sound we hear on Crimson's excellent Discipline album. Even Flex-able's "pop" songs, "Lover's Are Crazy" and "The Boy/The Girl Song" are too weird for most casual music fans to enjoy.

The lengthiest song on this album, "Junkie Song" is hilarious. It sounds like a send-up of a musical, or film score, and features an open-ended solo filled with crazy effects, bends, time changes, etc. A great song.

With Vai's excellent playing, a great supporting band, fun mix of songs, and hilarious exuberance, Flex-Able comes highly recommended for rock fans in the mood to have a good time enjoying experimental, warm, and eclectic music.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay:5

 Stillness In Motion: Vai Live in L.A. by VAI, STEVE album cover Live, 2015
3.12 | 7 ratings

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Stillness In Motion: Vai Live in L.A.
Steve Vai Prog Related

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars With 30-some years under his belt since his remarkable debut with Frank Zappa's band, Steve Vai has developed a lot of consistency in his albums and live performances. You know you are going to get guitar pyrotechnics of the highest order, sounds that very few other guitarists can even dream of matching. And on this live album, he does not disappoint.

The problem is that I must compare this album to his previous live releases, "Where The Wild Things Are" and "Where The Other Wild Things Are". The most obvious change in the bands is that the dual violinists on the 2009 albums have been replaced with the extraordinary harpist and keyboard player Deborah Henson-Conant. And while I love her playing on her own albums, The harp, for the most part gets lost under the barrage of Vai's metal fusion. At most times the only way the harp can be heard is through headphones, and even then what she is actually playing is barely, if at all discernable.

Nonetheless, the album is a good set of Vai's music, expertly played.

Highlights are:

Gravity Storm, that uses heaviness and wildly bent guitar and bass that makes you feel like you are getting sucked into the core of a black hole.

John The Revelator a call-and-response gospel song, that even impresses this atheist.

An acoustic set on disk 2, beginning with Rescue Me or Bury Me shows that Vai is just as impressive without his electric tools.

Frank gives Vai a chance to solo in the style of his late mentor. And he does it beautifully.

If any other guitarist had created an album of this quality, I would give it four stars, but since this one is a half-step down from what I think is Vai's best, I must rate it 3.5 (rounded down).

Thanks to dick heath for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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