In true rockstar fashion, taking the stage nearly fifteen minutes later than the posted show time, Generation Axe shredded their way through The Joint on Friday, November 9th.
Generation Axe is the guitar lover’s dream line up, created by legendary virtuoso Steve Vai, of Frank Zappa, Whitesnake and solo fame.
Accompanying Vai, are Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society), Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme), and Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders).
The night started with all five guitarists sharing in a long jam session with each player getting their time to shine with unique solos. Following this performance, four of the five guitarist left the stage, leaving only Tosin Abasi to please the crowd. Abasi is the youngest of the bunch, at 35 years of age, and is leading the charge for the younger generation of guitarists.
After three songs on his own, and nearly 25 minutes of stage time, Abasi is joined by Bettencourt for a song, and then the transition from one guitarist to the next was handled that way all night, with each following player coming out to play a final song with his predecessor before launching into his own set.
The following guitarist, and stand out performance for me, was Zakk Wylde. Playing 3 songs on his own, while wearing his Tony Iommi influence on his sleeve, launched into a bombastic rendition of the Black Sabbath classic, “War Pigs”.
Taking to the stage next was the billed headliner and crowd favorite, Steve Vai. Belting out 4 songs from his illustrious solo career, the majority of the crowd was on their feet just in time for the final act.
Following Vai, was Swedish axeman, Yngwie Malmsteen. The only thing more difficult than pronouncing his name, is comprehending his guitar playing. Malmsteen has been impressing audiences for nearly three decades and did not disappoint the crowd in Las Vegas. Ripping through nearly double the amount of songs as his predecessors, all while demonstrating many of his “signature” moves, the night came to a close with one final jam session with Steve Vai. It was a strong end to a night full of shredding, screaming, soaring arpeggios, crunchy tones and blistering licks. The five-man guitar school had something to teach fans of any Generation. – Dylan Duncan
Photos: Dylan Duncan