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Steve Vai: ‘Passion And Warfare’ 25th Anniversary Tour – Knoxville, TN

Vai’s tour – featuring for the first time ever in concert – full performances of his groundbreaking instrumental rock masterpiece, made a stop in Knoxville, TN.

Steve Vai’s Passion And Warfare, released in 1990, is highly regarded as one of the most influential rock instrumental albums of all time. Considered his breakout album, Passion And Warfare catapulted Vai to rock star status and solidified him as one of the ultimate guitar heroes. To commemorate the album’s 25th anniversary, Vai teamed with Legacy Recordings to issue a special two-disc edition of Passion And Warfare. To further celebrate the occasion, Vai embarked on a world tour featuring – for the first time ever in concert – full performances of his groundbreaking instrumental rock masterpiece in its entirety.

“Performing this record from top to bottom, with some very special surprises in the works, is something I’ve always dreamed of doing,” Vai said. “There are songs here I’ve never performed before, and I’m delighted that 25 years after its release, I feel as though my guitar chops are as much up to the task as ever before.”

The Passion And Warfare 25th Anniversary Tour made its way to Knoxville, Tennessee at the Bijou Theatre on November 20, 2016.

Kicking things off with his infamous cameo in Crossroads playing on the video screens above the stage straight into the monstrous crunch of “Bad Horsie,” Vai walked onto the stage with a getup that made him seem from another planet. (After hearing some of his wildly amazing guitar compositions over the years, I already thought he was otherworldly!) With a white hood, red laser eyes and an Ibanez JEM with LED fret markers, Mr. Vai knows how to make an entrance.

Any Steve Vai performance is worth the cost of admission, but we were all here to witness the magic of Passion And Warfare. From the first track, “Liberty,” we got a glimpse of a regular feature in this show. Above the stage, a live performance video of Vai and Queen’s Brian May from 1992 played while Steve and his current band rocked through the tune. The video screen comes into play several times throughout the set, playing retro videos in time with songs being performed.

A cool addition to the show is how pre-recorded videos from special guests were incorporated into the live performances. Joe Satriani dropped in during “Answers,” John Petrucci joined for a few measures of “The Audience Is Listening,” “Sisters” was beautifully introduced by Tommy Emmanuel and his acoustic guitar, and Frank Zappa made a legendary live appearance in “Stevie’s Spanking.”

Vai’s band (guitarist Dave Weiner, drummer Jeremy Colson, and bassist Philip Bynoe) laid the foundation and provided the perfect backdrop for the live performance of such a killer album.

Set 1:
Bad Horsie
The Crying Machine
Gravity Storm
Tender Surrender

Passion And Warfare, Side 1
Liberty (with live pre-recorded performance featuring Brian May)
Erotic Nightmares
The Animal
Answers (with Joe Satriani joining on pre-recorded video)
The Riddle
Ballerina 12/24
For The Love Of God

Set 2: (Passion And Warfare, Side 2):
The Audience Is Listening (with John Petrucci joining on pre-recorded video)
I Would Love To
Blue Powder
Greasy Kid’s Stuff
Alien Water Kiss
Sisters (with Tommy Emmanuel joining on pre-recorded video)
Love Secrets

Stevie’s Spanking (Frank Zappa cover)
Build Me A Song
Racing The World

Encore 2:
Fire Garden Suite IV – Taurus Bulba

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