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Steve and his bandmates on the red carpet
It was a gala fundraising event with the proceeds going to Hollywood Arts, an arts academy that provides mentoring programs to homeless and at-risk youth. The program is a set of courses along with counseling designed to nurture their artistic gifts and foster a positive outlook on their future. Steve Vai has been a member of the board of directors for Hollywood Arts since 2007.
Guests and press swarmed the red carpet area as fans mingled with Steve Vai and his band. Vai violinist Ann Marie Calhoun was particularly stunning in a black and white low cut dress and complimentary pumps. Vai was joined by his wife and son for photo ops, as well as dozens of friends and associates who jockeyed for positions to get photos taken with the man of hour.
A silent auction was set up nearby where the coolest items were on display. Guitars and large gift baskets were set up for the perusal of lookie loos and potential bidders. Celebrities such as Ozzy Osborne, David Lee Roth, Tom Morello and Slash donated items for bidding. Vai himself donated a complete stage rig: two Carvin Legacy II half stacks, a full pedalboard complete with high-end effects and his Bad Horsie II Jem guitar used on the Fire Garden tour. The items will remain up for auction on eBay through Tuesday.
Then it was time to enter the theater for the screening! Introductions were made and information about the Hollywood Arts charity was given. One of the recipients of the organization told a heart-warming story about his journey, how he discovered the program and his eventual success in the music industry.
Next, the animated short film Live Music was screened. Set in a music store, it’s the story of an electric guitar that falls in love with a violin. The instruments are brought to life by Steve Vai on guitar and fellow band member and violinist Ann Marie Calhoun. It’s a cute little film that showcases the technical virtuosity of the two performers. This TriStar Pictures animated feature was done as a worldwide collaboration by animators using applications built on the Facebook Platform. It’s set for a theatrical North American release on November 20th.
With excitement and anticipation, Steve Vai Live in Minneapolis: Where The Wild Things Are began with a bang. The film is concert footage from Steve Vai’s sold-out Sound Theories tour filmed at The State Theater in Minneapolis. It’s two hours and forty minutes of mesmerizing guitar pyrotechnics as only Vai can do it. The concert contains several new tunes, re-orchestrated old tunes, stunning visuals and special effects. The camera work and editing is sheer perfection. New to the band are violinists Alex DePue and Ann Marie Calhoun who provided lots of vibe, dynamics and woody sonic texture. Other new members include Bryan Beller on bass, Jeremy Colson on drums and Zack Wiesinger on lap steel. Vai’s sonic partner in crime Dave Weiner returns on 7-string guitar. It’s a blistering set of masterfully arranged tunes with super charged virtuosity. Seeing and hearing Vai trade 4s and 8s with two classically trained violinists is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Highlights include, “Taurus Bulba,” “For The Love Of God” and “Freak Show Excess.”
The concert will be release on DVD and Blu-ray September 29th. The live audio CD version contains select performances from the DVD and will be released on the same day. Check out the preview at www.vai.com/wildthings.