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Concert Review & Photos - Generation Axe

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Who would have ever believed that five of the greatest guitarists' on the planet today would ever join forces for what might arguably be one of the most anticipated rock tours of 2016?  Well, that is exactly what happened at on a gorgeous Sunday evening at Humphrey's in San Diego, CA.  Guitar legends Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Nuno Bettercourt, and Tosin Abasi teamed up for a once in a lifetime performance they call "Generation Axe".    As Steve Vai commented recently, "The Generation Axe show is a unique performance of fiercely talented guitar players coming together to create a 6-string extravaganza that is sure to amaze and delight."   As eager concert goers made their way into the venue,  one could not help but feel the anticipation building as showtime neared.   There was an electricity in the air that one could feel throughout the venue.  For me, the only question that remained was how these legendary guitarists would be able to interact together on one stage (I am sure others had been asking that same question too).  Well, we were all just about to find out.

As the sun began to set, the lights dimmed and a nearly sold-out crowd rose to their feet as Generation Axe hit the stage.  In wild abandon,  Vai, Malmsteen, Wylde, Bettencourt, & Abasi kicked off an amazing night of music with a cover of the Boston classic "Foreplay".  As the song came to an end, all initial concerns that I had regarding this super-group had vanished.  The chemistry that they had with one another was nothing short of spectacular.   Listening to the first of many incredible songs that evening, you might think that Generation Axe had been touring together for years.  Many were shocked to learn that they had just began their tour only a few weeks earlier in Seattle.  This was going to be a special evening.

Over the next 3 hours, each member of Generation Axe took center stage individually, playing original songs or classic covers in their entirety.    A star-studded band that included Pete Griffin on Bass, Nick Marinovich on Keyboards, and Matt Garstka on Drums joined each virtuoso on stage for a 20 min set of mind blowing madness.    A few of my favorite moments from the evening included: Tosin Abasi's shredding the Animals as Leaders song "Air Chrysalis";  Nuno Bettercourt's "Best of Medley" featuring many well known Extreme riff's and solos;  Zakk Wylde's cover of The Allman Brothers Band's "Whipping Post";  Yngwie Malmsteen (and Steve Vai) crushing "Black Star";  and Steve Vai taking you to some far off galaxy on "Gravity Storm".  The night ended just as it started with all members of Generation Axe taking the stage and jamming to a cover of Deep Purple's "Highway Star".  And if melting faces was not enough, Yngwie also sang this song in its entirety.  The way the crowd went wild, you would have thought that Ian Gillan was on stage and singing it himself.

Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Nuno Bettercourt, and Tosin Abasi have put together something very special that rarely comes together in this form on one stage. Whether you are an avid guitar player, a music aficionado, or just someone who loves live music, Generation Axe is definitely worth the price of admission.  Each guitarist brings something unique to the stage that is sure to bring out the inner rock star in you.   It's not every day that you get a chance to see some of the most influential guitarists of our time playing together on stage.  That being said, grab your tickets today and get ready to have your mind blown by Generation Axe! 

Stay Frosty and Rock on!


Matthew Belter

Executive Editor - Long Beach

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