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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Steve Vai

Where The Other Wild Things Are

Review by Gary Hill

Steve Vai is an amazing guitarist. That’s probably not a surprise to anyone. The thing is, you might be surprised to find out that a Steve Vai concert isn’t a bunch of musicians backing Vai, but rather a real band experience. Every member of the group gets a chance to shine and it’s all designed to entertain the audience. The music moves between a number of genres, but is mostly in the fusion/progressive rock vein. This live album showcases a good chunk of a Vai show and it’s well worth having. Even if you have all the studio discs, this music certainly takes on new significance when played live.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Crying Machine

An energetic cut, this seems to work its way through fusion, world music and psychedelia in fine fashion. There are a number of interesting twists and turns along the road and both violin and guitar get their share of the limelight.

The Audience Is Listening
The bass seriously drives this one and has a more prominent role in the arrangement. It’s a rocker that’s a bit less diverse than the previous number and more along the lines of something from the Dixie Dregs. There are still a few changes and alterations and here and there I’m reminded of Robin Trower, too.
The Murder
Noisy and bit strange, there’s an ominous quality to this. It wanders close to metal in terms of some of the sounds, but is also very experimental and fusion like in other aspects. It’s more like a tone painting than a real song in a lot of ways and “The Murder” is a great title for it. 
Juice
Just a smoking fusion piece, there aren’t any big surprises here. It’s a good cut no matter how you slice it, though. 
Whispering A Prayer
A guitar showcase, this one is predominately fusion oriented. It’s a good cut and moves through several changes. 
Apples In Paradise
The violins are the real showcased instruments here. This cut runs through a variety of different soundscapes. At times, it’s much more classically oriented. We get some world music and yet some real rock, too. It becomes quite exploratory and rather RIO-like at other points. This gets kind of noisy, but it’s also very cool. It’s a great number and an excellent change of pace. 
I'm Becoming
A short journey, this is much more ambient than the rest of the material here, but no less dramatic and powerful.
Beastly Rap
This is a funny conversation between Steve Vai and Jeremy Colson.
Earthquake Sky
Predominately a percussion solo, there are voices in this, too. When I say “percussion”, though, that doesn’t mean just drums by any means – although I think it’s probably all triggered electronic percussion. 
Liberty
This has a very patriotic feeling to it, in keeping with the title. It’s a powerful number that’s quite soaring in its delivery. 
Answers
Another killer fusion piece, this is melodic and yet scorching. It is another that makes me think of the Dixie Dregs quite a bit.
For The Love Of God
Here’s another guitar hero showcase. This is a killer piece of instrumental magic.
 
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