Generation Axe At The Casino Ballroom In Hampton Beach New Hampshire
May 7, 2016
Tosin Abasi, Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai, Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt
For this music lover the Generation Axe concert was a highly anticipated arrival Steve Vai and his friends were finishing up the last leg of their tour in chilly Hampton Beach New Hampshire and they have enjoyed it so much that they would like to take this show to the world. We shall see how that shapes up.
I personally have appreciated the artistry of Steve Vai for many years and actually the only six string trail blazer that I was unfamiliar with was Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders). Tosin was most impressive and I will seek out his music because of this show.
The one thing I was not prepared for was seeing the stack of Marshall Amps on the stage. I have never seen that many amps before! In addition to that there was a stack of eight amps above the stage to the left and right. Because of our seats, which were excellent, the decibel level was ear shattering at times. So advice to those with tickets closer to the stage, bring your ear plugs. The one player that was the loudest was Zakk Wylde.
To no surprise of mine Vai was on an entirely different level than all the other players. The one that stood out and almost stole the show was Nuno Bettencourt. I have to say he did until Vai came on to play his segment. Nuno is a vastly underrated musician and he can sing as well. One of the final numbers was Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein” and he added some drums. I was certainly impressed by his all-around talent.
I really do not have much to say about Yngwie as I have never been a fan. When he plays most everything sounds like a slight variation of the last song you heard. I do have to give him the nod for his vocals on the last song, Deep Purple’s “Highway Star.” That came as a surprise. I am sure there were plenty of people there that appreciate the man and his music I am just not one of them. I am not down playing his importance as an innovator of the guitar I just do not think he is among the greatest like a Vai or Clapton etc. The whole point of this show is to show how different each musician can be and that is generally appreciated.
Zakk Wylde was a total animal on guitar. I do have to say he knows how to bend those strings and he has one powerful voice The one thing I thought he could have done is cut down the time on his solos but then again there are people that live for that. He does a lot of shredding so if you like that you will love him. He did his own version of Black Sabbath’s “N.I.B.” and it was fantastic! He also covered Hendrix’s “Little Wing.” Once that got rolling he was taking it all right out the crowd walking around playing behind his back, much to the delight of the fans. He is a highly entertaining and funny performer I would recommend seeing.
This is the kind of live music experience that is like a once in a lifetime thing that should not be missed. For us it was a 3 hour trip but time well spent to see so many legendary players in one evening. They started at 8pm and finished just around midnight. Each performer got their turn and they did some great things together as well. Just like Steve Vai said “This is a diverse group of guitar players.” So if you like to rock and listen to a good cross section of styles on the six string this is a must see show. It comes as advertised A Night of Guitars!