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Vai, Steve: The Infinite Steve Vai-An Anthology

Capturing the man's complete evolution from sideman to front man, The Infinite Steve Vai lives up to its surreal title. Yeah, it's too long (more than two-and-a-half hours crammed onto a pair of CDs) but it's probably the most succinct career capsule you'll get of the player who got his break playing with Frank Zappa and is currently exploring the outer boundaries of instrumental electric guitar with soundtracks and music that refuses to be categorized. Unfortunately, this collection skips over Vai's period playing in David Lee Roth's band, as well as his work with Zappa and British post-punk quartet Public Image Limited instead focusing intently on his solo material, with a track from Whitesnake ("Kittens Got Claws"), Alcatrazz (the instrumental "Lighter Shade of Green") and 1997's Merry Axemas compilation ("Christmas Time Is Here") tossed in for fun.

A prettier and more fluid player than Joe Satriani who also has a new two-disc anthology to his name (The Electric Joe Satriani) Vai has also proven to be more creative and flexible than Satriani. (Truth be told, though, both guitarists have broadened their horizons considerably in recent years.) "Fire Garden Suite" incorporates multiple lead instruments all save the drums played by Vai into a progressive, classical, Middle-Eastern concoction that stretches the imagination while still managing to shred almost uncontrollably, while on "Ya-Yo-Gakk," Vai's guitar incredibly mimics the baby talk of his then-toddler son. Vai even proves himself a capable vocalist.

Even the cover will get your mind going. Those piercings Vai shows off are pretty damn cool even if they make me squirm.

Track Listing
CD 1
1) Liberty (2:03)
2) Die To Live (3:52)
3) The Attitude Song (3:22)
4) Salamanders in the Sun (2:25)
5) The Animal (4:01)
6) The Riddle (6:25)
7) For the Love of God (6:02)
8) Bangkok (2:46)
9) Fire Garden Suite: Bull Whip, Pusa Road, Angel Food, Taurus Bulba (9:55)
10) Ya-Yo Gakk (2:52)
11) Blue Powder (4:43)
12) Bad Horsie (5:51)
13) Tender Surrender (5:03)
14) All About Eve (4:38)
15) Dyin' Day (4:29)
16) The Blood & Tears (4:23)
17) The Silent Within (5:00)
Running Time (78:15)

CD 2
1) Feathers (5:11)
2) Frank (5:09)
3) Boston Rain Melody (4:39)
4) Kittens Got Claws (4:59)
5) Lighter Shade of Green (0:46)
6) Giant Balls of Gold (4:44)
7) Whispering A Prayer (8:46)
8) Jibboom (3:46)
9) Windows to the Soul (6:25)
10) Brandos Costumes (Gentle Ways) (6:05)
11) The Reaper (3:25)
12) Christmas Time Is Here (4:22)
13) Essence (5:50)
14) Rescue Me or Bury Me (8:22)
15) Burnin' Down the Mountain (4:22)
Running Time (77:04)
Total Running Time (152:19)

Added: January 15th 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Steve Vai Web Site
Hits: 2807
Language: english

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