Remembering 2022 – Steve Vai // Inviolate Tour 2022 // Live Review // The Limelight 1 // Belfast

What can you say about Steve Vai that hasn’t already been said, I personally have been a huge fan from his earliest days. I stumbled across him courtesy of my cousins in Dublin who were listening to Dave Lee Roth’s ‘Eat Em & Smile’ album, Diamond Dave’s debut after leaving Van Halen. Dave wisely assembled some of the best musicians of the day, Greg Bissonette on drums, Billy Sheehan on Bass and a very young Steve Vai on guitar #mindblown 

What started as a musical love affair of sorts and the beginning of a musical journey that allowed this little lady to be raised by four of the greatest guitarists in rock and metal of that time, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert. Hence why my musical taste is no fubar! I just loved guitar instrumental music and these four guys filled my life with so much joy as a grumpy, spotty teenager living in Belfast and dreaming of one day reaching the dizzy heights of their guitar playing myself one day. Sadly, we are still waiting! But, Vai, Satch, Yngwie & Paul have never looked back and still to this very day mesmerise just as they did three-plus decades ago. Vai also, is one of the reasons I am here this evening photographing this show, as mentioned in a recent review when I showed Queen + Adam Lambert at the SSE in Belfast a few weeks back, Queen Live Killers made me fall in love with everything about the live music scene, the imagery, the lifestyle they sold and the dream’s they encouraged, the last time I saw Vai play I believe was 2013 here in Belfast at the old Mandela Hall, Queen University Students Union venue, and right there, right then when I saw guys walking into the pit to shoot Vai I was raging! How did they get access, and more importantly HOW DO I??? 

Fast forward 9 years and As it turns out, years of graft and honing your skills as a photographer and I’m here! Anywho, Steve also has been working hard, and through the toughest years for many a musician, we’re now finally post-pandemic and back in venues supporting our favourite artists once again. Steve recently dropped his latest beauty of a recording Inviolate courtesy of Favored Nations/Mascot Label Group. This album like many Steve has released really pushed boundaries, with time on his hands due to the pandemic, Vai went to another level as far as technicality. We got snippets via videos from Steve over the time of the release with tracks like ‘Knapsack’ when Steve had his arm in a sling due to some minor surgery carried out while off the road, played with one hand for all to scratch our heads to. ‘Sitting Pretty’ with its yoga-esque finger bends that had the Internet in a spin and of course ‘The Hydra’ Steve playing a three-neck guitar simultaneously which incorporates bass, fretless bass/guitar and begin it’s just mind-boggling. So with all that in mind, what would Vai bring to his live show for the Inviolate Tour 2022?

Good news, all of the above really, If you were coming to hear all the old classic’s you’ll not be disappointed but they are far and few on the ground, you’ll hear the sublime ‘Tender Surrender’, ‘Bad Horsie’ and ‘For The Love Of God’ and that in itself is a religious experience to witness Vai do that live, but the set is mostly comprised with his latest album and that is truly something to behold. ‘Zeus In Chains’, ‘Avalancha’ ‘Little Pretty’, ‘Greenish Blues’ and ‘Candle Power’ all feature alongside older tracks and solos from individual band members who equally deserve a mention, stellar musicians who just absolutely slay it live, Dave Weiner on guitar, Philip Bynoe on Bass, and Jeremy Colson on drums, these guys were majestic. The sound was sublime, Vai’s guitars resonate across the room and each and every solo and glorious touch of that Wah just cuts like a knife! For any Vai fan this was an absolutely magical experience, catching your guitar hero up close and personal in a relatively sized intimate venue it is a beautiful thing. Great sound, great music and the master himself in fine form and is truly appreciative for all those who are back out supporting him and live music once again after a crazy few years. 

Till next time Steve let’s not leave it so long. 

“That Steve Vai, What A Nice Little Boy” 


Review & Photography: Mark McGrogan

@flashartmark // #flashartmark 





Balls Of Gold 

Little Pretty 

Tender Surrender 

Lights Are On 

Candle Power 

Building Church 

Greenish Blues 

Bad Horsie 

I’m Becoming 


Dyin’ Day 

Zeus In Chains 


For The Love Of God 

Taurus Bulb 


Watch the Official Video for “Teeth of the Hydra” Here. 


Taken From New Album ‘Inviolate’ OUT NOW
Via Favored Nations / Mascot Label Group

Listen to ‘Inviolate’ via Spotify HERE

Steve Vai – Teeth of the Hydra (Official Music Video)

Order New Album ‘Inviolate’ Here

Steve Vai will be coming to the UK and Ireland for a series of shows in June and will call through Glasgow, Manchester, London, Bristol, Dublin and Belfast. Tickets are available at He has also revealed the Official Video for “Teeth of the Hydra” which you can watch Here. 

The Inviolate World Tour will commence with a European leg of appearances beginning in Glasgow on 4 June, 2022. The itinerary will stretch in to mid-July, staging performances in the U.K., Ireland, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain. Steve Vai’s North American performances supporting the new album will start on September 28 at The Magnolia in El Cajon, CA. The final show is planned for his hometown of Los Angeles, at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on December 3.  For tickets and a variety of EVO Experience VIP bundles available visit

Vai will be joined by his long-tenured ensemble members Dave Weiner (guitar / keys), Philip Bynoe (bass), and Jeremy Colson (drums).  Vai shares, “It’s amazing to realize that after three years of not performing our show on a stage, that it’s now on the horizon, and will start to unfold in Europe this summer.  I can feel the road now and the enthusiastic audiences that we will be connecting with.”
Vai shares, “The idea for this guitar and track came to me roughly seven years ago.  I envisioned composing and performing a piece of music on a multi-neck instrument where all of the sound emanated from that one creation with the exception of some keyboards and drums.  I sent my ideas to Ibanez, and their builders delivered this astonishing wooden creature.  I was stunned.  It was awesome.  When I first laid eyes on it, I named it the Hydra, and instantly knew the name of the song would be ‘Teeth of the Hydra.’  A Hydra is a dragon-like creature from Greek mythology possessing various heads.  For every head chopped off, two would grow in its place.  I then set out to write a piece of music that utilized all the features of the Hydra, but could also stand on its own as an enjoyable composition with a sultry melody and heavy dynamics.”

He continues, “When I finally sat with the Hydra and started to contemplate writing this piece and how I was to navigate the instrument in a seamless way, for a moment it seemed impossible.  I just started slowly, and it all began to unfold very naturally.  Things that can seem impossible don’t seem so impossible once you just start doing them.  Every new discovery and accomplishment were treated as a joyous victory, even if it only involved figuring out one bar of music.  The overall inner vision was the guide through the process, but with every accomplishment, the process became more and more addictive.  I became immersed in the splendors of the Hydra.  It was a meditative experience, and on the day that it all finally clicked, performing the song felt like stillness in motion—that’s when the performance becomes virtually effortless, and the freedom of present-moment expression has you feeling as if your feet are about a foot off the ground.  The exhilaration can be overwhelming at times.  I’m very happy with the way the video came out, and having BJ McDonnell as director, along with his amazing crew, was vital. Enjoy!”

The performance clip was directed by BJ McDonnell, and produced by John Heller and Jason Salzman. The Director of Photography was Eric Leach, with art direction by Michael Mesker. Greg Wurth was the Sound Engineer and Assistant Editor.

Vai’s new studio album Inviolate debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Current Hard Rock Albums chart. Cumulative streams exceed 5 million, with “Teeth Of The Hydra” accounting for more than one million.

Steve Vai – Little Pretty (Official Music Video)

Confirmed appearances include:
04 June                Glasgow, UK                                                   o2 Academy
05 June                Manchester, UK                                              The Ritz
07 June                London, UK                                                     Palladium
09 June                Bristol, UK                                                       o2 Academy
10 June                Dublin, Ireland                                                 Academy
11 June                Belfast, UK                                                      The Limelight
13 June                Paris, France                                                  Le Trianon
14 June                Strasbourg, France                                         La Laiterie
16 June                Oslo, Norway                                                  Rockefeller
17 June                Bergen, Norway                                              USF Verftet
18 June                Gothenburg, Sweden                                     Pustervik
19 June                Stockholm, Sweden                                       Fållan
20 June                Copenhagen, Denmark                                  Amager Bio
22 June                Lille, France                                                    Splendid
23 June                Clisson, France                                              Hellfest
24 June                Bordeaux-Cenon, France                               Rocher de Palmer
25 June                Nimes, France                                                Paloma
26 June                Lyon, France                                                  Transbordeur
28 June                Nuremberg, Germany                                     Hirsch
29 June                Linz, Austria                                                    Posthof
01 July                  Udine, Italy                                                     Castello
02 July                  Macerata, Italy                                               Sferisterio
03 July                  Bari, Italy                                                        Teatro Petruzzelli
04 July                  Firenze, Italy                                                   Ultravox Arena
05 July                  Gardone Riviera, Italy                                     Anfiteatro del Vittoriale
06 July                  Zurich, Switzerland                                         Komplex
08 July                  Berlin, Germany                                              Columbia Theatre
09 July                  Weert, Netherlands                                         Bospop Festival
10 July                  Antwerp, Belgium                                            OLT Rivierenhof
12 July                  Toulouse, France                                             Le Bikini
14 July                  Sancti Petri, Spain                                           Concert Music Festival
16 July                  Valencia, Spain                                                Jardin de Viveros
17 July                  Vigo, Spain                                                       Auditorio Mar do Vigo
19 July                  Barcelona, Spain                                             Teatro Tivoli

Steve Vai – Zeus In Chains (Official Visualizer)

Steve Vai – Teeth of the Hydra (Official Visualizer)

The Hydra: presented by Steve Vai and Ibanez

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