Steve Vai embarked on his “The Story Of Light” tour on August 15, 2012, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The tour ended 52 countries and 253 concerts later on September 12, 2014, in Szczecin, Poland. The 49th stop on the tour was at the Nokia Club in Los Angeles. Of all the concerts, this was the one chosen for release on the Stillness In Motion two-CD set or if you are so inclined, a DVD set with three and a half hours of behind the scenes bonus material.
Vai’s career began as a student of Joe Satriani and a guitarist for Frank Zappa. He also spent time with Whitesnake and David Lee Roth’s backing band. He has toured with a number of artists including Satriani. His solo career began in 1983 and he has released over 15 studio and live albums.
Vai has always been an excellent composer and band leader but as a guitarist he ranks as one of the best in the world. His expertise is best chronicled on his live releases and Stillness In Motion brings his concert career and live performing up to date.
He and his backing band had jelled four months into the tour. Drummer Jeremy Colson, bassist Philip Bynoe, guitarist/keyboardist Dave Weiner, and stand-up electric harpist Deborah Henson-Conant are a veteran and tight band that are wise enough to allow Vai room for his guitar improvisations.
The 22 tracks span his career with about a third taken from his last release The Story Of Light. The music is not a regurgitation of his studio recordings but undergo re-interpretations. An example is “Salamanders In The Sun,” which is transferred to an acoustic piece. There is a new intro to his ode to “Frank” Zappa. “Pusa Road,” “The Moon And I,” and “Rescue Me Or Bury Me” find him delving a little deeper into his catalogue of songs. The ringing “Taurus Bulba” was a good way to end the concert.
Vai has always been a road warrior and Stillness In Motion catches a master musician plying his trade. He may not explore a lot of new ground but he does produce a well-crafted rocking album and in this case, that is more than enough.