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Blog posts about Stage Photography & Lighting Design by Pavlos Mavridis photography

Blast from the past Vol. 1: Steve Vai in Thessaloniki 2000


Searching through my archives, I found some scans of my first concert photography attempts, 15 years ago. Well, it wasn't my intention to become a photographer back then. I was just trying to collect as much material as possible (photos, recordings, memorabilia etc). But looking back now, it seems that everything had its own goal for me.

This concert was one of my favorites and one of the very first I've ever attended. I was a big fan of Steve Vai's guitar playing and music, so when the concert was announced I could not just wait to see him live. But apart from the concert, the whole day was so full of memories that made it unforgettable. This tour was promoting his 1999 album "The Ultra Zone" (probably my favorite Vai album). 

The day began pretty early for my friends and I. Steve, alongside with Eric Sardinas who was opening for him, were guests on the TV show "Jammin" (best greek TV show ever!), hosted by Stathis Panagiotopoulos and Sotiris Vakaros. The show had a live audience so there was absolutely no doubt that we would be visiting the studio. Below you can see the episode (the boy holding a camcorder in the audience is me!). After the show we had the chance to meet them and have our CDs signed.

Steve Vai with Eric Sardinas entering the studio

Steve Vai with Eric Sardinas entering the studio

Steve Vai waving us "goodbye" on his way to the venue

Steve Vai waving us "goodbye" on his way to the venue

"Fire Garden" booklet signed by Steve

"Fire Garden" booklet signed by Steve

Vai's guitar pick

Vai's guitar pick


The band rehearsing the song "The Power of Bombos" before the show

The band rehearsing the song "The Power of Bombos" before the show

 

After the TV show we went straight to the venue. Because it was very early, there was no security at the venue's entrance so we just entered it. And boom! Steve Vai and his band were rehearsing for the show. They were also playing a new track. The story behind this rehearsal is the following: 
His next album was called "Alive in an Ultra World".  That album had 16 new songs written specifically for the countries that Vai and his band were visiting on this tour. If you check the album's credits you will find out that the track "The Power of Bombos" which was Greece's song was recorded the day after in Athens. So that evening was the moment that they composed it! We were a part of this history!

 

Being "literally" on stage

Being "literally" on stage

 

His touring band was an all star band featuring Mike Mangini on drums (now playing with Dream Theater) who had his birthday that day, Philip Bynoe on bass, the unbeliavable Mike Keneally on guitar, keys (former member of the Frank Zappa band and now touring with Joe Satriani) and Dave Weiner on guitar. Also Vai's legendary guitar tech Mr. Thomas Nordegg who used to work as Frank Zappa's guitar tech and and concert video taper during the 70s and the 80s. The show was phenomenal. I also remember that the venue was so packed that the security people let us literally on stage!

 

 


Enough history said! Enjoy the rest of the photos!