TVD Live Shots: Generation Axe at the Tower Theater, 5/5

The Tower Theater in Philadelphia played host to some of the world’s greatest guitar talents this past Thursday. Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi are Generation Axe.

The night began with all five guitar gods on stage together for an all-star jam, then up first was a solo set by Animals as Leaders guitarist Tobin Abasi which really got the crowd primed. For the last song of his set Nuno Bettencourt came out and played alongside him. Seamlessly it transitioned to Nuno’s solo set which included classics from Extreme’s catalog as well as his iconic rendition of “Flight of the Wounded Bumblebee.”

Next was the always entertaining Zakk Wylde. Zakk changed things up a bit when he decided midway through the Sabbath classic “NIB” that he was going to play from the audience. Zakk spent almost half of his solo set in the middle of the crowd walking up and down the aisles of the crowded Tower Theatre. Wylde was truly the crowd favorite, and I must say if Zakk Wylde wasn’t such an amazing player, he should look into stand-up comedy because he has some of the funniest on-stage banter I have ever heard.

He ended his set by introducing guitar prodigy Yngwei Malmsteen. Malmsteen, despite some technical problems in the beginning of his set, was truly the highlight for me. Hiding in the shadows and within a flood of red light, Yngwei showed his classical training along with his ability to simply shred.

Before leaving the stage he shared one last song with guitar legend Steve Vai. Vai spent the next 30 minutes ripping through some of his classic material before the rest of the group returned for renditions of “Frankenstein” and “Highway Star.”

All in all, for any fan of technical guitar prowess—this is the show of shows.

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