Preview: The Tales of the 5 Axeman!
Generation Axe Tour
Photos by: Vikas Nambiar
This is not a story about Medieval Times, a best-selling book, or a wood cutting competition. This is about 5 extraordinary guitar gods, coming together on one stage, for a night of shredding guitars, personal tales, and loud great music. The 5 Axeman are: Steve Vai, Zack Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi. The Generation Axe tour comes charging into the iconic Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY on November 28 and will lay siege to a legion of fans on a night not to be missed.
In my lifetime, I’ve been pretty lucky to have seen 3 out of these 5 guitar gods play in the past. Before my days of jam bands, Blues, and Soul acts, I was a teenage metal headbanger and rocker. I donned a furry denim jacket with the Iron Maiden Killers album cover oil painted on the back as my armor. I had a denim vest with patches of all my favorite bands sewn on both the front and the back as my coat of arms. My helmet was my dad’s 1950’s Harley Davidson Cap along with enough metal spikes on my arms, neck, and belt to make and wield a Morning Star. However, my weapon of choice was screaming at the top of my lungs and flailing my long hair alongside my fellow warriors.
On the Rising Force tour in 1984, I got to see Yngwie Malmsteen blow the doors out of the old Capitol Theatre in Passaic. He was just a teenager at that time, but man did he know how to play guitar like no one I had ever seen before. I was devastated when the original Van Halen broke up and David Lee Roth went his separate ways. However, in the late 1980’s Roth released a few solo albums which included Steve Vai on guitar. I was fortunate enough to see one of these show in NYC and for the second time that decade, I was completely mesmerized by the guitar wizardry that unfolded in front of my eyes. I then saw Steve Vai on the G3 tour in the early 2000’s alongside a grownup Yngwie Malmsteen as well as Joe Satriani, and this cemented their guitar legacies in my mind.
I was a huge Ozzy and Black Sabbath fan from the time I first started listening to my own music and not my parents. I was truly had the great fortune to see what Randy Rhodes could do with a guitar alongside Ozzy before Randy’s untimely death. Zack Wylde ultimately replaced the guitarists who replaced Rhodes and then in the late 80’s/early 90’s, I was blessed with a ticket to see this young guitar protégé destroy the Brendan Byrne Arena with Ozzy.
Wylde’s performances catapulted him to stardom and he eventually created the band Black Label Society. I have never seen Nuno Bettencourt from “Extreme” or Tosin Abasi from “Animals as Leaders” live on stage. However, I’m looking forward to my face being melted by these two guitar wizards, as well as the other three guitar gods in a few weeks.
The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester is an amazing venue to see live music. Renovated and reopened by the legendary promoter, producer, and publisher Peter Shapiro, the Capitol is one of the premiere venues in the tri-state area. It is grand, armed with a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, and it doesn’t have a bad seat in the house. It holds up to 1800 fans and has a large staff that are courteous, helpful, and kind.
When you are there, make sure to check out the intricate details of the venue including the artwork, the amazing dome ceiling, and the wallpaper. Yes, I said the wallpaper! I’m not going to give it away but it’s unique and cool. Lastly, if you want to hang out and have a drink, there is a bar called Garcia’s attached directly to the theatre. Named after the late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, you can get some homemade grog and still watch the show which is streamed live throughout the venue.
I would highly recommend to head over to the official Generation Axe Pledge music campaign, where you can buy an array of items like the official live CD or vinyl, signed vinyl by all 5 Axeman, t-shirts, hats, and various bundles. There are also one of a kind signed guitars for sale too. I can’t wait for my order to arrive. I bought the Live in China Double Vinyl album signed!
In 2016, Steve Vai had an idea to bring together a bunch of guitar kings to showcase their own music and create something special. What started as a short tour in 2016 blossomed into a full tour that continued in 2017, and now 2018. The tour is nearing the end of their 3-year run of shows together with the last date on the schedule in CA mid-December. No announcement has been made if the tour will continue in 2019 and beyond. Now is the time to see this once in a lifetime spectacle of guitar wizardry as the Tales of the 5 Axeman might be reaching its final chapter.