Five of rock and roll’s most valuable guitar players joined forces for a night of musical mayhem during the Generation Axe Tour in Hollywood, Florida.
There was a little Hocus Pocus to begin the concert with all the axe slingers on stage together. Generation Axe lineup featured Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi. The fret masters traded licks while getting the crowd fired up for a night of live music.
Progressive instrumental guitarist Tosin Abasi stayed on stage for the first solo spot. Tosin’s guitar had eight strings instead of six, which gave fans more notes for their buck. His style was more stately than showy, and he mostly stood quietly as he played. Though he seemed to be deep in his own thoughts, the music coming from guitar was powerful and forceful.
Next up was Boston bad boy Nuno Bettencourt. He regaled the crowd with some racy anecdotes then broke into a barrage of fiery riffs — and those attending Generation Axe at Hard Rock Live Event Center knew the Extreme guitarist had more than words for them. In addition to his amped up electric songs, Nuno played an acoustic guitar that showcased his abilities as a musician.
Zakk Wylde rose to fame as lead guitar player for Ozzy Osbourne. Then he formed his own heavy metal band Black Label Society. And while shredding through both bands, he carved out time to rip up the stage with his compadres from Generation Axe. Father Zakk’s set was a hard-hitting assault of masterful metal musicianship. His long locks draped over his face, but everyone could still see the intensity in his eyes. Wylde has always been a fan of the fans, and proved it by walking through the crowd as he played to give them an up close and personal concert experience.
Steve Vai sauntered on stage and kept the guitars screaming. The maestro has legendary reputation in the world of rock and roll playing with the renowned Frank Zappa as well as Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth, Whitesnake and Public Image Ltd. For more than 20 years, his award-winning solo career has kept him in the spotlight. His performance at Hard Rock Live Event Center was a reminder that things get better with age. Vai’s guitar sound filled the venue with a melodic edginess that characterized his playing style. He demonstrated grace and tenacity with aplomb. Every note seemed to emanate from his soul and the audience was listening. As Steve’s set neared conclusion, Yngwie Malmsteen met him at the center of the stage — but there was no duel at the crossroads. Instead, it was a dual performance by two of the best guitar players on the planet.
Guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen enjoyed the headlining solo slot for Generation Axe North America Tour 2018. His background as a neoclassical metal instrumentalist shined as he played a scorching set. His frenetic pace of burning up the frets had the fans cheering in their seats. Yngwie was a ferocious rising force and blazed through songs that defined his career. The axe master also flicked, tossed and kicked guitar picks into the crowd the entire night. Any fan within the first three rows that left with anything less than 5 picks would surely be seen as failures. Malmsteen played with expertise and threw in plenty of showmanship to boost his performance and keep those in attendance entertained.