There are only a few people in the world that can impress me within the first few things that come out of their mouth. Tonight at the House of Blues in Chicago, Beverly McClellan was one of them. Her voice was absolutely stunning from the first note through the end of her thirty-minute set. When Beverly sings, you feel like you are listening to blues music for the first time again — and her ability to make the crowd comfortable and ready to digest her art is impeccable. Not to mention the fact that she brought out the electric harp player that would later return to the stage with Steve Vai, which added an awesome layer to her set.

Coming a long way from being on NBC’s the Voice, Beverly has spawned her music career into a full-time passion of love to spread the blues around the world, and she doesn’t let it go to her head at all. She expressed her gratitude about being on tour with such killer acts as Steve Vai and BB King during her set. Beverly is truly a world-class musician and I look forward to seeing her again!

As for Vai…

Steve Vai is by far one of my favorite virtuoso electric guitar players alive. His career has been one of just incredible stride, work ethic and the perfect storm of chance. From Zappa to David Lee Roth to Whitesnake to solo records, listening to Vai’s recognizable, yet strange melodic phrasing puts me into a trance and in awe.

When he came out, he played some new material that I hadn’t heard before from his upcoming record, The Story of Light. Some great tunes. All very much in his unique style of composition and not without the flair that we’ve come to love from this man.

After a couple of the new tunes, he played some material that we’ve heard before including “Tender Surrender” and then into the Vai fan favorite Dave Wiener’s guitar solo. When Steve started the song “Weeping China Doll” on a 7 string, I knew it was going to be awesome and it did not let me down. It only made me super excited to hear his new record. It was low, ballsy, and super groovy with absolutely shredding guitar leads on top.

The show had the usual LED lighting that Vai does and a giant, what looked to be hand painted, backdrop of his face and some floral designs. What I thought was awesome was that he had Deborah Henson-Conant bouncing between electric harp and keyboards throughout the show. The rhythm section consisted of Jeremy Colson on drums hitting hard and Philip Bynoe killing the 6 string bass guitar.

Overall, the night was fantastic and I hope to see Steve again soon when he comes through town. It’s always a great time and performance is totally unmatched in many touring acts.

http://www.vai.com/

1. Intro
2. Racing The World
3. Velorum
4. Building The Church
5. Tender Surrender
6. Gravity Storm
7. Dave Solo
8. Weeping China Doll
9. John The Revelator
10. The Moon and I
11. The Animal
12. Whispering A Prayer
13. Audience Is Listening
14. Deborah Solo
15. Rescue Me
16. Sisters
17. Treasure Island (With The Beast)
18. Salamanders
19. Pusa Road
20. Drum Solo
21. The Ultra Zone
22. Frank
23. Build Me A Song
24. For The Love Of God
Encore
25. Taurus Bulba

Review by: Christopher Lee

Photography by: Brian Morgan