Electric guitar hero Steve Vai recently wrapped up his long-running Inviolate US tour.
His Seattle performance – at the Moore Theatre – happened to take place on November 27, on what would have been Jimi Hendrix's 80th birthday. Recognizing the occasion (Seattle is Hendrix's hometown, to boot), Vai decided to incorporate a cover of "Midnight" – originally released on the 1972 Hendrix compilation, War Heroes – into his set.
To add even more Hendrix-ian flavor to the cover, Vai invited Randy Hansen – a prominent Hendrix tribute artist – to the stage.
You can watch fan-filmed footage of their performance below.
Hansen, naturally, took to the stage armed with an upside-down Stratocaster, while Vai used his signature Ibanez JEM7VP. Hansen got in all the moves you'd expect – playing with his teeth included – while also letting Vai get some time in the spotlight himself. The two then engaged in some thrilling call-and-response work, with Vai even getting some teeth shredding in himself.
“You know Jimi Hendrix, right? The boy from Seattle,” Vai said to the crowd prior to the performance. “Can you imagine that? 80 years old. Everything that he brought to us, all of his brilliance, all of his gifts, and how many times have we tried to honor that, learning [his] riffs, playing his songs.
“It’s been glorious for us guitar players to have Jimi Hendrix. But one guy in particular really has been doing a fantastic job for so many years, treating us to this version of Jimi Hendrix, playing the songs and touring, and he is here tonight because he is from [Seattle, too].”
Hendrix's recent 80th birthday was celebrated most prominently with the release of Los Angeles Forum: April 26, 1969, a new live album featuring the original Hendrix Experience rhythm section of Noel Redding on bass guitar and Mitch Mitchell on drums, a cover of Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love," and a pre-Woodstock version of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Available now on all digital and physical formats, the album can be purchased via Hendrix's website.
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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.