Of all the YouTube rabbit holes to fall down, 'electric guitar heroes sounding just like themselves on gear they'd never normally go near' is an incredibly fun one.
There's John Mayer nailing "Gravity" on an an Epiphone Les Paul, Yngwie Malmsteen going warp speed on a 1959 Gibson Les Paul (opens in new tab), and, of course, the classic video of Joe Satriani playing "Surfing with the Alien" on a Strat copy in a fan's home (opens in new tab).
In case you're unfamiliar with it, you can add this video – showing an initially reluctant Steve Vai playing "The Audience is Listening" on a fan's Parker Fly – to that list.
Filmed at the Vai Academy 2015 in Vail, Colorado, the video came about when a fan, Francisco Tomás, handed Vai his Parker Fly while the latter was in between songs.
"When Steve was about to switch for [his Ibanez] EVO, I offered him to give my new guitar a try," Tomás writes (opens in new tab) in the caption of the video, which he posted to YouTube in 2017. "I know you were fighting to play it and struggling with the tuning, Steve!"
Though Vai initially declines to play it, some friendly peer pressure from the audience eventually persuades him to take the guitar for a spin for a spirited rendition of "The Audience is Listening," a cut from his classic 1990 album, Passion and Warfare.
He struggles initially with the guitar's unfamiliar control set, jokingly telling the audience before the song "you'll get to see me fumble, but what the fuck."
Maybe next we can convince Vai to publicly play "The Audience is Listening" on his insane new triple-neck Ibanez Hydra guitar (opens in new tab)...
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.
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