Steve Vai and Billy Sheehan Swap Instruments While Shredding

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Joe Satriani’s G3 tour has been a showcase for some of the greatest musicians since its inception 21 years ago. The 2005 tour was particularly noteworthy, bringing together Satch, Steve Vai and John Petrucci for a tour of the U.S. and Japan.

Vai’s portion of the show saw him reunited with bassist Billy Sheehan, his former band mate in David Lee Roth’s band. It also featured Tony MacAlpine, who handled keyboards and guitar in Vai’s touring band, the Breed, at that time.

In the video below, the three get a chance to show their stuff on “The Audience Is Listening,” the Vai-penned shredfest from his 1990 album, Passion and Warfare. The high point comes around the 4:40 spot, where Vai and Sheehan switch instruments—without actually, you know, taking them off. The entire concert is available as G3: Live in Tokyo.

As our regular readers know, Vai and Sheehan performed onstage together again this past December at a benefit show for MacAlpine, who is being treated for colon cancer. MacAlpine had surgery in August and is undergoing months of drug therapies and analytical procedures. MacAlpine wrote in December that he and his doctors are “encouraged by“ his progress. He noted that the treatments “are overwhelmingly draining because of their brutal side effects, but my eyes and heart are on the big picture, which is recovery.” In addition to MacAlpine’s health problems, his wife was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. As always, we send our best wishes to Tony and his wife for their fast and full recovery.