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Watch Steve Vai Shred for Eight Minutes at Donington

Steve Vai had already established his credentials as a guitar wizard by the time he joined Whitesnake in 1989. 

After beginning his career at the age of 18 as a transcriptionist for Frank Zappa, Vai had joined Zappa’s band before going on to play in Alcatrazz and, subsequently, David Lee Roth’s band. During that time, he had also launched his own successful solo career.

Vai’s stint in Whitesnake was brief, lasting only about two years, and produced just one album with the group, 1989’s Slip of the Tongue

In 1990, the band took the album on tour, during which they performed at the Monsters of Rock Festival at Castle Donington, on August 18, 1990.

The video above is from that show and features – starting at around the 1:06:30 mark – Vai performing an eight-minute solo that includes a medley of “For the Love of God” and “The Audience Is Listening,” from his second solo album, Passion and Warfare, which was released that same year. 

Vai is introduced by singer David Coverdale, who calls him “His Royal Darkness…the Seven-String Sorcerer.” Enjoy this moment of magic.

Christopher Scapelliti
Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player (opens in new tab) magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World (opens in new tab), a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.