In the spring of 2016, guitar heroes Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY), Nuno Bettencourt (EXTREME) and Tosin Abasi(ANIMALS AS LEADERS) teamed up for a North American tour called “Generation Axe”, in which the five musicians shared a backing band and performed together in addition to playing individual sets.
A year after their successful inaugural tour, the five guitarists reconvened for an 11-city tour of Asia that included a stop in Beijing, China. Select performances from that April 2017 concert appear on the new live recording, “Generation Axe – The Guitars That Destroyed The World: Live In China”. The album is currently available for pre-order on CD and vinyl via Pledge Music.
The track listing is as follows:
01. Generation Axe – Foreplay (BOSTON cover)
02. Tosin Abasi – Tempting Time (ANIMALS AS LEADERS cover)
03. Tosin Abasi/Nuno Bettencourt – Physical Education (ANIMALS AS LEADERS cover)
04. Nuno Bettencourt – A Side Of Mash (medley of EXTREME solos)
05. Nuno Bettencourt/Zakk Wylde – Sideways (CITIZEN COPE cover)
06. Zakk Wylde – Whipping Post (THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND cover)
07. Steve Vai – Bad Horsie
08. Yngwie Malmsteen – [to be announced]
09. Yngwie Malmsteen/Steve Vai – Black Star
10. Vai/Wylde/Bettencourt/Abasi – Frankenstein (Edgar Winter cover)
11. Generation Axe – Highway Star (DEEP PURPLE cover)The album’s cover artwork can be seen below.
According to a press release, the “Generation Axe” experience goes way beyond simply gathering five guitar greats on one stage. Much of the time when multiple rock guitarists join in jamming, the results are conventional and often even a mess. But the arrangements of some of the classic tracks performed by these five players makes for a magnificent cacophony of organized chaos unlike anything ever presented before.
Vai says the idea behind “Generation Axe” was “to create a seamless show with one backing band and five completely accomplished and astonishing guitarists that take to the stage in various configurations, performing some of their solo music and merging together as cohesive co-creators of lushly orchestrated guitar extravaganzas.”
In a video posted on the album’s Pledge Music pre-order page, Vai describes “Generation Axe” as “pure controlled chaos.” “My favorite thing about ‘Generation Axe’ is the tour bus,” he says. “Between the hours of 1 a.m. and 7 a.m., when we’re all hanging out in the lounge just rapping. I wake up in the morning [and] my jaw hurts from laughing so much. These guys, they’re out of their minds.”
“Generation Axe” is currently in the midst of its second North American tour, which wraps up in Los Angeles on December 18.