The Generation Axe tour is an amazing opportunity to see five outstanding guitar players on the same stage – together and alone. The tour consists of Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi and it is exactly what you would want from these five. Amazing guitar players doing exactly what they do best… playing guitar.
Lets talk a little about photographing the show. The rules were great, we got to shoot the first song up close and then the rest of the show from the wings and the back. The first song was all five guitarists together and the last song was all five together again. For the show I used the Nikon D750 and Nikon D4 camera bodies along with the 70-200mm f/2.8, the 24-70mm f/2.8, and the very handy 300mm f/4.
Now, I am not a guitar player but I LOVE photographing them. And what could be better than a wall of Marshall Amplifiers as a background. First up was Tosin Abasi, the guitar player and founder of the band Animals as Leaders. I had never seen him play before and was really impressed with his playing. Towards the end of his set, Nuno Bettencourt joined him on stage and they two tore it up. I think for me the best part was that they just seemed to really enjoy playing together.
Then was time for Nuno to do his thing. I have photographed Nuno before, but it was as the guitar player for Rihanna and not solo or with Extreme. I have always loved his playing and it was a treat to see and hear him perform. Towards the end of his set, Zakk Wylde walked out to join him on stage.
I have wanted to photograph Zakk Wylde for years but have never had the opportunity until this show. Seeing the images of Zakk Wylde taken by my buddy Dustin Jack put Zakk on my photography bucket list. And I was so happy to get this opportunity to capture him in action.
Next up was Yngwie Malmsteen, and for this set had the smoke machine set on high… very high. At one point you couldn’t actually see Malmsteen through the smoke.
Then it was time for Steve Vai to join Yngwie Malmsteen and the two really wowed the crowd. They also looked like they were having a great time and while I did photograph the interplay between the two, I really didn’t think any of the images were that great. Then it was time for Steve to really show what he does and why he is considered one of the best guitar players in the world.
Then Nuno, Zakk and Tosin joined Steve on stage…..
And finally it was time for all five to close the show..
What a great way to spend an evening….