NEPA Scene Staff

5 guitar gods in Generation Axe shred at Sands Bethlehem Event Center on Nov. 27

5 guitar gods in Generation Axe shred at Sands Bethlehem Event Center on Nov. 27
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From a press release:

After a successful Asian tour last year, Generation Axe is coming back to America. Uniting five of the world’s greatest living guitarists, the supergroup – created by Steve Vai and featuring Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abisi – will perform at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m.

Tickets, which are $45, $55, and $69, plus applicable fees, go on sale this Friday, July 13 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at, the Event Center box office (77 Sands Blvd., Bethlehem), and all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 800-745-3000. A pre-sale for members of the venue’s Music Insiders Club will take place on Thursday, July 12 from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

The term “supergroup” gets thrown around on a regular basis these days. However, Generation Axe undisputedly brings together some of the greatest guitarists of all time. Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abisi once again will join together to tour North America and stage 32 appearances across the country. Beginning on Nov. 7 at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California, the run will return to markets where the inaugural tour was celebrated and hit several new cities for the first time.

Steve Vai offers, “The Generation Axe show is a unique performance of five fiercely talented guitar players coming together to create a six-string extravaganza that is sure to amaze and delight.”

Each tour stop will include a variety of collaborations by the five players, including everyone performing together as one cohesive band with a rhythm section including Pete Griffin (Dweezil Zappa, Stanley Clarke, Edgar Winter) on bass, Nick Marinovich (Yngwie Malmsteen) on keys, and JP Bouvet on drums. Vai, Wylde, Malmsteen, Bettencourt, and Abasi will perform songs from their various catalogs and join forces on some well-known songs (as well as probably a few unexpected,
unearthed gems).

“The Generation Axe experience goes way beyond simply gathering five guitar greats on one stage to jam. The idea 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,” Vai shares.

“Guitar jams like this can get really messy when there is no organization, and my idea was to create parts for everybody to play in harmony and off each other so it’s not a mess of noise. This worked out remarkably well. There are places where everyone is playing together in wild harmony.”

Making this rare tour experience even more special, Generation Axe VIP packages will be offered,
giving fans access to these guitar masters and exclusive one-of-a-kind memorabilia. A front row
package (including a meet and greet), a meet & greet package, and a VIP tour package will be
available on

Many artists fit easily into a single category, while Steve Vai remains unclassifiable. He is a virtuoso guitarist, visionary composer, and consummate audio producer who sculpts musical sound with infinite creativity and technical mastery. He is one of the most in-demand, versatile, eloquent, and soulful guitarists in the business. The Grammy Award winner has sold over 15 million albums and toured the world as a solo artist, a member of G3, and with Frank Zappa, Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth, and Whitesnake.

Vai launched his successful solo career with the release of “Flex-Able” in 1984 and has written, produced, and engineered all of his solo albums. He has appeared as a guest artist on more than 40 albums and created music for blockbuster films, bestselling video games, national sports franchises, and corporate brand initiatives. Vai has earned honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music and the Musicians Institute.

Grammy-winner Zakk Wylde’s legendary career includes a lengthy tenure with Ozzy Osbourne in which Wylde co-wrote and recorded several albums, including the multi-platinum “No More Tears,” Osbourne’s largest selling solo album featuring the classic hit single “Mama, I’m Coming Home” and the bulk of the double-platinum 2002 set “Ozzmosis.” With Osbourne, Wylde has played on countless world tours and television appearances, with his signature bullseye Les Paul in tow.

Wylde has his mitts imprinted on Hollywood’s Rock Walk of Fame, guest-starred alongside Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston in the movie “Rockstar,” and even momentarily joined Axl, Slash, and Duff in Guns N’ Roses. But nothing offers the pure expression of Zakk Wylde’s animalistic “id” like Black Label Society, the stomping, heavy, bluesy, recklessly unhinged hard rock/metal quartet who are as quick to rip up a solo as to dip into a piano-fueled anthemic ballad.

When Yngwie J. Malmsteen hit the scene in the early ’80s, he turned the entire guitar world upside down. Never before was guitar playing like his ever heard. Drawing inspiration from his love for Baroque and Romantic classical music, Malmsteen employs classical violin techniques such as four and five octave arpeggios, pedal notes, and harmonic minor, diminished and Phrygian scales, flawlessly delivered at mind-boggling levels of speed and clarity. In doing so, he has singlehandedly created a brand new style of guitar playing and composing that is still derived from today. In addition to having written and produced 35+ neoclassical rock albums, Malmsteen composed and orchestrated the “Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra,” which he recorded with the prestigious Czech Philharmonic in Prague, conducted by Yoel Levy of Atlanta Symphony fame. Malmsteen subsequently performed the piece live with the New Japan Philharmonic and the Taipei Symphony, among others.

Malmsteen has received numerous Grammy nominations, hundreds of magazine covers, dozens of reader’s poll and Composer of the Year Awards, a plaque on the Rock Walk of Fame, signature model guitars, amps, pickups, strings, picks, pedals, microphones, and more. Time Magazine placed him as one of the Top 10 guitarists of all time. Some 35 years and 25 million+ album sales later, Yngwie shows no signs of slowing down.

Guitar virtuoso, singer/songwriter, and record producer Nuno Bettencourt rose to international prominence as a guitar player with the Grammy-nominated, Boston-area band Extreme, one of the most successful rock acts of the early to mid-1990s, selling over 10 million records worldwide. Musically, Extreme is dominated by Bettencourt’s blistering guitar riffs, often with funky, syncopated timing, and incendiary, high-speed rock/metal solos. Bettencourt penned the acoustic ballad “More Than Words” that went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts and “Hole Hearted” that reached No. 4. He has released multiple solo albums as well as records with bands he founded, including Mourning Widows Population 1, Dramagods, and Satellite Party.

Bettencourt has written, produced and performed with many legendary artists, including Rihanna, Steven Tyler, Paul McCartney, and Janet Jackson, among others.

Oluwatosin Ayoyinka Olumide Abasi, better known as Tosin Abasi, is a Nigerian American guitarist known as the guitar player and founder of the instrumental progressive metal band Animals as Leaders. Abasi’s compositions of intricate music have garnered critical acclaim in a few short years. Abasi is part of the breed of new contemporary players who are raising the bar on the concept of electric guitar virtuosity. His approach to the guitar stems from a passion for advanced techniques and harmony. Using seven, eight, and nine-string guitars have allowed Abasi to create a highly unique and individual sound.

See NEPA Scene’s photos of Zakk Wylde performing with Black Label Society in Philadelphia earlier this year here.