If you’re a fan of crazy guitar shredders (which of course you are) then you gotta check the above video of EXTREME guitarist Nuno Bettencourt being joined by his “Generation Axe” tourmates — Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen and Tosin Abasi — along with QUEEN’s Brian May for a six-guitar jam out of QUEEN’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” as part of AXS TV’s “At Home And Social With Nuno Bettencourt & Friends” special.
“At Home And Social With Nuno Bettencourt & Friends” aired this past Monday (August 3) and benefited the Music Forward Foundation’s Crew Nation initiative, raising funds and awareness for the touring and venue crews who are vital to the live music experience and have been negatively impacted by the shutdowns resulting from COVID-19. So that’s definitely a cool thing.
Looking back at the history of “Generation Axe”, the tour got it’s start in the spring of 2016 when Vai, Malmsteen, Wylde, Bettencourt and Abasi teamed up for a North American tour. The shows would feature the five musicians sharing a backing band as well as 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 appeared on a live recording, “Generation Axe – The Guitars That Destroyed The World: Live In China”, which was released in June 2019 via earMUSIC.
Vai said 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.”
Vai described “Generation Axe” as “pure controlled chaos.” “My favorite thing about ‘Generation Axe’ is the tour bus,” he said. “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.”