A superstar lineup of legendary guitarists is taking the stage at Cape Fear Community College’s Humanities and Fine Arts Center this spring.
Tickets go on sale at 2 p.m. Friday for “Generation Axe: A Night of Guitars,” featuring Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt and Tosin Abasi.
The center announced the heavy-hitting concert, set for Saturday, April 23, earlier this week.
“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,” Vai said.
The guitarists are hitting the Port City as part of a 26-city tour through North America that kicks off in early April. CFCC’s performing arts center is Generation Axe’s only North Carolina stop.
More than just a jam session between greats, the performance will include a variety of collaborations, including all five performing together as a cohesive band, with a rhythm section that include Pete Griffin (Dweezil Zappa, Stanley Clarke, Edgar Winter) on bass and Nick Marinovich (Malmsteen) on keys. Vai, Wylde, Malmsteen, Bettencourt and Abasi will perform songs from their various catalogs and join forces on some well-known songs, as well a few “unexpected, unearthed gems,” according to a release.
Grammy-winning virtuoso Vai is also an accomplished producer and composer. He 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.
Fellow Grammy alum Wylde, whose handprints grace the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame, played a lengthy stint with Ozzy Osbourne. He also co-wrote and recorded several of Osbourne’s albums, including the multi-platinum “No More Tears” and the classic hit single, “Mama, I’m Coming Home.” Wylde is also a member of the hard rock quartet Black Label Society.
They’ll be joined by the neoclassical innovator Malmsteem. Drawing inspiration from his love for Baroque and Romantic classical music, Malmsteen employs classical violin techniques in his guitar playing. In addition to having written and produced more than 35 albums, Malmsteen has composed concertos and performed with esteemed symphonys across the globe.
The similarly prolific Bettencourt – best known as a member of the Grammy-nominated band, Extreme – has released multiple solo albums, as well as with bands he founded, including Mourning Widows Population 1, Dramagods and Satellite Party. He has also written, produced and performed with the likes of Rihanna, Steven Tyler, Paul McCartney and Janet Jackson.
And Nigerian-American guitarist Abasi, founder of the instrumental progressive metal band, Animals as Leaders, rounds out the all-star mix. In just a few years, Abasi has risen to the top of his game as part of a select breed of contemporary players focused on advanced techniques and harmony.
Tickets to the show range from $42 to $99 (for pit seating) and can be purchased online, by calling the ticket office, (910) 362-7999 or in person at the CFCC Humanities and Fine Arts Center, 703 N. Third St. Opera boxes, which seat four to six people, with butler service are available for $175 per person and must be purchased in person or by phone.
Generation Axe is offering various VIP and meet-and-greet packages to give fans access to the guitar masters and exclusive one-of-a-kind memorabilia. Visit the tour website for pricing.