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bryan beller (steve vai live)

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by sonic assassin, May 5, 2010.

  1. just got the newest vai DVD (he and guthrie govan are the only virtuosos i can tolerate anymore), and while i was disappointed at the lack of sheehan, i was pleasantly surprised to find that beller is an absolute MONSTER.

    good tone, incredible chops, and IMO, a better fit for vai's band. the breed was good with sheehan, but he didnt seem to mesh as well. i guess he wasnt pocket enough for this sort of gig. beller is pocket 90% of the time, but not boring like everyone satriani hires.

    colson and weiner are spectacular as usual. mcalpine is replaced by 2 violinists/keyboardists.

    dvd is called where the wild things are. its pretty solid over all. some goofy production that im sure via thought was just hysterical. kinda hokey. the spots where hes playing guitar are great.
  2. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    Saw this concert on TV and I agree with 100% about Beller; he is a world class musician.
  3. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    GREAT bass player and a super nice guy. I went to Berklee with him and he was always very cool.
  4. bobwhite


    Mar 11, 2010

    On the old Satch I have (Blue Dream), the bass sounds sampled, not played. Borrrrr-ing.
  5. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    Bellers sound on this dvd is superb. I love Sheehan but i think Vais music sounds more mature and less like a circus act with Beller on bass. Two violins in addition to Vai himself in the high pitch department is maybe overkill imo.
  6. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    absolutely agree .
    i also saw this concert on TV ...
  7. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Yeah Brian's a good fit for Steve's lineup.

    He also rules in Dethklok's live outings. :bassist::bassist:
  8. im talking about live. no idea what he does on album.. that stuff is like pulling teeth unless its live.

    bissionette, while solid.. kinda boring. likely because satch told him not to steal his thunder. hamm is the same way for the couple years he was on the tour.

    vai isnt afraid to put incredible musicians onstage with him. he lets them take solos even. dave weiner played one of his solo songs. he lets other people talk. he duels with mcalpine.
  9. agreed. i started to feel like sheehan was there because hes of his reputation.

    the violins were interesting. for those who havent seen it, one was a regular violin with a pickup. the other was a distorted 5 string electric violin. they werent overbearing in the mix. they did exactly what mcalpine would have been doing. maybe 2 was a little much haha.
  10. I saw his concert on TV as well. Man, what a monster. That guy can play. Great concert too. :bassist:
  11. Actually, Steve had already auditioned the band and had already hired Alex DePue in the violin spot, but then received Ann Marie Calhoun's audition DVD and was so impressed that he flew her in for a live tryout. The vibe between her much more "Classical" approach vs Alex's "Shredder Fiddler" went off so well that he changed his mind right there and chose to have two violinists in the band... which was a major effort in creating new charts, reharmonizing sections and swapping lead and backing parts, but worth it for him as a bandleader and IMO in the band, and it gave much more room for all the above with 2 players of totally different backgrounds. I'd see Steve and his bands several times before, and this was by far my favorite backing band he's had in over a decade (at least when Mike Keneally had the 2nd guitar/keyboard spot - talk about a sideman that's just as good, if not better, than the leader! :D )

    The production of the DVD is indeed fabulous and light-years better than his previous "Live At The Astoria", which was clearly a low-budget shoot and thus not very fair to compare too much. I do think that the very nature of the different bands (Violins vs extra Guitarists plus Billy playing his "Lead Bass" role) gives it a much "cleaner" mix as you don't have so many other instruments fighting for the same sonic space in the mix. That's also one reason I much prefer Beller's playing in the band compared to Sheehan's - Bryan's a "Bassist" while Billy's a "Bass Guitarist" in both note choices and his overly-compressed & distorted tone, if you pick up what I'm putting down. ;) I'll simply repost a portion of what I wrote in a review of the DVD:

    One rumor I cannot confirm but does *feel right* to me is that Billy had a few shows where he was missing complicated sections due to his on-stage persona and showmanship of swinging & flipping his bass. Apparently a few shows of this Steve enough (in a professional way) and told him he could be replaced if the music didn't come first. Again, Beller's certainly rockin' out during the show but it's clear he's concentrating on his bass parts first, "showmanship" second. Plus he's also a monster fretless player, which Billy simply isn't and had to pull the "fretted bass plus chorus" for some of Vai's signature songs that call for fretless bass. Even if Steve goes back to the multi-guitar band I hope he keeps Beller in the lineup, for all the reasons above

    As for Bryan right now, he's finishing up a small tour with his "musical soulmate" Mike Keneally where the first set is him as the bandleader playing material off of his two solo releases ("View" & "Thanks In Advance") and then a set of Mike Keneally Band material... both using the same backing band. Such a fantastic name for a tour - The Mike Keneally Band with special guest The Bryan Beller Band: "THEY'RE BOTH THE SAME BAND" NORTHEAST TOUR 2010. If you're in NYC tonight (Saturday) or Baltimore on Sunday, I highly recommend attending. Two sets of abso-frikkin'-loutely amazing music for a quite reasonable price! :D
  12. Ian, that Billy rumour doesn't sound right at all. But anything's possible, I guess.

    I will agree that Mr. Beller seemed to fit the "bass player" job better. Tone-wise especially.

    The funny thing is that when I saw Mike Keneally and BB in a Taylor clinic last year, I told BB that I thought he fit the Vai band better than Sheehan.

    Mike Keneally interrupted, saying - and I quote - "Can I go ahead and disagree with you there?" I meant to follow up and ask him what he meant in some depth, but there were a lot of us fans asking questions and I was trying not to hog his time.

    I wonder if there's a vibe with Billy on stage that MK felt was really worthwhile or something. For MK to say that with Bryan standing a few feet away... I was really taken aback.

    And I'm a big Billy Sheehan fan too. Vai opening with "Shyboy" on the 2001 G3 tour was beyond awesome. But as a spectator in the front row or close to it, I couldn't hardly hear Billy in the mix on two G3 shows or the Real Illusions tour. I think Billy works better in a 3 piece like Niacin or a band like Mr. Big. There's more space to fill and Billy does that wonderfully. When you have a double-bass drummer, a 7 string player PLUS Vai there isn't enough space for Billy to fill and his sound easily gets lost.

    On the DVD and the last tour, Bryan's bass sounded AMAZING. And I thought the overall sound in the Chicago House of Blues was rather weak. But I could hear the slaps, pops and a real bass tone for the first time in a long time. It was sweet to my ears.

    (I still love the Ultra Zone band best of any Vai lineup, no contest.)
  13. wade_b


    Jul 8, 2008
    I think Vai should take his own advice: "The audience is listening"

    His audience is mostly guitarists, not bass players.

    Sheehan is the right man for the job, as he has as much respect in the guitar community as Vai does.

    That's taking nothing away from Beller, but c'mon.

    No doubt Kenneally knows this too, hence his comment.

    Billy does need to work on his tone: too midrangey and not enough bottom end.
  14. jschwalls


    Sep 4, 2007
    Savannah GA
    not enough low end....
    not starting an argument but everytime Ive seen him live his low end is crushing... the dvd's never seem to duplicate what it is like live...

    same with Dug Pinnick... damn
  15. It also really depends where in the audience you are.

    I used to sit around all day to get front row in general audience shows. That's one of the worst places in the joint to be to hear bass well.

    Speaking of Pinnick, I was at a Kings X show right in front of Doug and couldn't hardly hear him. But if you moved back, the PA put his sound out just fine.

    I think the same happens with Billy. Billy's getting the monitors, not us in the front row. So with Vai and BX3, it sounds like there's no low end.
  16. MadModBassist


    Jul 16, 2009
    Ah, so this is his name. Heard this guy when SteveVaiHimself on YouTube posted the video of Now We Run...killer KILLER bass/guitar/drum jam during most of the song that I absolutely loved by the second time I had heard it (and always pay attention to). He's got great feel, highly respect him, myself being a rather funky bassist like him yet having alternative rock influences and such.

    Not going to get into the Billy/Bryan debate, but I think I liked Sheehan more with Vai than this guy...however, that might change when I get that DVD....
  17. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford

    Feb 15, 2008
    Saw this tonight, Bryan is killin!
  18. bottomzone


    Oct 21, 2005
    I saw that on TV, too. Bryan kills!!!

    A Groove is a Terrible Thing to Waste! :cool:
  19. VS


    Jun 6, 2002
    Mountain City, Tennessee
    Discounted Gear: Peavey
    Great stuff. I'm pleased to see the lineup of Vai's new stuff. -Luke
  20. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    I recently saw "Live at Astoria" and own "Where The Wild Things" are. To my ears, Live at Astoria is unlistenable/unwatchable. With Billy there was just no low end support to the music. Not just the sound, but the music.

    With Bryan, it sounded like real music.

    When I saw Steve Vai live (a long time ago) I thought Billy was cool. Steve was going for the over-the-top circus act vibe and Billy's personality and showmanship worked great for that. So maybe that is were Mike Keneally is coming from, because in the end, the touring band is about live performance, not DVD recordings.

    That said, I think Bryan's performance & sound on the DVD are just fantastic, I cannot imagine it being less than stellar in a live stetting.

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