Hmm, ok let's start from the begining. The venue was the Manchester Appolo which is a pretty cool place, old theater style building, high capacity seated venue. We had seats right at the front of the circle. We got there just as Eric Sardinas the opener took to the stage, unfortunatley this guy had the harshest tone I've ever heard. The playing was technically impressive but he had no sense of tune and the high mids in his distortion were assaulting my ears (seriously regretting my earplugs not being ready yet). His show had the odd moments, for example where he played the guitar with a beer bottle but really I'd be lying if I said I was sorry when he left the stage. Btw, his bass player sucked, totally uninspired and spent all of his time trying to make what he was playing look hard. Anyway, half an hour later Mr. Vai himself took to the stage. After a rather predictable guitarfest intro the "That Stevie Vai, what a nice little boy" intro was played and he started the show proper. Steve was loud too but his tone was far easier on the ears. I think the soundman for the night was rather poor though, the high mids were excessivley loud, driving the occasional vocals into breakup and the distorted guitar sections were lacking defenition. The drum mix was perfect but the bass mix was utterly pathetic. The bass had no defenition, you could barely hear it, it was mostly a case of feeling it, the rythm guitar canceled most of it out. The keyboard was so quiet it was inaudiable in the mix. Anyway, sound gripes aside they put on a brilliant show... After every few songs each member of the band took their turn to solo. After a while of this, they played a few acoustic songs to the delight of my ears with some truely spectacular percussion. Then, it was back into the main songs with some incredible playing from all of the instrumentalists. A few songs in it was Billy Sheehan's turn to solo and boy did he not dissapoint. He took a long, long bass solo and played it in a way that would put most guitarists to shame. It was all very fast, fingerstyle playing, Steve joined back in for the ending of the solo. Then, a few more songs passed and they did the big finale with all four of them playing alternating riffs and building up into one massive "widdling" finale. And now comes the encore, another classic Vai song and then Eric Sardinas walks back onto the stage. The ear punishment increases accordingly. Vai opens the song in a very cheesy way - "Earlier, Eric was telling me something about his guitar...." [Pause] "It wants to kill your mama!". I groaned at this point but it was a very good rendition of it, Billy Sheehan switched instruments with one of the guitarists and pulled off a guitar solo that put him to shame. Finally, they all switched back, Eric left and it was time for the last song, the classic "For the love of God". And after a slightly drawn out finale, it was done. All in all, apart from the sound issues, it was a very good show. There were all kinds of crazy performance antics including Steve playing with his tongue and teeth and the drummer using Steve himself and his guitar as a kit. It was a good evenings entertainment but I really could have used the ear plugs , still, they should be ready in not too much longer.