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Generation Axe —— 一個終極結他音樂表演之夜，集結5個活躍於不同年代、來自不同流派、有著不同特色的世界級的結他手，把高超技術在現場呈現出來。這個超級組合是由 Steve Vai 所構思而成，邀請了瑞典頂尖結他手 Yngwie Malmsteen、正在迅速冒起的 Djent 代表 Animals As Leaders 主將 Tosin Abasi、Extreme 瘋狂人物 Nuno Bettencourt 及金屬頭們最喜愛的 Black Label Society 領袖 Zakk Wylde，在這晚帶來香港少有以純粹技術展示的音樂活動。
Generation Axe – a night of ultimate musicianship showcase, as presented by 5 world-class axers from different generations and genres. The instrumental supergroup, led by brainchild Steve Vai, alongside Black Label Society’s Zakk Wylde, Swedish top guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt from Extreme and Animals As Leaders’ insane djent master Tosin Abasi, gather in Hong Kong for one night only to celebrate the finest techniques and stunning musicianship.
Photo Gallery 現場相集 – Generation Axe – Hong Kong Stop
演出在7時正式開始，樂團選擇了 Boston 經典Foreplay作開幕曲，由5個不同風格的結他合奏演繹出來，使這首充滿80年代氣氛的歌曲聽起來再次充滿生機 — Tosin 的現代新派理論風格、加上 Nuno 的funky特色、Zakk 狠狠的金屬獨奏、來自 Yngwie 的古典音樂元素、以及 Steve 的華麗冒險簽名式技法。之後舞台交到 Tosin 手上作個人表演。其實他在三月才剛剛與其樂團 Animals As Leaders 來到香港舉行純器樂専場，當晚着實令人讚嘆不絕。而今次他選了幾首AAL的知名樂曲，亮點必要數與 Nuno 的Physical Education二重奏，歌曲推出時已廣受好評，原本複雜的djent多拍編曲加上即興的funk rock元素展現出歌曲的另一個角度。
Opening with Boston’s Foreplay, the classic guitar riff is brought to life by the 5 shredders of different styles. The modern, new-school style from Abasi, funky layering from Bettencourt, at-your-face shredding from Wylde, classic delicate sweeping from Malmsteen and the flashy, sedative lines from Vai. Then the stage is passed to Abasi for his solo performance. The djent master had just come to Hong Kong in March with his team, Animals As Leaders, which brought us a sensational instrumental night. He has chosen a few well-known tunes from AAL to perform. The highlight must be the duo play with Bettencourt on the critically-acclaimed song “Physical Education.” The complex djent tune is transformed into a funky jam.
Duo過後就是Nuno的個人演出時間！作為前多元化搖滾樂團 Extreme 前結他手，Nuno 近年加入 Rihanna 的團隊，二十多年來也不斷挑戰自己。他這夜的選擇有 Extreme 年代的代表作Get Funk Out和令人感動的緩緩之作Midnight Express，每首歌曲都展現出不同技能 —— 從為人熟悉的funky元素，到收放自如的複雜流行另類搖滾獨奏等。最後選擇與 Zakk Wylde 一起彈奏 Citizen Cope 的Sideways，帶來與原曲截然不同的感覺，以民謠為基礎的旋律被放大成慢版搖滾抒情曲 —— These feeling won’t go away // they’ve been knocking me sideways —— 充滿沉重的氣氛。
It’s now Nuno’s time! The then-Extreme-now-Rihanna guitarist chooses to introduce himself his Extreme hits “Get The Funk Out” and the soothing remedy “Midnight Express.” Each shows different side of his skills – from the signature funky elements to the mellow, complex acoustic solo. A couple more songs to go and suddenly Zakk Wylde jumps onto the stage and present a “Sideways” duo together (originally by Citizen Cope.) The originally country-based melody is amplified to become a slow, rock ballad — “These feeling won’t go away // they’ve been knocking me sideways” — filled with heavy emotions.
就如上一節般，舞台順𣈱過渡至 Zakk Wylde 作主場，並以 Black Sabbath 無人不曉的N.I.B.開幕。重型旋律，加上子彈般的獨奏迅即點燃了金屬頭的火炙，更有不少樂迷一同合唱。Father Zakk 更決定與粉絲進行更近距離接觸，兩次跳進觀眾群內，在您眼前零距離展現無可挑剔的技巧！當然少不了其簽名式動作，把結他架在強大肩膀後瘋狂彈奏，引起身旁樂迷不斷headbang，當然也引來不少手機，盡可能捕獲這個難忘時刻。回到舞台上，Zakk 再多來幾首 —— headbang、把結他放在肌肉的上把玩、瘋狂用牙齒彈奏，閉著眼睛仍不會錯過一個音符。
Just like the previous session, the stage is now Zakk Wylde’s. Opening with “N.I.B.”, the famous Black Sabbath song. The chunky, bullet-like solo immediately ignite the heavy metal firm inside the fans’ hearts. There’s no metalhead on the floor not like this anthem. Father Zakk decides to have a closer interaction with the fans by jumping into the crowd TWICE and show you the impeccable skills right in front of your eyes! (literally) The front picking, then switch to on-the-shoulder guitar solo, makes everyone around to headbang and of course, to raise their smartphone to capture as much as possible so to instagram it. Back to the stage, Wylde keeps shredding for a couple more rock songs – headbanging, playing on his muscular shoulder, crazy teeth and with eyes closed.
瑞典結他大師 Yngwie Malmsteen 與 Zakk 作另一個雙人合奏後，就是屬於 Yngwie 的個人時刻。他被TIME評為「十大結他手」之一，這次現場證明他絕對過自然無不及！與之前的表演者相比，Yngwie 的setlist相對較長。其純個人獨奏，如 Far Beyond The Sun 等很容易便偷走你的靈魂，時間像停頓了似的。音符快得讓人窒息，編曲非常複雜，雖然是古典式獨奏但聽起來充滿層次。這次演出也涵蓋了他備受讚譽跨界作品，搖滾編曲加上古典元素融為一體。他還特意在歌曲間添加童話般的過場音樂，使搖滾編曲過渡到古典感樂章時更加流暢。
The stage is then belonged to Yngwie Malmsteen after a duo with Zakk – the Swedish guitar god was named as the “10 Greatest Guitar Player” by TIME and this live session proves he deserves even more than this! Malmsteen plays a relatively long set compared to the previous performer. His classic solos, including “Far Beyond The Sun” easily stole your breaths away. It’s chokingly fast, complex and full of layering. The classical arrangement is something very interesting to hear especially in live. And of course, his set also covers some of his best works on acoustic which also infused with classical composition. He also adds fairy-tale-like intro and outro between song which makes the transition from heavy rock to light-hearted acoustic more smooth.
最後的30分鐘由傳奇人物 Steve Vai 所佔據 —— 他在 Yngwie 最後一曲Black Star時慢慢走上舞台，聽起來像是兩位大師角力比拼，但在5分鐘的曲調中每人仍有屬於自己的獨奏，一抑一掦。Steve 永遠是個超強的storyteller，可以用旋律、表情動作來敘述故事。無論歌曲多長都可以通過弦線和音符來保持與觀眾的聯繫。Tender Surrender 毫無疑問是獲得大家最多注意的一首歌曲，充分展現他那種獨特、帶點Glam Rock的結他誘惑。
The last 30 minutes of the night is owned by the legendary Steve Vai – he slowly steps to the stage as he joins Malmsteen on “Black Star.” The jam sounds like a competition between 2 masters but each still have their own time to shine in the 5-minute song. Vai is always an amazing storyteller who can narrate a story with melody and his facial expression. Not matter how long the song is, he can always stay connected with his audience through strings and notes. “Tender Surrender” is no doubt one of the song that catches the most attention in his set. The seductive glamorous is expressed in every single notes subtly.
樂團最後選擇以 Deep Purple 之 Highway Star 完成這個器樂之夜，時而共同合奏一個旋律，但大多數只有兩至三人同時彈奏。如果仔細聆聽，你仍可分辨一層次來自哪個結他。經過3小時站立欣賞後，您定會感到身體疲憊，雙腿酸軟，然而必會感到精神上的音樂啟蒙。如果您喜愛各種不同流派的搖滾音樂和深入研究結他技藝的話，Generation Axe 必定是不容錯過的活動。
The 5 axers chose to say goodbye with Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” – occasionally they layer 5 tracks together, but mostly only 2 to 3 of them will jam at the moment. You can still tell which note comes from whose guitar if you listen carefully. After 3 hours of instrumental appreciation, you will definitely feel the exhaustion of your body, however, your desire of looking for musical enlightenment will be fulfilled. If you’re into guitar or rock music of wide variety, Generation Axe is an event not to be missed.