Live Footage We Love: Vai And Friend Go Head To Head For Explosive “Crossroads” Duel
danielrohr.ch via Daniel Rohr
Vai’s Crossroads Duel Hits The Stage
Legendary axe slinger Steve Vai boasts an impressive resume that includes playing guitar for the late Frank Zappa and transcribing his music, recording and touring with David Lee Roth and Whitesnake, and later, the acting. In 1986, Vai was immortalized on film when he stepped into the role of Jack Butler for the 1986 film Crossroads; in it Butler, who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical prowess, challenges youngster Eugene Martone (played by The Karate Kid’s Ralph Macchio) to an explosive guitar duel to the bitter end.
As far as movie scenes go, Vai’s goes down in history as one of the most iconic, and for good reason: it absolutely rocks and we have no doubt that late blues legend Robert Johnson was stomping his feet and clapping along, wherever he is.
Crossroads was inspired by the legend of blues musician Robert Johnson; presumably, he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical prowess, and died under “mysterious” circumstances at 27.
As an added treat for his fans, Steve recreated the explosive Crossroads duel onstage a decade later during his 1997 Fire Garden Tour with the help of guitarist Mike Keneally – and it’s in this video that we’re able to see what he’s capable of when the film cameras are off and even better, how the Crossroads duel comes together in a live setting. Like Vai, Keneally’s chops were tested when he, too played with Frank Zappa, making what Guitar World calls their “good old fashioned head cutting session” everything we’ve ever dreamed of!