Steve Vai thinks fans filming gigs is “great” – “There’s even a charm in the way that they don’t sound good”

Despite certain acts banning phones at their shows, the legendary guitarist sees no issue in fans whipping their cameras out at a gig.

Steve Vai performing live

Credit: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

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In the modern age of technology, the desperation to get a good clip of your favourite artist has become rife. Whether it be for TikTok, or just to reminisce, a crisp recording is essential when attending a gig nowadays. With a ridiculously advanced camera sitting in everyone’s pocket, even your nan has the gear to become a budding gig photographer.

Certain artists have scorned the rise in phones at gigs, with bands like Tool and Placebo banning them entirely on recent tours. However, legendary guitarist Steve Vai doesn’t mind one bit.

In a recent interview with Rick Beato, Steve Vai reflected on fans recording at his gigs. “A lot of people, those little concert clips, they’re very meaningful,” he says.

Of course, he’s had to adjust – there was of course a time when recording a gig was a big no-no. “It was conditioned into me that you just don’t do that,” Vai explains. “They don’t allow it, and with very strict policies. We use to send people out during the shows to find anybody with one of those big giant VHS [cameras].”

“But after a while… It really depends on how you choose to look at it,” he continues. “So the way I choose to look at it is — it’s great. Because now, it may not sound great when people are at the concerts, and then they post it… It would be nice if they sounded good, but there’s even a charm in the way that they don’t sound good, sometimes.”

While artists can choose to ban phones, or call out people watching your show through a screen a-la Maynard James Keenan, technology isn’t going away. For Vai, resisting technology is just a losing battle – so he chooses to embrace it.

“You choose how you want to feel,” he explained. “And then you decide the story attached to it.”

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