Stef Burns & Peppino D’Agostino w/ special guests Marc Russo, Jeff Campitelli, Jim Funk, and The Voena Choir
Sunday, November 18 @ 6:00 pm| $25 – $45
Doors open 5PM | Show starts at 6PM
Orchestra $45 | Loge $40 | Lower Balcony $35 | Upper Balcony $25
Kids 12 and under $10 off
Front Row Table $200
4 Seats Per Table ($50 per seat)
Stef and Peppino met in Benicia, California around 1999 because both their children went to the same school. They both had the “Italian connection” and a passion for guitars. Their friend Richard Freedman got them together to do a show to benefit the school, and they quickly found out that their different playing styles complimented each other so they decided to make an album together and start touring! “Bayshore Road” on Favored Nations Label by Steve Vai. After many tours, and the normal life path changes, they are reuniting for a special event on November 18, 2018 6pm at The Empress Theater in Vallejo, California! With special guests Marc Russo on sax (Doobie Brothers, Yellow Jackets), Jeff Campitelli on drums (Joe Satriani), Jim Funk on Bass (Sun Kings, The Dawdlers), and The Voena Choir (International Children’s Choir).
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran:
In a pairing that could probably only take place on a label owned by a visionary guitar legend, Steve Vai and Favored Nations’ historic summit between two of the world’s most renowned guitarists — one an acoustic improvisational legend, the other an electric virtuoso — lives up to its remarkable promise. Beginning with the snappy, midtempo, improv-rich title track (named for the street where they share a studio north of San Francisco), the collection celebrates the melodic and rhythmic joys of both guitars, as well as one of the instrumental world’s most inspiring creative friendships and partnerships. There’s a rich back story to the partnership, but suffice to say that the tandem was more than just a clever marketing ploy. Though the two are known in different worlds with different axes, they share a common ground in their love of blues and the Beatles, and their affinity for jazz — typified by their crisp, ultra-percussive twist on the classic “Birdland” — fits right in the mix.
The best originals here include the mystical and dusty cowboy flick-flavored “Better World,” the contemplative ballad “Inner Sanctuary,” a romantic visit to Brazil called “Manha de Carnaval,” and a crazy and fun bluegrass jam curiously named “Jerry’s Breakdown.” The disc prompted a successful tour of Italy, where Stef Burns is very popular, in early 2005.
These musicians aren’t supposed to be playing together. Stef Burns is a fret-burner who’s recorded with Y&T and Alice Cooper and currently tours with Huey Lewis & the News. Peppino D’Agostino is a sensitive finger-style acoustic guitarist who has been recording in the States since he released Acoustic Spirit in 1987. Yet these two neighbors in San Francisco’s East Bay suburbs have made a CD that strikes a balance between sensitive interplay and furious virtuosity. A composer as much as a guitarist, D’Agostino wrote most of the tunes, and although he’s a pretty busy player to start with, he still makes room for Stef Burns to lay in his often yearning leads. Despite Burns’s rock & roll lineage, the pair cowrote two of the album’s more pastoral pieces, the title track and the calming “Inner Sanctuary.” D’Agostino’s “Beyond the Dunes,” already a frenetic, Middle Eastern-inspired composition, gets ripping sustained leads from Burns while D’Agostino creates a shifting latticework beneath him. And his “Venus over Venice” is by turns anthemic and thoughtful, though the fadeout on Burns’s knotty solo is unsatisfying. Even the two tunes that seem out of context are fun diversions. “Jerry’s Breakdown” reflects back on D’Agostino’s Italian bluegrass roots, and Weather Report’s “Birdland” is given a lighthearted treatment. But they seem misplaced next to the panoramic expanse of “Better World,” a tune that breathes in Western colors and open spaces. Let’s hope these two musicians remain good neighbors. –John Diliberto