When he released Passion and Warfare in 1990, Steve Vai asserted his primacy in the golden age of the guitar hero, a time when Yngwie Malmsteen was slaying dragons and Joe Satriani was surfing with aliens. Vai became “stunt guitarist” for rock iconoclast Frank Zappa at the age of 20 and went on to fulfill David Lee Roth’s need for six-string pyrotechnics following his break with Van Halen. But it was with his solo recordings that Vai could fully showcase his otherworldly virtuosity, an idiosyncratic blend of heavy-metal shredding, New Age mysticism and sci-fi tomfoolery. At 52, Vai continues to follow an eccentric muse: His latest, The Story of Light, features the rubbery exotica of “Creamsicle Sunset,” a duet with Aimee Mann on the prog-folk ballad “No More Amsterdam” and a gospel-metal cover of “John the Revelator” with samples of Blind Willie Johnson and overwrought vocals by The Voice finalist Beverly McClellan (who is opening for him on this tour).
Thu., Aug. 30, 8 p.m., $29.50-$49.50, with Beverly McClellan, Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside, 215-572-7650, keswicktheatre.com.