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Steve Vai Plays "For the Love of God" at Tony MacAlpine Benefit Show

This past Saturday night, a host of shred and rock greats got together to help out an ailing friend, Tony MacAlpine.

The 55-year-old guitarist was recently diagnosed with colon cancer; his wife also has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

"The Benefit for Tony MacAlpine," which took place at Los Angeles' Wiltern Theatre, featured appearances by Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, Derek Sherinian and John 5, plus Tom Morello, Nuno Bettencourt and RIchie Kotzen. That Metal Show's Eddie Trunk served as master of ceremonies.

Below, check out a high-quality (in more ways than one) clip of Vai performing his classic 1990 instrumental, "For the Love of God."

"The song is about how far people will go for the love of their god,” said Vai of the standout Passion and Warfare track.

“When you discipline yourself to quit smoking, to run faster or to play better, you have to reach deep down into a part of you. That is a profoundly spiritual event. That’s when you come into contact with that little piece of God within you. That’s what I was trying to achieve with ‘For the Love of God’—I was trying to find that spot.”

In addition to the show, several artists donated their personal instruments, which will be available for auction through December 19 at tonymacalpine.com. All proceeds will be collected on behalf of MacAlpine and his family.

Auction items include:

• Personal guitars donated by Vai, Kiss, Steve Lukather, Satriani, Steve Stevens, Paul Gilbert, Joe Bonamassa, John Petrucci, Tom Morello, Richie Kotzen, Vinnie Moore and Jeff Loomis

• Signature snare drums from Simon Phillips, Gregg Bissonette, Portnoy and Eric Singer

• Signature bass from Sheehan

• Bass lessons with Rudy Sarzo

• Stage outfit worn by John 5 on the Rob Zombie tour

• A balcony stateroom and two Gold VIP packages from the Axes & Anchors Cruise (February 20 to 24, 2016).

Raffle items at the event included a matching pair of A Little Thunder pickups designed by ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. A Little Thunder is a humbucker that adds a -1 or -2 octave bass signal to the bottom strings of your guitar while still preserving all six guitar strings. There's no MIDI, drilling or 9V batteries required for this drop-in replacement. Head here for more information.

Stay tuned for more videos and photos from the show.

Photo and video: Andy Alt

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Damian Fanelli
Damian Fanelli

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.