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Steve Vai Shreds After Receiving SENA European Guitar Award

Steve Vai received the prestigious SENA European Guitar Award at a ceremony and concert in Gebouw-T in Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands, over the weekend.

The award recognizes the musical contributions of legendary guitar player and pioneers, and previous recipients include Brian May, Steve Lukather and Slash. The ceremony had many heart-warming moments, including video messages from Tommy Emanuel, Steve Lukather, Mike Kenneally and many other friends.

“Holland has always held a special place in my heart and career,” Steve says. “It’s here that my orchestral music was first performed as spearheaded by my dear friend Co de Kloet [the creative catalyst at audio production house ZivaSound], and I’ve developed a family of friends there.”

The opportunity gave Vai an opportunity to connect with guitarist Adrian Vandenberg, shown below, whom he hasn’t seen since the early Nineties, when the two men performed in Whitesnake.

“Although I haven’t seen him since the Whitesnake days,” Vai says, “Adrian and I always had a connection and at this awards show we were able to bond even deeper than before.

“At one point while I was sitting in the audience witnessing all this great honor being bestowed on me, I kind of woke up to what was happening and a deep profound feeling of Universal appreciation washed over me. I’m still stunned by all the good fortune that has graced my music career, and my life in general.”

In the videos below, you can see Steve accept the award (his speech begins around the 2:55 mark) and perform at the ceremony. Check out the video at the bottom, which gives you some great up-close views of Steve performing “Whispering a Prayer.”

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Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player (opens in new tab) magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World (opens in new tab), a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.