Watch Steve Vai perform Jimi Hendrix's Midnight in honor of the late guitar icon's 80th birthday – with a professional Hendrix tribute artist

[L-R] Steve Vai and Randy Hansen
(Image credit: ufowalter/YouTube)

Late last month, Steve Vai joined forces with professional Jimi Hendrix tribute artist Randy Hansen to perform Midnight – a track released by Hendrix’s estate in 1972, two years after his death.

Vai – who stopped by Seattle’s Moore Theater on his Inviolate US tour on November 27, which would have been Hendrix’s 80th birthday – honored Hendrix in a speech, before introducing Hansen to the crowd.

“You know Jimi Hendrix, right, the boy from Seattle,” he said. “Can you imagine that? 80 years old. Everything that he brought to us, all of his brilliance, all of his gifts, and how many times have we tried to honor that, learning [his] riffs, playing his songs. 

“It’s been glorious for us guitar players to have Jimi Hendrix. But one guy in particular has been doing a fantastic job for so many years, treating us to this version of Jimi Hendrix, playing the songs and touring, and he is here tonight because he is from [Seattle, too].”

Thereafter, the duo performed their rendition of Midnight, taken from Hendrix’s posthumous compilation album, War Heroes, periodically trading lead duties in a bona fide six-string celebration of the late guitar icon.

Both Vai – who played his signature Ibanez JEM7VP – and Hansen – who plays an upside-down Fender Stratocaster à la Hendrix – gave a performance that truly honored the electric guitar legend, even, at times, playing their instruments with their teeth in true Jimi style.

Hansen, in particular, treats the guitar as a literal extension of himself, playing it behind his back and even, at one point, with his foot. Watch the blistering performance below.

In the past few months, a number of artists have paid tribute to Jimi Hendrix on what would have been his 80th birthday. Last month, we shared footage of Christone “Kingfish” Ingram delivering an epic version of Hendrix’s Red House atop London’s Hard Rock Hotel.

And even Zayn Malik – yep, former member of stratospheric boyband One Direction – paid homage to the guitar icon last month with a reworked version of Hendrix’s Angel, from his posthumous 1971 album, The Cry of Love.

But Steve Vai has been paying tribute to Hendrix since long before celebrations of his 80th. Last month, we told the story of when Vai teamed up with former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist and current Pantera axeman Zakk Wylde to perform Voodoo Child at the 2017 Vai Academy.

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Sam Roche

Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar (opens in new tab).