His look is one of the most immediately recognizable (and often replicated, judging by tonight’s audience) and his sound is equally iconic. I dare say an argument could be made that Slash is the last Guitar God. He certainly lived up to that title last night at Auckland’s Vector Arena. Thousands of fans, many wearing Slash-like head gear, trouped into the venue to witness a dazzling display of guitar pyrotechnics.
Slash and his band, The Conspirators, featuring vocalist Myles Kennedy, hit the stage a minute before 9pm and treated the fans to 21 songs over the next two hours, including six from Appetite For Destruction. While Kennedy is a very capable front man, its clear he got the gig because of his vocal similarity to Axl Rose. I must say, tonight, I think I preferred being in the company of Kennedy…at least I didn’t have to wait long hours into the night before he felt “inspired” to perform. Plus, Kennedy seemed to have a genuine interest in pleasing the fans.
But of course, the real focus was on Slash. He looked and sounded just like he should. He took centre-stage during just about every song, cracking out dirty riffs and soaring solos.
In addition to the six GnR songs, the set list included one from Velvet Revolver (Slither), one from Slash’s Snakepit (Beggars &Hangers- On) with the majority coming from the last two Slash solo albums.
All the pre-requisite rock moves were in evidence…fists were pumped, mic stands raised above the head, picks were tossed to the crowd and hands were waved during the slow songs.
The fist pumping started early with the GnR tune Nightrain turning up as the second song . Mr Brownstone was another early crowd pleaser, with Slash’s wah-wah pedal used to full effect. Beggars & Hangers- On followed, and it seemed somewhat unfocussed, but then the moody Not For Me, from Apocalyptic Love got things back on the right track, with the crowd clapping along. Bass player Todd Kerns briefly took the spotlight to sing Dr Alibi. He’s an OK vocalist….very enthusiastic…but a bit shrill for my taste. I was happy to have Kennedy back.
Probably the evening’s highlight (other than the inevitable Sweet Child O’ Mine) came during Slash’s extended solo set that found him dipping in to the Theme From The Godfather before he and the band ripped in to a thrilling version of Anastasia.
After Sweet Child came a stomping version of You’re A Lie before the regular set ended with Slither.
Nearly two hours after they started, Slash and the boys weren’t quite done. They returned with By The Sword and then sent the fans home with Paradise City. You really couldn’t ask for more.
Click here to view 13th Floor photographer Michael Flynn’s photo gallery:
Slash set list:
- Standing In The Sun
- Back From Cali
- Mr Brownstone
- Beggars & Hangers-On
- Not For Me
- Rocket Queen
- Dr Alibi
- Out Ta Get Me
- No More Heroes
- Apocalyptic Love
- Theme From The Godfather/Instrumental Jam
- Sweet Child O’ Mine
- You’re A Lie
- By The Sword
- Paradise City