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Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators.

Artist: Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators,

Venue: London - Wembley Arena

Date: 05th April 2024


"...but the rarest are those that become icons within their own lifetime. Slash, unquestionably falls into this category."

 
© Myke Gray
© Myke Gray

Rock icon is probably the highest accolade any musician could hope for. Throughout history every generation has produced a handful that ascend and transcend into immortality. Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, and Lemmy to name but a few. Their faces will be seen on T-shirts long after their own lives have come to an end. Invariably these people lived life by their own rules. Their art and identity are closely entwined. They are a rare breed, but the rarest are those that become icons within their own lifetime. Slash, unquestionably falls into this category.


As a member of Guns N’ Roses he became a global superstar. But arguably, he evolved into the musician he is today because of his work as a solo artist. Fearlessly, he has pushed the boundaries of his own creativity, working within every genre of music. Collaborating with artists as diverse as Lenny Kravitz, Michael Jackson, Rhianna, Ray Charles, BB King and countless others. His life has been one long love affair with music. Right from the start he had his own sound, style, and signature. He has walked a path of his own making by following his gut instinct.


2010 saw the release of his eponymously titled solo album. It featured guest appearances from a multitude of Rock stars, one of them being Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge. The pair have worked together ever since. Throughout this period Kennedy has remained the singer of Alter Bridge, and Slash went on to rejoin Guns N’ Roses, but together, as Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators, they have released four studio albums.


So tonight, I made my way to Wembley Arena to watch a living legend and his spectacular band play a selection of songs from their back catalogue, along with a few additional surprises. The venue is jam packed with an incredibly varied cross section of human beings. This is an artist whose audience demographic has absolutely no boundaries. Without any fuss or bravado the band make their way onto the stage, and launch into ‘The River Is Rising’. Your eyes cannot help but be drawn to the top hat, sun glasses and signature Les Paul. Slash is one of the most recognisable Rock stars in the world, and to his adoring fans he is the embodiment of Rock And Roll. But like all the guitar greats he also has a sound and style that make him instantly identifiable. Earning him entry into an exclusive club that has Angus Young, Edward Van Halen and Billy Gibbons on its list of members.


It’s clear from the opening notes that we are listening to some of the world’s most elite musicians. A well-oiled machine that can shift up through the gears without breaking into a sweat. A line up consisting of Brent Fitz on drums, Frank Sidoris on guitar, Todd Kerns on bass and backing vocals, Myles Kennedy on vocals, and of course Slash on guitar. Seamlessly ‘Driving Rain’ from the album ‘Living The Dream’ follows. Watching the first two songs served to reinforce something that I had believed for quite some time. Myles Kennedy is one of the greatest singers in the history of great singers. Personally, I have never seen anyone make something so incredibly difficult look so ridiculously easy. He exudes a zen like energy as he calmly walks around the stage delivering breathtaking vocals. The songs ‘Halo’ & ‘Too Far Gone’ are blasted out in quick succession. The effortless fluidity of the musicianship on display leaves you in no doubt that these guys live and breathe Rock And Roll. ‘Back To Cali’ is for me one of the best songs Slash has written outside of Guns N’ Roses. After each song he changes from one beautiful Gibson guitar to another. On ‘Whatever Gets You By’ he is adorned by a stunning black Flying V. ‘C’est La Vie’ has him using a talk box, its unique sound was made famous by Joe Walsh on ‘Rocky Mountain Way’, and Richie Sambora on ‘Living On A Prayer’. An effect that always sounds cool when it’s done well and tonight is no exception. ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words’ has Kennedy showing the incredible versatility to his voice. I ask myself, “Is there anything this man can’t sing?”


For me, bassist Todd Kerns is the band’s secret weapon. Not only is he a fantastic bass player, phenomenal singer, and dynamic stage performer, he also looks cool as fuck! I would put him in my top 10 list of perfect band members. So when Kennedy exits the stage leaving Kerns to sing ‘Always On The Run’, a song co-written with Lenny Kravitz, it’s one of the highlights of the set. In a slightly mellower moment Kennedy returns to sing ‘Bent To Fly’ taken from the ‘World On Fire’ album. Kerns hits every harmony pitch perfect. Together they are one of the most impressive vocal duos I’ve ever heard.


‘Avalon’ gets the party started again. Brent Fitz, who is clearly a graduate from the John Bonham school of drumming, has been rock solid all night. ‘Spirit Love’ has Kennedy showing that he could step into Alice In Chains on a moment’s notice. It also contained a brilliant guitar solo. The thing that makes Slash so unique, is that his solos are like a stream of consciousness. Most players will have their allotted time within a song, and note for note they will repeat the same thing night after night. This is not the case with Slash. He takes you on a journey, you won’t always know where you’re going, how long it’s gonna last, or even if you’re gonna make it to the destination. But it’s always interesting, always exciting, and something you will never forget. Only a handful of players have been blessed with this remarkable gift. Prince, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Jimi Hendrix are some of the names on a very short list.


The surprise inclusion of the Guns N’ Roses song ‘Don’t Damn Me’ from ‘Use Your Illusion’ has Kerns delivering a vocal with more bite than the original album version. ‘Starlight’ with its beautiful guitar intro is one of the highlights of the set. A stunning song with an incredible vocal melody that is, of course, expertly delivered. ‘Wicked Stone’ with its killer guitar riff is another one of my favourites. I think a moment to give guitarist Frank Sidoris his dues is well in order. Not only did he play a support set with Mammoth WVH, but thirty minutes later he is playing a full set with Slash. A consummate professional. ‘April Fool’ shows the strength and depth within their catalogue of songs. ‘Fill My World’ once again shows that Kennedy is a man of a thousand voices. His versatility seems to have no limits. ‘Dr Alibi’, a song that originally featured Lemmy on vocals, was another surprise but welcome inclusion. We were coming to the end of the main set and it was time for the big finish. ‘You’re A Lie’ is a perfectly constructed song. A killer riff into a brilliant verse, leading to a monster chorus. They finish the main set with an electrifying version of ‘World On Fire’. Throughout the whole performance Slash’s playing had become more and more exhilarating, but at this point it was off the scale. The audience had come to pay homage to one of the last true guitar heroes, and none of them would be going home disappointed. Rapturous applause filled the arena as the band left the stage. But everyone knew that the evening was not yet over.


The first encore was a stunning version of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’. This was Kennedy’s show stopping moment. The final song of the night was Slash’s guitar masterpiece ‘Anastasia’. A man responsible for some of the most iconic moments in rock history. The introduction to ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, the solo in ‘November Rain’, the introduction to ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ to name but three, but for me the greatest I’ve ever seen him play is during this song. The end solo is of biblical proportions. Only a handful of guitar players have the ability to hold an audience captive for that period of time, Prince, Dave Gilmore, Michael Schenker, Angus Young, and Stevie Ray Vaughn spring to mind, but undoubtedly Slash has to be added to that list.


Future generations will talk about Slash in the same way Hendrix is spoken about today, and In fifty years time a fifteen year old wannabe guitar hero will be sitting in his bedroom, wearing a Slash T-shirt, playing the introduction to ‘Paradise City’.


 

Review & Photos: Myke Gray

 


 

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