Slash was in town with his trademark hat and Les Pauls last night, playing to a jam packed Metropolis. Along with his bandmates Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, he offered us a fantastic rock ‘n roll show that was high on decibels, screaming guitars and great songs.
Kicking things off with “You’re a Lie” from “Apocalyptic Love”, it was obvious that the musicians are gelling as a band more than ever. The crowd was pumped and singing along, proving that Slash’s solo material is endearing itself to his fans. He then followed with “Nightrain” and the place went REALLY nuts. People were dancing, singing, jumping; you name it. The soulful “Back from Cali” was another great moment followed by the excellent “Standing in the Sun”, and “Wicked Love” from his latest album. And then drummer Brent Fitz (who was hanging out in front of the Metropolis talking to fans before the show) played the famous intro that signalled the coming of “You Could Be Mine”, to the crowd’s delight. At one point, bassist Todd Kearns took over the vocals duties for a spirited version of “Doctor Alibi” (originally sung by Motörhead’s Lemmy), and then Slash went straight into the delayed guitar riff intro to “Welcome to the Jungle”. The crowd went ballistic for that one; Kearns was great on vocals, although it was hard to hear over the crowd screaming their lungs out.
Speaking of singing, Myles Kennedy’s voice is an excellent substitute for Axl Rose on the GNR material, and he’s a charismatic and unassuming frontman. Of course, anyone showing up to this show wanted to hear Slash wring out plaintive notes from his guitar, and he obliged during “Rocket Queen”, playing a 10 minute solo that started out with some bluesy riffs and ended in a frenzy of notes. (It could have been a little shorter though) He preferred to let his guitar speak for himself, rarely addressing the crowd and leaving Kennedy to do the talking.
The show ended with a one-two punch of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (with the crowd nearly drowning out the band) and Velvet Revolver’s “Slither”. But of course that wasn’t really the end; they came back on stage to play “Paradise City” while the crowd was being showered with red confetti. What a show: the evening was a masterclass in no-nonsense, straight up rock ‘n roll.
Opening the evening was The Last Internationale, from New York. On their first visit to Montreal, the power trio won the crowd over from the first song with their soul-tinged rock and the powerful vocals of singer/bassist Delila Paz (there’s something so cool about a woman playing bass). Perfect warmup set for the night. Check them out.
With rumours swirling around that the original lineup of Guns ‘n Roses will reunite for a big tour, this might have been our last chance for a while to enjoy Slash, Myles and the Conspirators. While a GNR reunion would be fabulous (we hope), it’s a shame that this band would have to be a casualty.