Monday, November 15, 2010

Slash in Concert: A Review

By Daphne Lacroix

On Tuesday September 15th, former Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver lead guitarist Slash headlined at Terminal 5 in New York City to a sold out crowd of fervent fans. Once ranked by Times Magazine as number two on its list of the "10 Best Electric Guitar Players of All-Time,” the chain-smoking top hat-wearing icon was sure to deliver a promising performance.

Stating that Slash is simply a great guitarist is definitely an understatement. Widely known around the world for his influential work in Guns N’ Roses and co-founder of the hard rock group Velvet Revolver, it is far more appropriate to call Slash a historical landmark, a guitar god, and a critical contributor to Rock N’ Roll.

When Slash’s first solo album hit the market over the summer, I was virtually first in line. A self-professed Guns N’ Roses fanatic and guitar player, I have always idolized Slash. In 2007, I met the rock star in person at a signing session for his autobiography entitled Slash, and in 2008 I saw him live performing with Velvet Revolver at Jones Beach. Needless to say, I would not miss the opportunity to witness the guitarist perform at one of my favorite New York City venues.

Taddy Porter, a hard-rocking quartet from Oklahoma, opened the show with a commanding presence.

“Word on the street is that Rock is dead,” stated lead singer Andy Brewer before leading the band into a powerful, hard-rocking, guitar-driven slew of loud, fast, and catchy songs. I was thoroughly impressed by the group’s overpowering electric sound and timeless feel; clad in tight pants, flannels, leather, and rocker attitudes, Taddy Porter could have emerged straight out of the early 70s’ hard rock scene with the likes of Cream and Led Zeppelin. Ultimately, the band definitely did an amazing job at revving up the exited crowd and kicking off an amazing show.

The second opening act, TAB the Band, however, failed to deliver. While the quality of the music was fairly good, the band’s stage presence seemed unbearably tame compared to the previous act. The lead singer seemed apathetic, the lead guitarist seemed over-enthused, and the rhythm guitarist, sporting a Justin Beiber haircut, simply seemed lost. Needless to say, the sold-out crowd of hard core Slash fans didn’t exactly react positively to the pop-rock ensemble.

After three hours of prolonged waiting, Slash and his group finally emerged onto the scene, opening with the first song off of his new album, “Ghost.” As soon as the guitar kicked in, the ambiance intensified as the crowd began jumping enthusiastically. It is undeniable that Slash’s presence was overpowering in itself; clad in black converse, tight leather pants, aviator shades and his signature top hat, Slash’s nonchalant swagger and unbelievable musicianship was simply amazing.

Throughout the night, Slash and the group performed a wide array of songs, ranging from early Guns N’ Roses material to signature Slash guitar solos and songs from the new album. This balanced mélange created a perfect blend for fans of every genre.

The second song, “Nightrain,” a GN’R classic, was arguably the biggest crowd pleaser of the night. As soon as the distinctive guitar introduction emerged, the crowd literally went crazy as the lyrics from the song were almost overshadowed by the singing from the crowd. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” also received widespread audience response. Arguably one of the most popular hard rock ballads of all time, the song truly captivated the audience with the hypnotizing guitar riff.

Though Slash was obviously the headlining act of the night, I was thoroughly impressed with his touring band. The lead singer, Myles Kennedy, former singer of the Mayfield Four, adapted every song with power and sophistication. After all, anyone who can successfully sing songs originally sung by reputed vocalists such as Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses, Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, and Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother is definitely a well-accomplished and impressive front man.

I walked out of the concert feeling absolutely surreal. The entire experience left me amazed and speechless. Though I’ve seen many Rock bands including acts such as the Rolling Stones, Beck, and the Who, this concert affected me on a much deeper level. The passion of the crowd, the musicianship of the artists, and the insanely high volume of the music altogether created an amazing atmosphere and ultimately proved that Rock is definitely not dead.

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