STROUDSBURG, PA—This show was a little bit of a drive for me, but since the company I work for now, SLP Concerts, was a co-promoter for this show, I jumped at the opportunity to cover it for my boss. Besides, I haven’t seen Slash perform live since seeing him with Guns N’ Roses at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ back in 1988. Without aging myself, that was 27 years ago! Holy crap!
Anyway, I arrived at the Sherman in time to catch tail end of opener Like A Storm, who I’ve seen before opening for Alter Bridge. When I walked in they were performing a cover of AC/DC’s “T.N.T.” before closing with their hit single “Love The Way You Hate Me,” which I hear every single day on Octane. This almost sold-out crowd responded incredibly to these guys, but you can tell these people were here to see Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators.
I honestly did not know what to expect. I mean, I chatted with Slash in an interview a few weeks prior to this show, which still blows me away that I got to talk to the legendary Slash twice on the phone, but I haven’t seen him perform in close to 30 years. My inner teenager wanted to jump out of my old and slouched over body and rock out to one of my guitar heroes, but can Myles pull off the GNR stuff? I was about to find out.
The lights went down and Slash and crew opened with “You’re A Lie” from the band’s Apocalyptic Love. I was blown away! They sounded amazing! That song sounded so much better live than on the radio even though it sounded exactly the same. The energy was just a little different. The band would follow that energetic opener with a classic rendition of one of my favorite GNR songs, “Nightrain,” and all I can say is, “Wow!” Myles Kennedy makes Axl Rose sound like an amateur! It sounded amazing! I got to see Axl’s version of GNR when I had to roadie for Sebastian Bach a couple of years ago, and while Axl has some great players around him, Slash, Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators blew Axl’s version out of the water. I couldn’t wait to hear more!
Slash and crew would then run rough shot after rough shot through some new tunes as well as stuff off of Slash’s solo records like “Avalon” off of World On Fire, “Ghost,” “Back From Cali,” “Wicked Stone” and “Dirty Girl,” which all sounded large and tight, but the stuff I wanted to hear were the classics since I used to be a hardcore GNR fan. And then came “Double Talkin’ Jive” and “You Could Be Mine” off of the Use Your Illusion records. Is it weird that I wanted to cry when I heard these songs? They sounded so good! Then bassist Todd Kerns took over on vocals to sing “Doctor Alibi” which was originally sung by the legendary Lemmy on Slash’s self-titled solo CD. Todd sounded amazing on this version, but then Slash started playing the opening riff to “Welcome To The Jungle,” which Todd also sang. All I can say is that I might’ve wet my panties during this version. I really wasn’t expecting to love this show this much!
Slash, Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators then pleased some of their new fans with more songs off of World On Fire like “The Dissident” and “The Unholy,” but then came “Rocket Queen,” which launched Slash into a 20-minute-long guitar solo in the middle of it. I swear to God! This solo was literally 20 minutes long! He proved why he’s a legend and why he really is a guitar hero! Slash can never be matched after witnessing this guitar solo in my book. After finishing off that masterpiece of a solo, the band played some more new music including “Bent To Fly” and the title track to their latest CD, World On Fire, before they tore into their smash hit “Anastasia” off of Apocalyptic Love. At this point, I feel totally fulfilled as an old GNR fan until…
The opening riff to my favorite Guns N’ Roses songs of all time, “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” started playing through Slash’s amp. Myles, once again, proved that he can sound like Axl when Axl was still good! I mean, seriously, if Axl doesn’t want to reunite the classic lineup, then they should just reunite the original band and let Myles sing. It would probably sound better anyway. After “Sweet Child,” Slash and crew would close out their set with the Velvet Revolver classic “Slither.” By the way, Myles sounded better than Scott Weiland too! I have a new respect for Myles Kennedy. Not that I didn’t before, but he sounds better with Slash than Alter Bridge. (Don’t tell him I said that. I’ll deny it!)
The band came back out for an encore of the GNR classic “Paradise City,” which tore the roof off the place. I have to say that I walked out of the Sherman that night fully satisfied with a new respect for Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators. They were absolutely awesome! And now I get it when Slash said to me in our interview that there are no raw rock bands out there anymore. Everything today is so overproduced. These guys are still a raw rock band and they need to be in arenas. A small theater is too small for a band that sounds this large!