Kings of Chaos @ Irving Plaza

MANHATTAN, NY—The Rock N Roll All-Stars started with a short tour of South America in 2012 before becoming the recurring Kings of Chaos. The band was never meant to have a permanent lineup, but the initial core lineup included three musicians who had played in Guns N’ Roses: original GNR bassist Duff McKagan; Matt Sorum who drummed with GNR from 1990-1997; and Gilby Clarke, who played rhythm guitar in GNR from 1991 to 1994. Since then, at least 24 musicians have flowed in and out, including Steven Tyler, Joe Elliott, Corey Taylor, Sebastian Bach, Myles Kennedy, Gene Simmons, Slash, and Glenn Hughes. Kings of Chaos has recorded just one song so far: Deep Purple’s “Never Before,” for the 2012 tribute album, Re-Machined: A Tribute to Deep Purple’s ‘Machine Head.’ (The only current band members in the group at the time were Sorum and Stevens).

Kings of Chaos brought its brief tour to Irving Plaza on Dec. 21, 2016. This time around, the band consisted of vocalist Chester Bennington (Linkin Park),vocalist/guitarist Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), vocalist/guitarist Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), Billy Duffy (The Cult), Robert DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots), and Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver), who is the only musician who has been in all incarnations of Kings of Chaos. This tour may be the only time in history that these seven esteemed musicians would ever perform together.

The nearly two-hour show was like listening to rock hit radio. As expected, the musicians performed songs from their previous bands and featured no new songs. The show featured a few surprises, however. The audience heard all-star covers of songs made famous by Stone Temple Pilots, Billy Idol, Cheap Trick, ZZ Top, The Cult, but no songs from Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver or Linkin Park. Seldom were all seven members on stage at the same time; the show started with five, then added Zander and then Gibbons, and throughout the show the audience saw an ever-shifting combinations of vocalists and guitarists.

Zander found a new gritty voice and sang ZZ Top’s “Tush.” Bennington sang Idol’s “White Wedding” while Zander sang Idol’s “Rebel Yell.” Mid-show, Zander stood onstage alone, singing and playing guitar on Cheap Trick’s “The Flame.” The front line sat on stools for partially acoustic versions of The Cult’s “Edie (Ciao Baby),” Stone Temple Pilots’ “Interstate Love Song” and ZZ Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago.” The show returned to full-blown rock with Sorum singing a cover of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades” in honor of the band’s late frontman, Lemmy Kilmister, explaining that Kilmister invited him to join Motörhead for a 2009 tour only because Dave Grohl was not available. Bennington, Zander, and Gibbons alternated vocals on ZZ Top’s “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers.” Apocalyptica vocalist and opening act Franky Perez came back on stage to trade vocals with Zander and Bennington for a cover of Freddie King’s blues staple, “Going Down,” and Bennington and Zander led the closing cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.”

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Vasoline (Stone Temple Pilots cover)

White Wedding (Billy Idol cover)

Fire Woman (The Cult cover)

Hello There (Cheap Trick cover)

Surrender (Cheap Trick cover)

I Want You To Want Me (Cheap Trick cover)

Waitin’ for the Bus (ZZ Top cover)

Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top cover)

Tush (ZZ Top cover)

The Flame (Cheap Trick cover) (acoustic)

Steve Stevens (Guitar Solo) (acoustic)

Edie (Ciao Baby) (The Cult cover) (acoustic)

Interstate Love Song (Stone Temple Pilots cover) (acoustic)

Jesus Just Left Chicago (ZZ Top cover) (acoustic)

Ace of Spades (Motörhead cover)

Sex Type Thing (Stone Temple Pilots cover)

Love Removal Machine (The Cult cover)

Rebel Yell (Billy Idol cover)

Dream Police (Cheap Trick cover)

La Grange (ZZ Top cover)

Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers (ZZ Top cover)

Going Down (Freddie King cover) (with Franky Perez)

Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin cover)