With their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recently announced – and thereby the speculation as to whether or not they’ll share the stage – Guns N Roses continues to make headlines two decades after their heyday when Duff, Izzy and Slash were in the fold. But Slash has done okay for himself away from W. Axl, thank you very much with his snake pit and as part of Velvet Revolver.
Recently the top-hat axe man teamed with acclaimed wailer Myles Kennedy and showed he still has that certain something as proven on this extensive two-disc (and DVD) collection from a show at Stoke On Trent, the first show in his hometown. After the polished crowd pleaser “Been There Lately” Slash and crew churn out the near dance rock of “Mean Bone” and “Ghost” perfectly as Kennedy is definitely up to the task. The well of crunchy hard rock – the kind Nickelback tries but just can’t do – never runs dry with the bluesy, raunchy “Back From Cali.”
One of the highlights – aside from Slash’s work – is Kennedy’s pipes, easily resembling this generation’s version of Paul Rodgers with a wealth of power and soul on the power ballad “Starlight.” Sadly those pipes aren’t tested on some deep Guns cuts like “Estranged,” instead content to deliver “Civil War” with its closing Hendrix riff and some of the other signature warhorses about a certain mister and a certain city.
Although disc two begins with a series of short, punk-leaning romps like “Speed Parade,” Slash shines on the later half with a winding “Beggars & Hangers On,” a delicious “Godfather Solo” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” The guitar solo in the middle of the album though is something to behold, exemplifying why Slash has remained a force with or without W. Axl.