Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators: Living The Dream Tour (DVD REVIEW)

Slash is one of those bonafide rock stars where everything he touches turns to rock & roll gold. But after leaving one of the biggest rock bands in the world, he had to find his place again in this crazy solar system of music. Of course, he could play shows with a group of friend musicians, sit in with other big rock stars, join another band. He had an oyster in which to grow his music no matter which road he chose to traverse. But where did he fit, where could he plant roots and watch them grow? That took a little time.

He had Slash’s Snakepit for a few years and then Velvet Revolver with another temperamental frontman before deciding to do a solo album with an all-star cast. Wanting to tour, Myles Kennedy, whom had sung on two tracks – “Starlight” and “Back From Cali” – came aboard; bass player Todd Kerns, drummer Brent Fitz and guitar player Bobby Schneck were also signed on. This was 2010. When I saw them in Atlanta later that year, the venue was packed to the rafters with fans and word among those in attendance was that they’d love a record featuring the band they’d just seen on stage. And I kept hearing it. Slash felt the same way and Apocalyptic Love was released two years later with these guys (sans Schneck who left), followed by World On Fire in 2014 and Living The Dream in 2018.

The recently released Living The Dream Tour DVD is proof that the journey Slash began on following Guns N Roses and Velvet Revolver has not only been mighty fruitful with Kennedy, Kerns, Fitz and Frank Sidoris (who replaced Schneck early on) but a fan’s dream band. Together, they built this band from the ground up, although Slash and Kennedy, lead vocalist for Alter Bridge, were already established names. But they had to gel as one and they have certainly done that tenfold. It’s there on the stage, it’s there in the recordings – that magic that happens when the chemistry just sizzles upon impact. “It was one of those things where we sort of started as five people who didn’t know each other or whatever and then fell into a chemistry,” Kerns told me during a 2011 interview. “We seem to vibrate at the right frequency with each other.”

It’s also right out there in the crowd, that low hum of excitement that begins long before they get to the venue and long after the last note has been played when the atmosphere is literally filled with the songs they just heard – either singing themselves or turning up the radio volume as they spin out into the night. So the first thing you see when hitting play on the DVD is appropriately the fans, lined up to enter the infamous Hammersmith Apollo in London. They are stoked to be there, knowing the band will be on fire.

But it’s not always an easy task to capture something so pure and electrical on film. Some of the best live bands have never been able to truly capture what they do but Slash has continued to do so (this is the band’s third live DVD). The sound is crisp, the visuals are equally focused on each band member, reiterating that Slash considers himself part of a band and not a lone wolf. The behind-the-scenes extra continues this by giving us glimpses of the people behind the scenes, from tour manager Cheryl Hall to production manager Quake to the tech guys who keep the instruments ready to play at all times. A really nice addition to a live DVD to get to see what’s happening behind the curtains before the music starts.

But you actually bought this DVD, which comes in a variety of ways – DVD with 2 CDs, BluRay, regular vinyl and a limited edition 3 red vinyl set – to watch the band in action. Opening with “The Call Of The Wild,” they would play half of the twelve songs featured on the Living The Dream record. In fact, Slash would pull predominately from his SMKC catalog, performing only one GNR composition, “Nightrain,” and nothing from VR or Snakepit. From the 2010 Slash album, Kennedy sang his two featured songs plus “Ghost” and “By The Sword,” while Kerns handled lead vocals on the Lemmy-sung “Doctor Alibi” and “We’re All Gonna Die.”

Highlights of this particular show also include “World On Fire” with Slash’s almost hootenanny banjo-like solo, the guitar-heavy “Serve You Right,” Kennedy’s favorite from the current album – “Boulevard Of Broken Hearts” – and the wet-your-pants elongated guitar solo on “Wicked Stone,” where Fitz hangs with the top-hatted maestro every note of the way, creating the feeling of being on a rocket ship at takeoff.

If you never caught a SMKC show before this tour, you really missed out on seeing the metamorphosis of this band into who they are today. The Living The Dream Tour DVD is a sonically good example of their fierce live show, years in the making, that can be enjoyed for years to come.

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