Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators Kick Off Tour With Hard-Driving Set at Portland’s Roseland Theatre (SHOW REVIEW)

Photo by Austin Nelson

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators kicked off their highly anticipated River Is Rising Tour at Portland’s Roseland Theatre on February 9, the first of a 28-date national tour. The band hit the road in support of its fourth album release, 4, scheduled for release on February 11. Fellow LA hard rockers, Dead Sara, have joined the tour as support and on the heels of their third release, Ain’t It Tragic. Both bands brought a tremendous amount of energy and delivered the goods to a grateful Portland crowd.  

A packed venue is a great sight to behold, especially in these continually trying times. The staff of Portland’s Roseland Theater made the evening as safe and relaxing as possible, allowing patrons to enter and fill the space to capacity as the opening band took the stage. Dead Sara adhered to schedule and hit the stage full throttle at 8pm, opening with “L.A. City Slum,” from their second album, Pleasure To Meet You. Moving swiftly into a song from their current release, Ain’t It Tragic, the band charged through the infectious “All I Know Is That You Left Me For Dead.” Highlights were the new dance number, “Hypnotic,” which had the floor grooving, and of course the big hit from their debut, “Weatherman.”

It was the closing number, “Weatherman,” that the band chose to throw down the gauntlet and remind everyone to take notice.  Dead Sara lead singer Emily Armstrong singularly guided the entire Roseland Theater crowd through a sing-along of Amazing Grace, smack dab in the middle of their closing song.  Poignant and worthy of an exclamation point, the performance was nothing short of spectacular and a successful beginning to a long tour.

Headliners Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators strolled onto the stage shortly after 9pm, after every microphone was perfectly adjusted, guitars tuned and the enormous band logo banner was lowered behind the drum kit.  Wearing a green FEAR t-shirt, the man they call Slash unleashed his guitar wizardry, opening with “Driving Rain,” from the band’s last album, “Living The Dream.” The band, comprised of stellar musicians, set the bar for professionalism and pure rock prowess. Myles Kennedy, whose onstage persona is subdued and laid back, belted song after song almost effortlessly, and with such vocal control, solidifying his place in rock history.  

With three full-length albums of material, the Conspirators filled their setlist with a nice representation from each of their recordings, even throwing in a couple of surprise covers as treats. Brand new songs that had their live concert debut included all of the brand new, unreleased material. The songs “River Is Rising,” “Whatever Gets You By,” “Fill My World,” and “Call Off The Dogs,” were all performed live for the first time in Portland. Slash seemed to use a different guitar for every song, even switching identical Les Pauls mid-song after several attempts at on-the-fly tuning while playing.

Slash dusted off older songs such as “Speed Parade,” from his Snakepit days, the original song not having seen the light of day since 2012. Band introductions were made almost halfway through the band’s set, with Myles Kennedy then electing to exit the stage and take a break. With Kennedy offstage, Canadian bassist Todd Kerns took over lead vocals for the Conspirators live debut of the Lenny Kravitz song, “Always On The Run.” Myles Kennedy returned to the stage for a few more songs before turning the microphone back over to Kerns for the song “Dr. Alibi.” His vocal prowess on full display, Myles Kennedy maintained incredible control and nailed song after song, closing his eyes and locking in the zone, swaying with the band during transcendent jams.  

It was perhaps the cover of “Rocket Man” that propelled Myles Kennedy into the ethereal spotlight, with his faithful interpretation a significant highlight of the evening’s set.  The familiar song gracefully prepared the audience for a few more signature Slash rockers, appropriately closing out the set with the incendiary, “World On Fire.”  The band returned to the stage for a single encore of “Anastasia,” playing for almost two hours.  One showdown, The River Is Rising Tour rages on through the end of March.

Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators SETLIST

Driving Rain

Shots Fired

My Antidote

Serve You Right

River Is Rising

Bad Rain

Back From Cali

Withered Delilah

Always On The Run (Lenny Kravitz cover)

No More Heros

Whatever Gets You By

Speed Parade

Fill My World

One You Loved Is Gone

Call Off The Dogs

Dr. Alibi

Rocket Man (Elton John cover)

Nothing To Say

You’re A Lie

World On Fire

E:  Anastasia

DEAD SARA setlist

L.A. City Slum

All I Know Is That You Left Me For Dead

Mona Lisa

Hypnotic

Gimme Gimme

Weatherman >

Amazing Grace>

Weatherman

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