Slash, Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, a rock-solid powerhouse at The Riv
In this solo setting, what was great to see and hear were more blues influences coming to the forefront of Slash’s guitar work.
People will never get sick of seeing Slash on stage. Even though it was just six months ago that the guitar hero was melting faces at Wrigley Field as part of Guns N’ Roses’ five-years-running reunion tour, that didn’t stop legions of fans from clamoring to see him again Wednesday night at the more intimate confines of the Riviera. This time it was for a taste of the phenom’s solid solo project featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, in support of the troupe’s acclaimed new album “4,” with GNR on the backburner for the evening.
Instead of filling up the set list with rote performances of the familiar rock standards, Slash and company curated a 21-song salute to some of their own best material. Alongside early hits like “You’re A Lie” and “Anastasia” (featuring what may be one of the best if not most unusual guitar licks he has ever written) there was a sampler platter of new album standouts like rollicking leadoff “The River Is Rising” and the slick “C’est La Vie,” which led the guitarist to dig out his trusty talk box for added effect. Even the slowed-down ballad section of “Fill My World” and “The One You Loved Is Gone” (featuring a doublenecked guitar solo) were smartphone keepsake-worthy, if not also giving off strong “November Rain” vibes.
Dressed in his trademark top hat and sunglasses, Slash’s solo slinging was just as characteristically on par throughout the night. But in this solo setting, what was great to see and hear were more blues influences coming to the forefront — no more so than on a smoking offering of “Always On The Run,” the powerhouse song he wrote with Lenny Kravitz in 1991 and has since dusted off for this tour, sounding just as fresh 30-plus years later.
Slash’s natural-born music talent aside, the full ensemble shone brightly. The guitarist has always been very cognizant of the musical company he keeps, whether it’s working with dynamos in GNR or Velvet Revolver to now Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, with whom he’s most-often collaborated since 2012. The band gets equal billing in the project — from the backdrop to the spotlights on stage — and it’s easy to see why.
Singer Myles Kennedy absolutely shines as a frontman (a role he innocently foreshadowed in his appearance in the 2001 movie “Rock Star”) with a multi-octave range that once led him to try out for Led Zeppelin. Not to be outdone by Slash, he also plays a mean solo on the triangle during the new track “Whatever Gets You By.” But it was a cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” — which the band recorded for the soundtrack behind the new Disney film “Stuntman” — that was a banner moment for the singer.
Bassist Todd Kerns’ harmonizing vocals were also a welcome layered touch on several tracks, and when stepping up to the mic for main vocal duties on “Always On The Run” and the punk-rock influenced “Doctor Alibi” (a Slash song originally featuring Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister), he firmly stood his ground. There’s also guitarist Frank Sidoris who peppered each song with signature grooves while drummer Brent Fitz smoothed out the rhythm section with a steady hand. Though this project was birthed amid a very tumultuous period for the Guns N’ Roses dynasty, it’s great to see Slash still keeping it active even as GNR has now officially reunited.
In fact, just as the act was taking the stage Wednesday night, news was spreading that the Viper Room — the stuff of hair metal folklore where Slash and his ilk first cut their teeth — will be the latest “reimagined” casualty on Hollywood’s famed Sunset Strip.
Though times have changed, Slash has always been a master at adapting to them and not becoming tangled in one, defined era. It’s why he has been able to transcend becoming a novelty act and remains the icon the world knows on a first-name basis. As long as Slash is still standing, rock music will always be alive and well.
1. “Driving Rain”
2. “My Antidote”
4.“Serve You Right”
5. “Back From Cali”
7.“The River Is Rising”
8.“Whatever Gets You By”
9.“Always On The Run “(Lenny Kravitz cover)
10.“Standing in the Sun”
11.“Speed Parade “(Slash’s Snakepit song)
12.“C’est La Vie”
13.“Fill My World”
14.“The One You Loved Is Gone”
15.“Call Off The Dogs”
17.“Rocket Man” (Elton John cover)
18.“Nothing To Say”
19.“You’re A Live”
20.“World On Fire”