There are few more iconic sights than Saul “Slash” Hudson; guitar legend, stood on a stage, mass of curly hair about his shoulders, top hat unfathomably secured atop, tattooed and bejewelled with leather legs and Gibson Les Paul ready at fingers. In that respect even the cover of the great man’s new DVD doesn’t disappoint – posing with top off and guitar behind his head, the shot says it all. Slash is far from done bringing his showmanship to baying crowds just yet.
Filmed in Stoke-on-Trent – believe it or not Slash’s hometown – this DVD celebrates and shows off Slash’s greatest hits across the years spent in Guns N Roses, Velvet Revolver, Slash’s Snakepit and his latest solo work. Vocals are provided by effortlessly cool Alter Bridge frontman, Myles Kennedy – an incredible find for Slash as he pays tribute to GNR songs with all Axl’s rasp and high squeals, while also bringing something unique to the remaining set list. However, Axl is an impressive performer to surpass, and the standout vocal tracks for me were in fact from the ‘Slash’ album – Ghost – originally sung by The Cult’s Ian Astbury, and Starlight, co-written and made for Kennedy himself.
…Slash bounds about the stage with the enthusiasm of a much younger rock god.
Performing songs made famous by another, to an audience made up of fans all too familiar with the originals, next to the co-writer and legend of the original band; it can’t be an easy task, but Myles exudes calm and never even breaks a sweat. In this respect he’s far removed from the mad, gauntlet-running Rose and is surpassed in the energetic stakes by Slash himself, who bounds about the stage with the enthusiasm of a much younger rock god. But Myles’ relaxed take on frontmanship is no bad thing and allows focus on the job at hand, singing without fault.
Not only does he carry off the notes, the styles of different songs recorded by a wide array of artists on Slash’s ‘solo’ offerings, but Kennedy really seems to feel the words within them. He preaches the lyrics to the crowd and seems genuinely aware of the privilege to be performing with such music and talent.
…Brent Fitz, who, while looking exhausted from approximately the point of song two, grins from ear to ear throughout.
He’s not the only beaming face on stage either. The whole band are in fine form and teeth are glimpsed more than once, not least from the drummer, Brent Fitz, who, while looking exhausted from approximately the point of song two, grins from ear to ear throughout. Even the corners of Slash’s usually intense mouth upturn once or twice.
Part of Slash’s charm and intrigue come from his silence – years spent so prominent on stage and yet rarely words said, what with frontmen as mouthpieces and his guitar saying plenty. But on stage in Stoke he does greet the crowd, thank them and promise to be back in 2012, clearly lapping up their enthusiasm as much as they’re enjoying the show.
A group hug and a bow and the gig is finished in an apt feel-good style.
The remainder of the band is introduced towards the end – Bobby Schneck on rhythm guitar and Todd Kerns on bass, who even took centre stage for Doctor Alibi where his gruffer, lively style produced a welcome contrast to the main set. A group hug and a bow and the gig is finished in an apt feel-good style.
Above all, never mind the skill, the vibe is palpable. Band and crowd reliving old songs and rocking out to the new; the riffs are too infectious to do anything but sing along or bang your head to. This DVD is worth the purchase for every Slash fan out there, old or new; though I’m sure it’s far from the last chance to see Slash and hopefully only the start of this line-up’s time together.
Image courtesy of Saul Hudson