Whistle Fail: A Tale of Slash and Myles Kennedy

Tonight we went to The Warfield and saw Slash (featuring Myles Kennedy). We bought tickets that were decent third row Upper Loge on Slash’s side of the stage. We were right in front of the speakers, which was cool because it was an extra loud show.

We got into the city and went to Taqueria Cancun for dinner and I was quite puzzled when we walked in and there was no line. Everyone was already in line for the Slash concert across the street. The line for the show wrapped around the block. The non-line at the Taqueria got me a really tasty carnitas burrito and my wife a very messy chicken super taco very quickly.

After dinner, my wife called the guy we were buying tickets from and we met him and his guest in front of the Money Mart a few doors down from The Warfield. My wife obtained one of the Abbey Road Live flyers advertising the sales of the two cd set of the show. We got in with no real search, just a quick “What’s that in your pocket?” which I replied “My wallet.” Half of the crowd had cameras, the other half had iPhones or Android phones.

We got to our seats and settled in and a few minutes later the opening act came on to Michael Buffer announcing to the theme to Rocky. It was kind of cheesy, which is what the band was as a whole. They had metal hair and tried to recreate “classic rock” in a way that wasn’t awful but kept making me think of Wyld Stallyns. The lead singer even looked like a clueless Ted “Theodore” Logan from time to time. Taking Dawn, the opening band, are best known for their cover of a Fleetwood Mac song and apparently for pissing off Gene Simmons for cursing during an opening set for Kiss in Europe. I don’t know that they’ll get much further than that but they tried to rock and that’s better than some bands we’ve seen.

Slash’s band took the stage a little after nine and played a mixture of new “solo” material, Velvet Revolver, Guns n’ Roses and Slash’s Snakepit songs. Slash threw in a bunch of solos seemingly to pay tribute to Led Zeppelin and mainly riffs of Jimi Hendrix songs. In one very extended solo, Slash’s battery unit ran out on his guitar mid-jam and he had to switch off to another guitar, where he promptly picked up and continued the jam. It made me wonder if Hendrix were still alive if the same would happen to him. Technology.

The band put on a respectable performance, but I still really couldn’t get behind Myles Kennedy, formerly of Alter Bridge. He’s the guy that temporarily replaced Scott Stapp in Creed. He had to try to rhyme apple and pear together in a song. I’m sure it was easier for him to emulate Axl Rose and Scott Weiland than Scott Stapp. At any rate, Kennedy did his best. The new band’s version of “Sweet Child o’ Mine” was pretty great. Their version of “Slither” was also a good cover but that is what this show felt like to me, a Slash all-star cover band.

There’s a reason I’ve never gone to see Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band. They’ll never be The Beatles and Ringo was the least talented in the group. Slash is not the least talented member of Guns n’ Roses, by far. Slash is my generation’s Hendrix or Clapton. He has performed with tons of other artists and gained the respect of his peers and fans around the world. I’d just like to have seen him with Guns n’ Roses or Slash’s Snakepit a bit more than seeing him for the first time with this new band.

It was kind of like seeing Chris Cornell with Audioslave for the first time instead of Soundgarden, but more like seeing a Cornell solo show with a band of misfit toys instead of the backing band from Rage Against the Machine.

It was great to see Slash, who seemed healthy and happy to be there. He hasn’t lost his touch on the guitar and performed really well for the almost two hour set.

Kennedy was the only somewhat weak factor in the band. There was a point in the show where he said how great it was to be performing at The Warfield for the first time, while everyone else on the stage had played their many times before. I just read that he’s got tinnitus which makes me respect him a lot more. The man can’t hear but can belt out Axl Rose and Scott Weiland covers like a champ. The other point in the show where Kennedy didn’t seem to hold up his place as the “front man” was when a fan passed forward a laminated card that said “Paradise City” with a whistle wrapped around it. Kennedy dropped the whistle instead of using it. Whistle Fail.

Otherwise, it felt like a 90’s rock band playing 90’s rock band songs. But better than I would play them on Rock Band.

It was a fun show and I’m glad we made it. We ordered a copy of the two cd set of the show which we’ll be getting in the mail in a couple of weeks. It will be a cool souvenir of the night we saw 1/6 of Guns n’ Roses, probably the best 1/6 we’ll see.

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