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SLASH Live In Dublin, Ireland

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 @ 6:45 PM

At 3 Arena, November 10th, 2014

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A regular visitor to Irish shores over the last nine years, SLASH made a welcome return to Dublin's recently renamed 3 Arena tonight, Monday 11th November, 2014. Having played several other Dublin venues since, the last time the cat in the top hat strode the boards at tonight's venue was on Wednesday, 12th January, 2005 as part of VELVET REVOLVER's Contraband European Tour. That particular night lives long in the memory, not just because of the memorable show delivered, but because of the weather conditions outside; the night was as bitterly cold as an ex-wife.

Tonight's gig is the first show of his eighteen date tour of Europe in support of the recent studio release, World On Fire. To his credit, each one of SLASH's seven post-GUNS N' ROSES studio albums have been solid, decent efforts. Each album contains four to five outstanding songs worthy of single release, any number of great riffs and great guitar solos throughout, wide ranging lyrical content, all delivered with a razor sharp street-wise edge that brought GUNS N' ROSES to prominence back in the late Eighties. World On Fire is no exception. New songs such as "Beneath The Savage Sun", "The Unholy", "Safari Inn", "Too Far Gone", "Bent To Fly", "30 Years To Life", "Wicked Stone" and the title track, "World On Fire" are all worthy additions to the guitar maestro's impressive back catalog.

A venue that was completely refurbished and expanded in 2007,there are seven thousand floor standing spaces and eight thousand seats totaling an overall capacity of fifteen thousand people. A crowd of about ten thousand people are in attendance for tonight's show. That's quite an impressive crowd for a man whose solo career really only began officially in 2010 with his eponymous debut album. Cynics would argue that being originally a key part of one of the biggest rock bands of all time should enable a man to trade off his name forever and a day. However, given the high standard of all of his post GUNS N' ROSES material and regular stunning live performances, it's quite clear that SLASH is not prepared to go through the motions in the name of easy money. Since 2010, SLASH has been booked to play increasingly bigger venues in Dublin and his current European tour itinerary lists impressive size venues throughout. That indicates a solo career in good health, not a nostalgia act playing to ever smaller crowds in ever smaller venues.

Tonight's events were kicked off by Canadian quartet, MONSTER TRUCK. Formed in 2009, their recently released debut LP, Furiosity is an interesting, worthwhile cocktail of Southern boogie rock, heavy stoner/desert rock grooves, tight guitar solos and clean, soulful vocals. Obvious influences on this band are KYUSS, BLACK SABBATH, LYNYRD SKYNYRD and Pepper Keenan-era CORROSION OF CONFORMITY. An earth shaking thirty five minute set tonight which began at 8pm was delivered to the approving roars of the seven thousand people in the already full standing section. If you get the opportunity to see SLASH live on this tour, do your best to turn up early at the venue, so you don't miss MONSTER TRUCK.

As is customary for gigs at arena size venues, the traditional stage backdrop bearing the artists name and logo and their most recent album's artwork is usually accompanied with big screens and a lighting show not usually seen at club size venues. While most knowledgeable music fans fundamentally pay out their hard earned to hear their favorite band's music, an arena show done thoughtfully and properly with good stage production can really compliment the tunes on offer(a good example of this was witnessed at QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE's recent Dublin show at the same venue). On both sides of a massive black backdrop banner bearing his and Myles Kennedy's band name and the top hatted smiley face from the, World On Fire album cover, SLASH set his stage up to include eight personal amps and six large lighting stacks across and above the back of drum kit, which faced the crowd. Added to this were a further ten search lights, again facing the crowd and another set of strobe style lights. The use of giant video screens were dispensed with, the stage production clearly focused on optimum use of his own custom lights and the impressive house lighting system. As was seen at the aforementioned QOTSA gig, the production tonight certainly complimented the quality of music on offer, at no point did it distract from it or impede it.

Starting the two hour gig at exactly 9pm with "You're A Lie" off Apocalyptic Love, "Nightrain" followed without pause from the headliners. Third song of the night, "Halo", also culled from Apocalyptic Love, was delivered in quick succession and then the THIN LIZZY-esque, never played before live "Avalon" was played, no doubt to the approval of Mrs. Philomena Lynott (mother of Phil) who was in attendance. Before cranking up "Back from Cali", the audience were lit up by the stage lights to enable the band to see their fans in full. "All I can say is wow, Dublin" was Myles Kennedy's reaction to the size of the crowd in the venue. Smiling and shaking his head simultaneously, he genuinely seemed stunned at the sea of people looking back at him. The sound in the venue was crisp, crystal clear and the band's delivery tight. There was very little stage talk in the first hour of the show, something SLASH addressed personally, nine songs into the gig. "Dublin, how are you doing so far? It's great to be back. Ok, I'm not going to waste any time yapping, here's Todd Kerns" was his way of introducing Kern's vocal duties on "Doctor Alibi" and "You're Crazy". There were six GUNS N' ROSES anthems played on the night including "You Could Be Mine". SLASH chose to run its intro and solo through his wah-wah pedal, an idea which may have been to shape a new dimension to a song which was the most Appetite For Destruction-sounding song off Use Your Illusion II. A move that may raise the eyebrows of GUNS N' ROSES purists when they hear about it, it could have been a move SLASH decided upon given his reputation for setting himself new challenges. While respecting his well known desire for innovation, on this occasion, I'd side with the purists.

Ten songs into the show, five of the next six songs played were tracks from the new record. "Wicked Stone","30 Years To Life" and "Beneath The Savage Sun" were played back to back, exemplifying the focus and intensity that's in abundance on the new album. This three song section of the concert really stood out as a particular highlight of the evening, as the musical diversity and dynamics contained in these songs indicates SLASH's determination and ability to produce top quality material. He hasn't lost any of his sense of humor either. Having just played "Beneath The Savage Sun" live for the first time ever, he quipped, "Thanks a lot for the encouragement. We didn't know if we could actually play that live!". "Rocket Queen" was the song that was placed between the run of five songs from World On Fire. A special treat for those fans who attend his live shows is when SLASH takes time to showcase his stunning guitar articulation. Any fret board wizardry that doesn't appear in the set listed songs themselves is usually seen during a section of the gig specifically set apart to do so. Tonight, this was delivered during "Rocket Queen". An eight minute solo exemplified seamless transitions between hammer ons, pull offs, string bends, slides, finger tapping, legato, blisteringly fast picking and strumming, harmonics and phrasing, all demonstrated with aplomb. This virtuoso is clearly determined to keep the spirit of one of his own guitar heroes, Jimi Hendrix, alive through his own expressive, cohesive, integrated attack. Time was also taken during the gig to pay homage to another guitar great, Chuck Berry. SLASH duplicated Chuck's famous stage "duck walk" several times during the show.

"Anastasia", with its stunning guitar solo, taken from the album Apocalyptic Love, was chosen to be played tonight by SLASH with his double necked guitar, "Civil War" not making the set list this time around. Towards the end of the show both Myles Kennedy and SLASH paid tribute to their Irish fans. "This has been a really great night for us, Dublin. Thank you so much for coming out tonight to see us" was the lead singer's personal thanks to those who'd braved storm force winds and driving rain to attend the show. SLASH added, "Dublin, you've been absolutely awesome, we'll see you all again next year" before leading the band into "Sweet Child Of Mine", the growling "Slither" and a one song encore of "Paradise City". The final song of the night was given a stunning accompaniment of stage side blasts of white ticker tape which gave a real sense of celebration to the closing of the show which lasted two full hours and finished at exactly 11pm.

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