Heart of Steel: Concert
Ice Hall, Helsinki FINLAND
Review and photos by Marko Syrjälä
aren’t too many bands around who you can call “a super band” but
Velvet Revolver is definitely one of them. Velvet Revolver’s
debut album, Contraband,
debuted at No.1 on The Billboard 200 chart, the best–ever debut
for a rock artist in the Soundscan era. The album was recently
certified platinum for sales of more than one million copies.
More than 5000 people witnessed the Velvet Revolver debut
show in Finland. The expectations of this gig were very high and
not the least because this band has three ex-members from one of
the biggest bands in rock history, Guns ’n Roses.
set started with opening track “Sucker Train Blues” from
and was followed with song “Do it for the Kids”. Slash got the
crowd going and Scott Weiland was running and jumping at the
front of the stage like a mad hatter as they next belted out
another new track - “Headspace”. During “Illegal I Song” the
band gave the audience some time to catch their breath when they
decided to play an extended jam version and Slash did some
splendid solos before they started the first Guns ’n Roses song
of the night “It’s So Easy”.
More songs followed; “Fall To Pieces”, “Big Machine”, “Set Me
Free”, “Used To Love Her” and “Slither” until “Sex Type Thing”,
a song by Stone Temple Pilots, closed the set. They came back on
stage after a couple of minutes and after a short drum solo
which included a little “teaser”, the opening drum fill of “You
Could Be Mine”. The band then slammed through the old gem “Mr
Brownstone”. The Sex Pistols classic “Bodies” finished the set.
It must be said that it is a good song, but most of the audience
didn’t know what it was all about.
The highlights of the show happened (of course) when Slash
and co. decided to open the “old book” and play a handful of old
Guns ’n Roses stuff. “It’s So Easy”, “I Used To Love Her” and
“Mr. Brownstone” totally blew the audience's collective mind.
It’s important for them to play some of that old stuff but it’s
great that they don’t play just best known classics like
“Paradise City” or “Sweet Child O Mine” here. This band doesn’t
want to be a cover band!
Both single cuts “Slither” and “Fall To Pieces” from
get a good response and crowd appeared to know those quite well.
For some reason the Finnish audience didn’t seem to know the
Stone Temple Pilots material too well. It’s kind of strange
because they used to be quite a big band here as well as the
other grunge bands during it's unpleasant heyday in the middle
nineties. And on the other hand, songs of Velvet Revolver aren’t
too far from Stone Temple Pilots in my opinion.
During the past few years these guys have often been in
headlines not only because of their musical achievements, but
also because of their well known problems with drugs and
alcohol. Actually this tour was very close to getting cancelled
because of the problems Scott Weiland has with US authorities.
Fortunately he made it to the tour and managed to do a solid and
highly energetic performance with surprisingly good vocals. With
your eyes closed it could have been easy to imagine that there
was “someone” else singing on stage during Guns n Roses
classics. Let’s hope that things will continue in a good way and
Scott stays out of problems in the future.
With no doubt the star of the night was Slash himself. Maybe
he looks a little older, I couldn’t tell for sure under all that
hair! Otherwise he hasn’t changed a bit in the past 20 years. He
gave a solid performance with some amazing solos. As for Duff,
he also was playing and performing just like in old days. It’s
hard to believe that it’s really fourteen years since I saw him
on this same stage with Guns ’n Roses. The only difference is
that he looks much healthier and he is in damn good shape right
now. Matt Sorum was like he always been, a total professional on
drums. Second guitar player Dave Kushner (ex-Wasted Youth, Cyco
Mike) didn’t get too much room on the stage but he handles his
duties well and even played some leads there and there.
Overall this concert was really good in every aspect. Pure
rock music with great attitude!
success of Velvet Revolver opens doors for other bands like this
in the near future. If you want to find some negative things,
there aren’t too many. The sound wasn’t the best possible which
of course is not band's fault, but the whole concert lasted only
80 minutes!? It could be much longer because there is lot’s of
stuff they could play from the past! I really hope that this
band will go on and they release more albums in the future AND
play longer gigs then…
This tour will last in Europe until the middle of September
and after that it will continue in the U.S. If you have a
chance, go and check them out. You will not be disappointed.
01. Sucker Train Blues
02. Do It For The Kids
03. Crackerman (STP)
04. Illegal I Song
05. It’s So Easy (GNR)
06. Fall To Pieces
07. Big Machine
08. Set Me Free
09. Used To Love Her (GNR)
11. Sex Type Thing (STP)
12. Mr. Brownstone (GNR)