Slash @ Manchester Apollo
21st July 2011
Review & photos – Frank Ralph
Frank Ralph Photography
Rock n’ F n’ Roll legend Slash wows Manchester on his ‘We’re All Gonna Die Tour’… yowsers!
Living legends don’t come much bigger than Slash. For me, personally, Guns n’ Roses, and Slash in particular are THE reason I love rock music, as I discovered Appetite for Destruction as an impressionable 11 year-old and I have never looked back.
He takes the stage along with Myles Kennedy and the rest of the band, after an old-school introduction from a roadie, and the crowd go mental. It’s nothing short of hysteria in the Apollo tonight, and it feels fantastic to be part of the audience for what promises to be a special show.
The set covers Slash’s whole career and starts with the Snakepit era Been There Lately which gets the night off to a fantastic start, and when the intro to Night Train kicks in for the second track, the 11 year old me gets all giddy.
When they played the Academy last year Myles vocals were really good, but he was ill, tonight they are phenomenal. He delivers every note brilliantly, making the songs from the last Slash album, originally recorded by Myles and other great front men of rock, his own, Ghost and Back to Cali in particular sound immense tonight.
Then we get a double-barrel barrage of my favourite Appetite track Rocket Queen, and the epic Civil War, both of which the audience (me included) sing at the top of their voices.
Throughout his career Slash has performed on so many great songs and Starlight is up there with the best of them, it was a standout track on the last album and live it absolutely fills the room.
We are then treated to what I can only describe as the best run of songs you could imagine to close the set with, and we’re only just over halfway through! It starts with Rise Today, an Alter Bridge song that gets as good a reception as any of the non-Gn’R songs we hear tonight – and makes Myles look right at home.
Then… an immaculate Fall to Pieces is followed by a ten-minute Slash solo jam that starts out with a country blues feel, works itself up into some gnarly crunching riffs and then grows into the Godfather theme… astounding. I’ve read before that Slash says his guitar is his voice, and man has he got one hell of a voice. One moment it’s like a rowdy teenager, full of angst and vitriol, the next it’s a traveled old blues man with stories to tell or an opera singer who’s every note is delivered in dramatic style.
The one thing about having seen the show before was that as soon as I heard the Godfather theme I knew it would lead into Sweet Child O’ Mine, so even though it was amazing, I couldn’t wait for it to finish, so we could hear that immortal guitar intro. The rest of the crowd go ape-shit as well. Almost 25 years on it still sounds fresh.
Closing the main set with Velvet Revolvers sleazy Slither, they all leave the stage to a thundering ovation from the Apollo crowd. That in itself would have meant we’d just seen a great concert… but as they return to the stage with Myles absolutely nailing the vocals to By The Sword (originally sung by Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale) you can feel that they have just stepped it up a notch and are going to go out with a bang.
That bang sounds a lot like Mr. Brownstone, followed by Patience, followed by Paradise City…
… yeah, WOW!
Now, as a Guns n’ Roses fan, that ending felt truly special… but, I do feel though that this is probably the best way to experience it now. I wouldn’t actually want the original line-up to reform as there’s too much bullshit surrounding it all and Axl has systematically destroyed any love I had for him. For me it’s Slash and Myles all the way. They always deliver.
Been There Lately/Nightrain/Ghost/Mean Bone/Back From Cali/Rocket Queen/Civil War/Nothing To Say/Promise/Starlight/Doctor Alibi/Speed Parade/Watch This/ Rise Today/Fall To Pieces/Guitar Solo/Godfather Theme/Sweet Child O’ Mine/Slither/By The Sword/Mr Brownstone/Patience/Paradise City