OK, so here’s an enigma. Given that my entire musical history started with and revolves around former GN’R guitarist Slash – why don’t I have a copy of Slash’s Snakepit’s second album?????
I ask, ‘cause it lead to a few moments at the recent Slash gig in Manchester where I was like “what the hell is this”. I’ve heard the album, but don’t know it and only really know one song off it! Why??? Why have I never bought it? God knows!
So yes, I went to see Slash yet again! I actually planned to go at least twice – possibly three times – buy money and other people ruined my chances! I was on the ball at 9am on ticket preorder day trying my damnedest to get tickets for Manchester and his hometown gig in Stoke. Try as I might for two days, I failed to get Stoke. I did get Manchester though, so I wasn’t too disappointed. But I really wanted to go to Stoke!!!!!!!!!
I was planning on going to the High Voltage festival in London for the day Slash played. 2 reasons really, Slash and Judas Priest. I’ve never seen the Priest before so thought It might be cool to see ’em, given they’re planning on calling it a day soon. As it was, I didn’t go. Skint. I was still gonna see Slash in Manchester though!
As you can tell, I was fairly excited.
So after Sonisphere I had a few weeks off, then a fairly busy week of things happening, culminating in Slash (yaaay) then the Batman Live Arena tour which was a great laugh!
We got to sunny Manchester and parked up outside the Apollo, strolled to the back of the mammoth queue that was getting ever longer and waited it out. After 20 mins of hovering (10 of those minutes past doors time – seriously, why can these places never open the doors on time!!!!!!!!) the queue started moving and we headed in. A quick nose at the merch stall to earmark possible buys and it was upstairs to the bar for some expensive cans of Carlsberg.
Supporting were a band I’d never heard of. Japanese Voyeurs. We stayed at the bar and made the executive decision to not watch them. Ross passed comment that we’d probably end up liking these in the future and they’d likely be headlining Download next year, given the habit of ignoring bands we don’t know and then liking them down the line! Incidentally about 2 days later, I caught an ok poppy rock tune with a cute girl singer and thought “not bad, who are these”. Yeah, it was Japanese Voyeurs. Bugger.
Back to the gig. We downed remaining drinks and headed back down to the main standing zone.
On the way past, I decided to get a Slash ‘Nightrain’ t-shirt that I’d been eyeing up online. It was £25 and I don’t usually spend that much on band tees, but it was cool and it was Slash after all! I asked the girl what the sizes were like. Ya know, the American large is bigger than the UK, and she said they were pretty big, so I asked if I could try a large. “Sorry. XL only.”. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”. I walked away. Disappointed.
…but not for long.
Slash was on in a sec, and I was standing there, all excited like a kid on Christmas morning. He came out with Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge and his backing group and blazed straight into… a song I didn’t know!!!!! Picture the scene – Me, very excited to singalong to all my fave songs and “YAAAAAY, SLAAASH….WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?” It was Snakepit tune ‘Been There Lately’.
Still, the show was ace. I didn’t cry! I kept my emotions in check. Last time I got a slight emotional when he played ‘The Godfather’ theme. It was something I’d seen him play on videos of GN’R live stuff when I was first getting into the music and Guns, and I never thought I’d hear it played, so it was understandable. That and he went straight into ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’.
This time though, I just did the usual, I sang along to every lyric I knew (which was most of them) and when it was solo time, I stood in awe with my mouth open in complete stunned silence and watched. Amazing.
They played Guns N’ Roses classics Nightrain, Civil War, Rocket Queen, and Sweet Child O’ Mine, Velvet Revolver’s Fall To Pieces, Snakepit tracks Mean Bone and Speed Parade, Slash’s solo efforts Ghost, Doctor Alibi (with Todd Kearns on vocals), Nothing to Say, Watch This, Starlight, Back From Cali, By The Sword and Promise, Alter Bridge’s Rise Today and the usual guitar solo/Godfather theme medley. I loved every minute of it.
Unusually, at one point, the top-hatted genius whipped out a Gibson Explorer! A guitar shape I think looks weird on everyone who isn’t James Hetfield or The Edge. He still made it look cool. Prefer the Les Pauls though.
They started the long intro to VR’s ‘Slither’, where they introduce the band and I took this queue to make a break for the front… and a piss. I got down the side of the venue and stood and bounced on the spot (and tried to take loads of photos) as they played Slither, just looking for a gap to get down the front. Then it came. One of my all time fave tunes. The familiar drum into of Mr. Brownstone. It was about then I lost all care for the people around me and followed the charge down to the front. Inches from the barrier, and there I stayed throughout Brownstone, the beautiful sing-along of Patience and on through Paradise City.
What an epic show. I could watch that kinda thing every day of the week. It was just brilliant.
Ok, I am still sad I’ll never see Guns N’ Roses with Slash playing these songs, but this is the best it’ll ever be! Sorry Axl, the sham GN’R that you’re spearheading just doesn’t cut it!
Same time next year? Fuckin’ right!!!!