Velvet Revolver - The Wiltern, Los Angeles
Thu, 07 Feb 2008 08:32:41
Scott Weiland Photos
Velvet Revolver Videos
Few modern rock bands warrant buying a concert t-shirt. The shows are expensive enough, and the merchandise prices are hardly ever reasonable. However, Velvet Revolver are more than worth it. In the long merch line before their set at the Wiltern last night, a father waited with his son and daughter. Neither of the kids could've been more than 10-years-old. The little boy said to his sister, "I bet they're going to play three Stone Temple Pilots songs and three Guns N' Roses songs, like last time!" The little girl nodded. With a joking smirk, dad chimed in, "I think they're going to play two White Stripes songs." Both of the kids shook their heads in extreme disapproval. The son replied, "Dad, no one in Velvet Revolver was in The White Stripes! You need to pay attention more!" The father laughed, and he proceeded to buy both kids oversized t-shirts that they would "Grow into," as he put it. Family outings are normally uncharacteristic of rock and roll, but that proves just how good Velvet Revolver are. The band always puts on a rock show for the ages, and that's exactly what their show at the Wiltern was.
After hitting the stage to N.WA.'s "Straight Outta Compton," they got right down to business. Slash kicked into the high-powered riff from "Let it Roll," and all systems were go. His smooth playing never ceases to amaze. He bends each note and rips each solo with a raw passion that can only be described as undeniable. Cuts from the band's latest epic, Libertad, packed just as much punch as the old classics from the band members' respective catalogs. "She Mine" and "Get out the Door" showcased some of Slash's catchiest fretwork to date, while "American Man" allowed for an extended solo that gave the rock god the spotlight. His foil Dave Kushner played right in the pocket, bouncing off riffs with a smooth precision, and Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum kept the grooves bolted down. The slow, brooding licks of "Sucker Train Blues" from Contraband emanated a dreamy, ethereal vibe, highlighting the band's diversity.
Scott Weiland is still one of the greatest frontmen ever. He knows how to ignite a crowd. After the first three songs, Weiland asked, "Are we at rehearsal? I can't really hear anyone out there. Are you out there, kids?" Then after a loud crowd roar, the band fired off the infectious "Do It For the Kids." The hard-hitting tracks were tighter than ever, while the slower fare pulled everyone in. Velvet Revolver encouraged the crowd to get lost in the music, the way any great rock band would. Before the contemplative and poignant acoustic cut "Last Fight," Weiland said, "You wish it was the last, but there's always another one." It's an introspective line that prefaced the pensive ballad perfectly.
Stone Temple Pilots' classic "Vasoline" had a newfound intensity courtesy of Slash's soloing. While "Interstate Love Song," still felt vibrant after all of these years. Slash busted out a Spanish-style acoustic solo during "Patience," breathing new life into the Guns' track. He took over the song with that classical flare, before Weiland's vocal crescendo. Of course "It's So Easy" and "Mr. Brownstone" transported us right back to the Sunset Strip circa 1987. The kids in the merch line were 100 percent right: three STP songs and three G 'N R songs. During "Sex Type Thing," Weiland let loose. In the middle of the song, he writhed and howled while dancing, evoking Martin Sheen's classic turn as Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now. It was cathartic, powerful and utterly real. Closing the near two-hour show with an incendiary rendition of their first ever single "Slighter," it was evident that Velvet Revolver are just as powerful as their members' original bands. Do not miss these legends live. You'll definitely NEED to buy a shirt.