The Guns N’ Roses guitarist once again proves his solo prowess on powerful new live LP
Artist: Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators
Album: Living The Dream Tour (Live)
Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
★★★★ (4/5 stars)
History provides several notable examples of sidemen — and women — achieving fame beyond the confines of their seminal associations. Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck can all attest to the ability to do so. For that matter, so can the individual Beatles. There’s the subsequent success Neil Young attaining after leavingBuffalo Springfield, Joan Jett, who bounced back from the Runaways, Belinda Carlisle who made her name beyond the Go-Gos, Jason Isbell’s graduation from the Drive-By Truckers, and Jerry Garcia who thrived and survived (until he didn’t) outside the shadow of the Grateful Dead.
Still, it’s no easy task. Even the aforementioned John, Paul, George and Ringo were forever judged against the merits of their fab foursome. And for all the swagger bolstered by Mick and Keef in their individual endeavors, it’s their roles in the Rolling Stones that will be construed as their lingering legacy.
So credit Slash for succeeding by way of his singular solo career. While his history with Guns N’ Roses had the potential of subjugating the part he played as little more than a guitar foil for frontman Axl Rose, the eternal internal struggles that plagued that raucous outfit made an independent outing not only necessary, but self sustaining. Granted, his image certainly helped — what with the top hat, bushy hair, nose ring and decided rebel rock countenance — but the fact that he’s maintained a consistent career both in and out of Guns N’ Roses — and in fact is frequently referred to as one of the best guitarists of his generation — speaks to his high standing in the current rock community. Likewise, he quickly proved he was more than simply a determined guitar slinger, having formed two major bands of his own — Slash’s Snakepit and his supergroup of sorts, Velvet Revolver.
Still, like Page and Beck, Slash has to share center stage. A singer has to function as a front man. In this case, it’s Myles Kennedy, who makes a superb showing of his own on Slash’s new live album, descriptively titled Living the Dream Tour. An excellent compendium as well as an ideal introduction for those unaware, it draws songs from his four solo albums over the expanse of two CDs, a DVD and a behind-the-scenes documentary that was prepped for his performance last February at the London Hammersmith Apollo. The songs are, as always, flush with unyielding energy. Indeed, tracks such as “The Call of the Wild,” “Standing in the Sun,” “My Antidote” and “Boulevard of Broken Hearts” demonstrate the passion and prowess that Slash has always held at his command. And. of course, in rock and roll, those are two qualities that are absolutely essential.
Slash, then, will never stay confined to stereotypes or the need to rely on past precepts. Granted, there will be those who will forever identify him with his role in Guns N’ Roses, and given his larger than life role within that circle of bad boys, there’s some reason why. However, with the efforts he’s furthered on his own, there are many more people who rightfully recognize him for the singular star he is. Image is everything, but it takes talent and tenacity to back it up. Slash is now and forever a cutting edge individual.
AUDIO: Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators Living The Dream Tour (Live) (Full Album)