Firstly I have to say I was shocked that Slash announced a tour of smaller venues (and equally as happy!) as I’m pretty sure he could have drawn an excellent crowd at the arena, but I’m certainly not complaining! Having seen Alter Bridge in Newcastle Arena last year I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see Myles Kennedy up close at probably my favourite local venue, and let me tell you, he didn’t disappoint!
The Queue was massive by the time we got there as the crowd for the sell out (and it was packed to the rafters!) show all gathered in anticipation of seeing the legendary former Guns N’ Roses axe man and his band. It was a very mixed crowd with a lot more ‘kids’ in attendance than I expected which was good to see, although I don’t think I’d have risked taking my little ones along unless I had seated balcony tickets! I’m pretty sure the original tickets sold out in a matter of a couple of hours so I was very happy that we managed to get two. (Thanks Julie!)
Local lad Ginger Wildheart opened the show with his new band, including a female backing singer; and he really got the crowd warmed up, ending with the stonking old Wildhearts song ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ much to the delight of the ‘oldies’ in attendance (and I am including myself in that category!)
Myles’ Alter Bridge band mate, Mark Tremonti was the second act on the bill and damn was he loud? I hadn’t heard any of his solo project before the night and I was massively impressed (and off out to buy the CD asap – watch out for a review!) Tremonti went over hugely with the audience (apart from the idiot behind me that, after spilling beer down my back proceeded to slaver on about how he didn’t know who was on the stage!) The Tremonti project is backed up by such credible musicians as Wolfgang Van Halen & Eric Friedman and it goes without saying that they are definitely worth checking out if you can in the future.
By the time the ‘main eventers’ were due on there wasn’t much room to get your beer to your mouth in the standing area! They burst onto the stage and the crowd went absolutely f’ing MENTAL like I have never seen in the Academy before! Kicking the show off with Halo and then straight into the GNR’s classic Nighttrain I was severely trampled on and loved every minute of it!
Slash is a legend without question, but putting Myles Kennedy on vocals was probably the wisest career move he ever made! This guy has the whole package, with an amazing vocal range and stage presence it was all I could do to remind myself that Slash was actually in the building! (Sorry!) He can belt out the harder tunes as good as, if not better than, Slash’s other front men, but when needed he can sing the ballads like I’ve never heard before in my life and captivates the entire audience without arrogance or over the top showmanship. He is what he is, a natural talent! (And seems like a bloody nice bloke as well!)
Slash of course delivered some blistering solo’s including the Godfather theme and at one point even our National Anthem! There are only a handful of guitarists I would pay to see do solo’s, Slash is in the top 5 for sure!
Bassist Todd ‘Dammit’ Kerns got on the mic to give Myles a bit of a break, singing Dr Alibi (A song Slash wrote with Lemmy) that sent everyone leaping around like nutters again. Todd also made an excellent effort at the GNR’s song ‘You’re Crazy’ but to be honest I couldn’t hear it all that well because everyone and everything was so amped up it was unreal!
Some of my faves of the night were definitely Starlight, which was played perfectly and got the crowd slightly calmed down before the storm that was leading up to the finale! Slither, awesomely performed to the point of me wondering why Scott Weiland ever bothered to open his mouth at all! Sweet Child O’Mine is probably one song that no one should touch right? Totally wrong! If you haven’t heard Myles perform this with Slash then look it up on You Tube and prepare to be blown out of your seat! Mark Tremonti came back on stage to perform the Alter Bridge song ‘Rise Today’ with Myles and it was awesome to see them back together again even though I think they could have picked a better AB song… Metalingus maybe? (I know I’ve got a one-track mind!)
Ending the very long (thank you Slash!) set with Paradise City was a fantastic way to bid farewell to the Newcastle crowd and again, I was stomped on repeatedly but who cares?!
One of the best gigs I’ve ever been to! Slightly sad that it probably will never happen again in such an intimate venue, but eternally grateful that it DID and that I can say I was there to witness it! The Academy staff were excellent, pretty much leaving us to be crazy until it was a safety issue! I only saw them drag out one guy (not sure what for) but hell the SAS couldn’t have gotten in and gotten it over with as fast as those guys did! It is one of the best smaller venues in the North East and gives music fans a place to see bands up close (even if you’re at the back you still feel up close as oppose to the massive arenas some bands have to play) so if you do get chance to see one of your faves there take it while they’re still playing small venues because it may only happen once!
Over all it has to be a ten out of ten gig. I can’t fault any of it at all! Thank you Slash, Myles and The Conspirators! Thank you Newcastle Academy!
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