Slash Feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators
Gallery By TESS
Gallery By TESS
Fans of hard rock from all over have been keenly anticipating this night for a long while and for a range of extremely exciting reasons, not least of which is the return of the string shredding maestro himself. For we the fan faithful assembled at Margaret Court Arena, the presence of Slash is worth the ticket price alone but so much more is placed upon the table of hard rock heaven and we seated ready at the banquet await serving of pure delight.
Our smorgasbord of incredible offerings this evening is liberally seasoned with an array of items worthy of celebration and certainly the cause of many months and for some lifetimes of eager anticipation. I am by no means alone in yearning to hear the golden voice of Myles Kennedy since his last visit with Alter Bridge but also following the release of his long-awaited solo album Year Of The Tiger last year. An evening of listening to Myles sing is rock joy for all those who have experienced his unique and magnificent style and his work with Slash over the years has enhanced his appeal significantly with opportunities for style exploration and dare I allege a few prompts from Saul himself to engage unfamiliar territory head on. Myles was, in fact, hesitant to join the Slash entourage initially but following a few no-shows and some enriching discussions with Slash, Myles took to the mic on a more permanent basis and contributed to the Slash debut album and has featured on three more since, namely Apocalyptic Love in 2012, World on Fire in 2014 and the latest magnum opus Living the Dream in 2018. The unique style and appeal of Myles Kennedy are two of many reasons that he is widely regarded as a musical magician. For me, he has stamped his signature as one of the greatest musicians and rock vocalists of all time and to witness his prowess in bewildered awe once again, is a privilege indeed.
Another reason for keen anticipation and rejoicing tonight is the aforementioned fact that the 2018 Living the Dream album is just so astonishingly magnificent and to think that we will be treated to some of the tracks from that very collection tonight is quite overwhelming. Many of us in Australia tonight are very thankful to TEG Dainty for arranging an Australian visit so soon after the release of this incredible album.
Further grounds for merriment is the return of The Conspirators themselves namely (in no particular order goddammit) Todd Kearns, Frank Sidoris and Brent Fitz.
Todd ‘Dammit’ Kearns is a multitalented musician who hails from Saskatchewan, Canada originally and established his flamboyance, musical skill and technical prowess as a singer, guitarist, writer and producer over many years and a plethora of quality ventures. His distinguished list of achievements includes work with Age Of Electric, Brent Muscat’s Faster Pussycat, Sin City Sinners, Toque with bandmate Brent Fitz and a myriad of collaborations along with brilliant solo work such as Go Time which demands attention in their own right. Watch him once on stage and you will understand my unreserved enthusiasm to see him perform again.
My enthusiasm extends to the great Las Vegas native Frank Sidoris who formally kicked off his career as a blisteringly brilliant guitarist with The Cab until taking on rhythm guitar duties with Slash and The Conspirators in 2012. His powerful skill as a support to the master need only be summed up in one utterance I heard during a discussion among fans some years ago namely “is he great? He was chosen by Slash and now plays at the right hand of THE guitar god”. Nuff said methinks.
Now all of these musicians are utterly astounding and worth every cent to see solo, but with Brent Fitz at the kit, The Conspirators are complete and the excitement is ready to erupt into celebration. Brent, like Todd, is also from Canada and started out in earnest at the age of 15 with New Alliance and progressed to Seventh Heaven and Shake Naked, but when he struck a Union with heavy hitters John Corabi, Bruce Kulick, and Jamie Hunting, Brent’s exhaustive list of ‘big name’ collaborations really took shape. To say ‘he has shared the stage with them all’ seems to lack sufficient reverence for such a distinguished musical career, but what is due him is the awe of we who know what he can play, how he can play them and how incredibly outstanding a musician he is.
Oh, and a dude called Slash is playing too.
Now if you thought that such a list of reasons for unharnessed glee could not grow any larger we have further special reason to celebrate because supporting on both the NZ and Australia shows are the incredibly talented, monumentally dynamic and amazingly appealing band Devilskin from New Zealand. Consisting of Jennie Skulander, The Nail, Paul Martin and Nic Martin. The elder metal statesmen of this magnificent band from across the ditch are Paul (bass) and Nail (lead guitar) are adorned with red beards for ease of identification (and I believe in homage to ‘Dimbag’ Darryl Abbott) and Nic at the kit is Paul’s son making this quite the family affair, but don’t let that mask the reality that this hard-hitting foursome are a formidable, capable and thoroughly captivating metal force.
As proceedings commence with Devilskin I am witness to history repeating as the crowd assembled are left mouth agape in awe of this sensational band exactly as was the case with every other Australian show I have seen them perform. Devilskin knocked the sock off of Halestorm crowds all over Australia in 2017 and here we go again. Its become quite the game for me to watch the crowd react to this awesome outfit. Jennie possesses the ability to vocalise between the polar extremes of an angelic voice from aloft to the demonic howls of a tormented soul, slightly south of said angel. Nail carries each note and every riff with tremendous skill and often instrumentally entwines with Paul in carrying a hugely appealing cohesive metal sound, all to the skillful beat of Nic at the kit. Nic has long shuffled off the youthful ‘son of Paul’ persona and is a powerhouse drummer with his own style and percussive prowess. As they roll through the hits from their awesome albums Be Like The River and We Rise, along with a few new offerings the raw power of this four creates yet another group of bewildered onlookers who have become fervent admirers of such a brilliant heavy metal band. Every time, every show, 100 percent offered and not an ounce left in reserve. Devilskin thrill each and every time. Tonight is no different. I remember Lzzy Hale rocking side stage to Devilskin in Melbourne in 2017 and I would not be the slightest bit surprised if Slash was doing the same during this blistering set. A thoroughly sensational opener worthy of stand-alone accolades and cries of “headline us Devilskin and make it soon”. Brilliant.
But now to the long-awaited main event and no matter the passage of time, opportunities to speak with these living legends in interview or encounters in person, nothing seems to ever dilute the raw thrill and bursting chest excitement as Slash, Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators take to the stage.
Launching straight into The Call Of The Wild could not be more fitting nor thrilling. As the first offering on Living The Dream, this is the perfect beginning to the show and reality sets in that they are finally here and right before us.
Halo follows as track two and immediately it is apparent that we will be encountering a mix of tracks from the Slash catalog to fuel a thoroughly amazing show.
As the fog of wonderment fades and one incapable of considering what makes this band so very special. As one gapes in amazement at the incredible skill of Slash, the tremendous vocal talent of Myles, the rhythmic bass mastery of Todd, the pounding drum excellence of Brent and Frank holding firm in phenomenally tremendous style on rhythm guitar you realise what must surely be at the heart of the pulsing and productive rock monolith. The tremendous wealth of rock experience that each band member brings to this equation must surely explain why everything they touch turns to gold. These people live, breathe and perform everything that is great about hard rock music and really, a modern-day master and living legend in Slash would settle for nothing less than the very best. That is exhaustive evident here tonight. Each element of raw talent working together as a rock collective hive of brilliance. Coincidentally and at that moment I find myself lucky enough to be near some newcomers to the Slash live in concert experience and I realise just how many have come to see the master at work for the very first time. Loud, excited, even violent exclamations of adoration for the bands’ performance, all in the moderately fruity Aussie vernacular are a joy to behold. Neither should you hold back. The assembly of rock royalty before us providing practiced, polished performance and turned up to eleven is the stuff of legend.
Long held fan favourites prompt thrilled screams of approval for an adoring crowd. This band sure know exactly how to keep a pulse of energy through a live performance to the point where even the crowd will be thoroughly spent by the finale.
I find myself contemplating the tremendous myriad of influences and collaborations that have helped forge the music presented by this awesome outfit. We’re All Gonna Die from Slash’s solo debut I leave me expecting Iggy Pop to blast onto the stage but then a sadness passes over me that Doctor Alibi from the same album will never again prompt gravelly brilliance of Lemmy Kilmister.
The thrilling hits keep rolling through like a freight…no… Nightrain! Well, its mandatory at a Slash gig anyway and it pumps the crowd up like always. A very different atmosphere to the bands’ last appearance in Melbourne at Festival Hall during Soundwave sideshows in 2015 but no less a thrilling experience. Every inch of Margaret Court arena is a writhing celebration of rock.
Todd’s backing vocals on Halo are tremendous and Slash just keeps proving with every note that he is a living guitar god whose excellence and inventiveness keeps getting better with every day that passes.
Starlight is always a significant highlight as the track that started it all for Slash and Myles. The track was written by the pair for the debut album, sung by Myles on that esteemed collection and marking the genesis of this brilliant collaboration. This is, of course, the perfect moment for illuminated iPhones and, believe it or not, some old school cigarette lighters. Ever the dedicated professional, Myles thumps his chest correcting the occasional hoarse note back into order. We later discover that he has been ill and wasn’t sure if he could perform but delighted the Melbourne audience with the reassurance that the crowd energy kept him firing. And who could ever allege that Myles is capable of a bum note. The man is an incredible vocalist and even Slash uttered: “I only play guitar, this guy fucken’ sings”. After band intros and Brent’s ‘crazy drum shit’, a bra is thrown to the stage in obvious fan appreciation for the support? Anyway, the roadie was loathed to pick it up as it was unceremoniously kicked to stage left.
As the band ignite the World Of Fire and retire from their last set track, and despite a mammoth and thoroughly captivating performance the crowd loudly demands an encore from this thrilling group.
Thankfully they oblige with a fitting encore of Avalon from World On Fire followed by the haunting and epic Anastasia from Apocalyptic Love and alas that brings about the end of another monumentally phenomenal concert of epic proportions.
The one key element that separates a show from Slash, Myles Kennedy, Todd Kearns, Frank Sidoris and Brent Fitz from any other, for me at least is the overwhelming feeling that you are aching for it to start all over again. One could watch each of these artists performing on their own for hours and still be amazed by their incredible talent but them all together is life changing. It’s a little unfair to go to a gig following this and then have those others compete for your choice of year topping show. Or lifetime favourite for that matter.
At least we have the chance to jump a Perth bound plane to see them one last time before they bless other regions of the world with their musical master. But then the wait begins. The longing for Slash, Myles and the Conspirators to return and thrill us all over again so completely with utterly brilliant performances and the most sensational of hard rock music.
The last wait was four years and tonight made every second so very worthwhile. Somehow together the group seems even more thrilling than ever before. Yet the feeling of bewildered bliss has you wondering….could they return later this year, made next or perhaps the year after because you can’t wait for their return and witness it all over again. Then you realise how few bands leave you feeling as such and hope abounds for a speedy return.
Thank you, Slash. Thank you, Myles. Todd, Brent and Frank, You have done it again. Your skill, your soaring performances and your determination to utterly thrill. The show of a lifetime and fond hard rockin’ memories abound forever. A treasured benchmark in our very existence. How many are capable of this? Thank you TEG dainty.
Review Contributed by Casper
Look, when I found out that I was going to be seeing Phil Collins live in concert… I’ll be honest… I squealed and started dancing in my living room. If I had to compile a soundtrack to my life, this genius would be found in the list more than just a couple of times alongside the memories of my baby brother singing along with I Can’t Dance and declaring it as his favourite song, to never EVER getting tired of In The Air Tonight, even when it featured in nearly every single ad break on the TV. Surely everyone has had a moment with Mr Collins? Dancing to Sussudio and wiping tears away to Another Day In Paradise…
So here we are – Suncorp Stadium on a warm Saturday evening in Brisbane. Phil was due to step out at 8 but has kindly held off to make sure that more people can find their seats before the start of the show. For now, we are treated to background music and a slideshow on the big screen of shots of Phil from across his long and colourful career.
Before long the stadium lights go out and a single white spotlight appears on the pitch black stage – Phil steps into the light, assisted by his cane and half way across throws an arm up into the air, waving out to the crowd. He hooks his cane over the back of his chair and sits down, taking a moment to greet the fans and offer an explanation for his diminished mobility… He does so with a bit of humour which is immediately received well by the crowd and serves well as the ice-breaker – if anyone can inject a feeling of intimacy into a stadium show without having even yet broken into song, it’s Phil Collins.
Against All Odds is the first song, followed by Another Day In Paradise – I’ve just shed my first tear of the night. Phil’s voice is unwavering and still projecting as much emotion as ever.
After Can’t Turn Back The Years, Phil says we’re in for some tracks from No Jacket Required and the band bursts into Inside Out followed by Who Said I Would accompanied by some very appropriately retro neon 80’s imagery on the screens – even more of Phil’s cheeky side comes out during this performance and it’s a treat to see.
Phil takes a moment to lovingly and playfully introduce the entire backing band one by one. Last but not least, we find out that the person who has been expertly keeping the beat behind the kit is Phil’s own 17-year-old son, Nicholas Collins!
A simple starlit backdrop brings the intimacy level back as enigmatic backing vocalist Bridgette Bryant takes a seat beside Collins for a spine-tingling emotional duet, Separate Lives.
Once their duet is over, it’s time for a slightly different one – Nicholas bursts through with powerful drum beats instantly lifting the energy and so begins a drum duet with world-renowned percussionist Mr. Richie “The Octopus” Garcia (as he was introduced earlier by Phil) … This is EPIC! 17 years old?! We’re all watching in awe as this overachiever battles it out with one incredible percussionist for at least 5 mins. Phil sits just back from his primary spot, closer to the drummers, and watches intently and with approval. I’m having a bit of a moment where I’m filled with empathy for Mr. Collins; a musicians loss of ability to play their instrument is like the loss of a limb. But those insane beats take over and I know that, as a parent, that yearning must be completely overshadowed by the tremendous pride he must have in his son right at this moment.
Phil turns back to face the audience and places on his lap a slap-top Cajon. Nicholas and Ritchie grab a Cajon each from their opposite sides of the stage and meet in the middle with Phil for what is one of the most special moments I’ve ever witnessed at a show. It’s simple, but oh so powerful, and Phil shows us that he still has it!
As if that wasn’t moving enough, after Heaven, we have Nicolas moving down from the drum rise to a piano, Phil sitting close beside him. A few gorgeous exchanges of jokes between the two and it was revealed that Nicolas taught himself the piano part for You Know What I Mean and together they perform it perfectly and finish with a loving cuddle before Nicolas resumes his position behind the kit for what could be the smash hit song of the night for everyone in this sweaty stadium – unmistakably the atmosphere builds for In The Air Tonight. The bass is rumbling through my body as Phil moves to the front but this time rests his cane and stands centre stage unassisted, as though given an extra boost from this particular mega-hit.
The rest of the night is like a giant dance party with most fans up on their feet and Phil pulling hilariously cheeky facial expressions, often holding the microphone out into the crowd who honestly don’t need the further encouragement to sing-a-long to Can’t Hurry Love, Invisible Touch, Easy Lover, Sussudio… ear-wormed yet??!
Anyone who tries to tell you that their experience was hindered by Phil being restricted to a chair for a large portion of the evening, mustn’t have allowed themselves to be fully embraced by the music and the passion that was quite literally radiating off that stage. Mr. Collins, thank you so much for tonight, and for your many contributions to the soundtrack of my life. You are a living legend and still well worth seeing live!
Review & Gallery Contributed by Elizabeth Sharpe
Gallery by Vanessa Jarvis
The wait is finally over! Eminem will grace our shores for four massive Australian stadium shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and for the very first time Perth in February 2019. Eminem will also travel to New Zealand performing for the first time in Wellington in March 2019 – presented by TEG DAINTY.
Eminem’s fiercely loyal Australian fanbase has been willing for tour dates to be added in this territory, constantly spinning the rumour mill into overdrive, and now their prayers have been answered: the rap god is on his way, special guests will be announced soon and join the line-up for this second instalment of the RAPTURE 2019 stadium tour.
Eminem’s Rapture 2019 tour dates are:
Brisbane – Wednesday 20 February at QSAC
Sydney – Friday 22 February at ANZ Stadium
Melbourne – Sunday 24 February at the MCG
Perth – Wednesday 27 February at Optus Stadium
Wellington – Saturday 2 March at Westpac Stadium
Tickets to Eminem’s Rapture Tour go on sale at 2pm AEDT on Monday 22 October from Ticketek.
A VISA cardholder pre-sale will commence at 10am on Wednesday 17 October through to 10am Friday 19 October.
Eminem’s live show illustrates exactly why he remains the “greatest in the world” of hip hop. The Detroit rap icon’s rapidfire flow, expansive phrasing and acerbic lyrics are awe-inspiring to witness live.
On Eminem’s 2018 headline Coachella set, Rolling Stone gushed, “Everything that made Slim Shady one of the most essential voices of his generation was onstage this weekend.”
When the 15-time Grammy award winner and biggest-selling rapper of all time dropped his surprise tenth studio album ‘Kamikaze’, unannounced, on 31 August this year it was impossible to ignore, flying straight to #1 on the Australian Albums chart where it retained pole position for four consecutive weeks, becoming the MC’s ninth chart-topping album in this country.
And the record-breaking rapper just keeps on racking up the accolades. ‘Killshot’, Eminem’s standalone single, scored the highest 24-hour YouTube debut for a hip-hop video (the third-highest music video debut overall) upon its release last month.
Eminem’s previous Australian visit for 2014’s Rapture Tour thrilled audiences at sold-out stadiums across the country and every seat was filled during his previous Lose Yourself Australian tour in 2011. He’s no stranger to selling out stadium shows in less than 30 minutes in this country.
Paul Dainty, President and CEO of TEG DAINTY said “Eminem is a global superstar and his live shows are phenomenal, we’re proud to once again present his Australian tour.”
You do NOT wanna miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch Eminem live!
Tickets to Eminem’s Rapture Tour go on sale at 2pm AEDT on Monday 22 October from Ticketek.
Eminem’s Rapture 2019 AU tour dates and local on sale times below:
Brisbane – Wednesday 20 February – QSAC – On sale 1pm
Sydney – Friday 22 February – ANZ Stadium – On sale 4pm
Melbourne – Sunday 24 February – MCG – On sale 3pm
Perth – Wednesday 27 February – Optus Stadium – On sale 2pm
Do not buy from unauthorised resale scalper websites. You risk buying invalid or fraudulent tickets.
Gallery By Jose Sanchez