Guns N’ Roses fans are pretty passionate about the original line-up of the band and ever since that legendary line-up on Appetite For Destruction went on to better things, fans can never agree on what’s good or not. You’ll see Axl fans trash Slash and Slash fans rip Axl a new one, but for the most part, we never really sit and analyze what we have now.
Slash’s latest release, Made In Stoke, is his second live recording. This one is a deluxe two CD set with a short five song DVD included as a bonus. What’s pretty cool with this release is the grand-ness of it all. From the massive package that holds the three discs, to the stadium-like images that make up the cover art. It’s like the stuff Guns should have been doing in their glory days.
The performance is hot and Myles Kennedy has a killer voice to lead through all the material – and there is more than enough here, as Slash and the band go through the catalog all the way back to the Appetite album. Although the new Guns N’ Roses have a solid line-up of musicians, nothing can beat that Slash guitar sound on songs like Nightrain, Rocket Queen, Civil War and especially Sweet Child O’ Mine. Kennedy does an honourable take on the GNR stuff and might sound better than Axl Rose of late on several of the tracks. Patience, however, lacks Rose’s low vocals, the acoustic guitars and especially Duff’s whistle. Kennedy is not Rose, nor does he try to be. I admire him for taking on the GNR classics with poise and style.
The highlight of the album is The Godfather Solo, which is more than 10 minutes of Slash attacking the guitar, showing us why we loved him in the first place. His old-school style has a ton of feeling and emotion and is a joy to listen to. It’s like the Ace Frehley solos’s from KISS Alive and Alive II, but taken to the next level. Hell, this is the reason why I picked up the air guitar in the first place.
I could sit here and argue for days about who’s better or not better, but the truth remains that the original GNR is not around anymore and we’ve been left with several offshoots, including Axl’s new GNR. I love hearing all these different GNR projects and Slash leads the way with a premium album and a stellar live CD to accompany it. The fact of the matter is that Slash is producing a ton of material, has a killer back-up band and his album was jammed with an all-star line-up.
My name is Dan and I am a Slash fan.