May 24, 2015
South Side Ballroom
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Tim Taylor
Photos by Terry Walsh
World On Fire Tour Sets A Blaze At The South Side Ballroom
As I walked into the South Side Ballroom for the last U.S. show of Slash's World On Fire tour, the aromas of stale cigarette smoke, B.O., spilled beer, and stripper perfume filled the air, and that's exactly how it's supposed to be when you're watching an old-school, high energy rock n roll performance. Most of the rock stars that kept me glued to MTV in the late 80's are showing their age these days, if they're still performing at all, but Slash has never looked or sounded better.
Opening with 2012's "You're a Lie" and jumping right into the Guns N'Roses classic "Nightrain," Slash showed us how a Les Paul is supposed to be played while lead singer Myles Kennedy took command of the audience, keeping everyone clapping and singing along. As the show progressed, even the people who showed up just to hear the Guns N'Roses classics recognized that the new songs from World on Fire are every bit as strong as anything Slash has ever played, and songs like "Beneath the Savage Sun" and the Iron Maiden-esque "The Dissident" showed a higher level of songwriting and composition than we knew he was capable of. Some of the credit for that should go to Myles Kennedy, who is the best singer in rock music right now. Even after constantly touring with two bands, Kennedy's voice never falters, and he sings the old GNR tunes better than Axl Rose ever dreamed of singing them.
Bassist Todd Kerns took over vocal duties for a few minutes, blasting through the punkish "Doctor Alibi" (originally sung by Lemmy Kilmister) and a crowd-pleasing version of "Welcome to the Jungle" that filled us all full of adrenaline for the second half of the show. After that, I couldn't help but think how pissed off Axl must be that even Slash's bass player sings better than he does.
The setlist was put together masterfully, as newer songs like "Anastasia" and "Bent to Fly" balanced perfectly with the old stuff we've known forever such as "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Double Talkin' Jive," and a blistering ten-plus minute rendition of "Rocket Queen." Rounding out the set was a pounding version of Velvet Revolver's "Slither" followed by a sing-along, headbanging performance of "Paradise City."
With Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, Slash has put together a better band and collection of music than any other time in his career. The stuff he plays may not get radio play like the old Guns N Roses stuff did in the 80's and 90's, but he has stayed true to his roots, and continues to put out high quality hard rock music with the raw, dirty guitar sound that only he is capable of creating. World on Fire was the best rock album to come out in 2014, and with this current group of musicians, I can't wait to see what's next. I've heard a lot of talk about people wanting GNR to reunite. Screw that. Those old songs sound better now with Kennedy on vocals than they ever have or ever will with Axl. This band has found their groove, and is a true rock n roll powerhouse.