at Øyafestivalen, Oslo, Norway, August 13, 2004

The sun had just set when Velvet Revolver entered the main stage at Øyafestivalen, Oslo. Before them, Norway’s own Gluecifer had delivered a great rock ’n’ roll gig, before they gave Slash & co the task of ending the sold out evening.

A happy and excited audience was as ready as they could get. This outdoor festival is not the biggest one around, so I guess quite a few couldn’t believe their eyes when they first read that Velvet Revolver would be the major headliner this year. After all … there is something about Slash, Duff, Matt and Scott …

They have enough past glories to refer to to sell concert tickets and albums from here to eternity. Unfortunately, their first album released as Velvet Revolver, Contraband, does not contain any song that is strong enough to be remembered as a classic like the ones the guys once wrote for Guns N’ Roses and Stone Temple Pilots. Not one of the Contraband songs is better than any of your top ten Guns N’ Roses favorites. Not even “Set Me Free,” as I back in my album review described as “OK” (Read review here), has the needed charm to establish itself as anything close to memorable in the history of rock.

So why then is it so cool to see them play live? Because everything about their appearance, presence, and playing is ROCK AND ROLL! EVERYTHING! They are all rock and roll icons from their toes to their top hats. Even the less known Dave Kushner on guitar proves he has something to add to this family of legends when he steals the spot light from Slash on the “Set Me Free” guitar solo.

Scott Weiland is not the best singer around (the former Guns N’ Roses guys have never dealt with great singers anyway …), but what a front man he is! 36 years old and frightening skinny (That guy’s threat is not drugs … give the man some food!), he runs all over the stage and poses like there’s no second chance (…or third, to be precise). He uses a megaphone constantly, and commands every note to rock the crowd.

Tracks like “Do It For The Kids” and “Headspace” are too poor in themselves to engage anyone, but when they are performed by Scott and his mates, there is no way the show could get boring. When the set breaks into STP’s “Crackerman,” the roof would have been lifted if there was one … not to mention when the band some songs later performes “It’s So Easy”. This one, the latter, was the only Guns N’ Roses song played this evening. The audience sure was hoping for more of them, but I don’t blame Velvet Revolver for moving away from easy solutions. They have to prove they are more than a cover band.

“Set Me Free” and “Big Machine” were the highlights from their own album. “Fall To Pieces” was good too, a much more enjoyable listening experience live than the quite shallow version on the album. So, it was great fun just to see them, even though their set had a lot of weaknesses songwise. The band appeared like they were enjoying it too. Good old Matt Sorum looked from time to time thrilled behind his drum kit. The other guys had a quite serious approach, but a smiling Slash found the time to talk some bullshit to the crowd in a break before “It’s So Easy.” Anyway, more important, all of them delivered a show that was 100% rock and roll! Nothing short of it.


  • Sucker Train Blues
  • Do It For The Kids
  • Headspace
  • Crackerman (Stone Temple Pilots)
  • Big Machine
  • Fall To Pieces
  • Set Me Free
  • It’s So Easy (Guns N’ Roses)
  • Sex Type Thing (Stone Temple Pilots)
  • Slither
  • Bodies (Sex Pistols)

You’ll find a link to my colleague Metal-Katie’s review of Velvet Revolver’s show in Helsinki, Finland HERE.


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