at O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., October 15, 2012

The O2 Academy was absolutely jam packed as guitar legend Slash returned to Newcastle for the first time since Velvet Revolver’s show in 2008, and it was no surprise that this sold out within hours of the tickets going on sale.

Local hero Ginger Wildheart opened the show — still basking in the success of his latest album, 555%, which crashed into the UK Top 10 and was helped by the ground-breaking fan-funding site Pledge Music. The combination of sticky sweet melodies and granite hard riffs proved the perfect opener for the evening.


Next up was Tremonti, featuring Creed and Alter Bridge lead guitarist Mark Tremonti. Despite being the guitarist in two hugely successful bands, Tremonti has still found the time to produce a solo album, All I Was, which sees him heading in an altogether heavier direction than either of his two main bands. Tremonti really had the chance to spread his wings, showing why Guitar World voted him Best Guitarist for three consecutive years.  Tremonti fortunately doesn’t fall into the usual guitarists trap as “Wish You Well” and “Decay” are well crafted songs built around strong melodies and not only highlight Tremonti’s superlative guitar work, but also showcase his rich, powerful vocals.  Tremonti’s All I Was may well be one of the big surprises of 2012.


No one quite carries a top hat with such panache as Slash and with shades in place one of the most iconic figures in Rock was back in Newcastle doing what he does best.  The only thing missing was a cigarette dangling rebelliously from the corner of his mouth.

Slash may have spent the best part of the last decade breaking free from the large spectre cast by Guns N’ Roses, but with his latest and strongest release yet, Apocalyptic Love, he may finally have succeeded.

With Alter Bridge lead singer, Myles Kennedy, by his side, Slash has the perfect frontman with the charisma and vocal range to compliment him in every way.  It is easy to see why he has been coveted by the likes of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page as his versatility is undeniable coping with Guns N’ Roses classics “Nightrain” and “Rocket Queen” and Velvet Revolver’s “Slither” faultlessly.


Although seeing Slash performing such classics as a dramatic “Civil War” and the seminal “Sweet Child O’Mine”, the new material — especially “Anastacia” and “You’re A Lie” — came across so well, confirming that Slash is looking to the future while respecting his past.

Along with Kennedy, Slash has pulled together a potent live band with drummer Brent Fitz and bassist Todd Kerns locking together tightly and when Kerns takes the lead vocals on “You’re Crazy” and “Dr Alibi”, there is a sense that this is a true band set up and not just a vehicle for Slash to exhibit his guitar licks.

As the show entered its closing stages, the appearance of Mark Tremonti joining Myles Kennedy onstage for a run through Alter Bridge’s “Rise Today” was a nice touch and set things up perfectly for a riotous, roof-raising rampage through “Paradise City” … and what a way to end the show.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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