Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cleveland Concert Reviews: Black Label Society & Slash with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators

This weekend, Cleveland was treated to two outstanding concerts featuring two world class guitarists. It seems like when I was in my 20's that this happened more often. I remember some weeks I had 3 or 4 amazing concerts. This was back in the days when Cleveland was a can't miss stop on most tours.
Friday night, while there was some country concert going on at Progressive Field, Black Label Society was rocking Cleveland at the House of Blues. There is no other player out there that attacks the guitar like Zakk Wylde. Couple that with his voice that sounds stronger than it has in years. It's hard to believe that Black Label Society has been around for 15 years already. Touring in support of their newest CD, Catacombs of the Black Vatican (see my review here), they mixed in the new with some early material and the fan favorites. Throw in a 10+ minute guitar solo and you've got a killer show.
I do have to say that he used some recorded music as the intro to more than a couple songs. That's a huge pet peeve of mine. Luckily, it was clear when the band roared in...the volume increase alone made it easy to see when they took over for the recorded stuff. That's my only complaint. The set list was great and included his heartfelt tribute to Dimebag Darrell during "In This River" which featured Zakk on piano. Here's to hoping that he finds his way back to Cleveland soon.
I was still basking in the concert glow of Black Label Society on Sunday night as I made my way to the Hard Rock Rocksino for Slash with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. This was my first time seeing a show there and I was very impressed. The concert hall was very new and clean and the sound and acoustics were great. If only it wasn't out in the middle of nowhere, but I'll definitely be back there for more shows.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Slash is currently opening for Aerosmith on their summer tour. I was mad they're not coming to Cleveland, but Slash more than made up for it with a 2-hour/20-song show that found him in top form.  He played 3 songs from his upcoming CD that sound like he's picking up where he left off with Apocalyptic Love. The highlight of the night for me was "You Could Be Mine". I was just watching the new Guns 'n' Roses DVD on AXS TV where they played that and thought I'd rather hear Slash play it. So that was an awesome surprise to have him pull that one out. "Rocket Queen" was also incredible as it featured an extra-extended guitar solo that almost seemed tailored to match Zakk Wylde's solo from Friday night.
You can no longer talk about Slash without mentioning Myles Kennedy on vocals, as well as the Conspirators. Myles has a great vocal range and is able to sing all of the solo Slash stuff, but also the G'n'R, Velvet Revolver and Slash's Snakepit songs as well. And, he nails all of them. the Conspirators, Brent Fitz, Todd Kerns and Frank Sidoris, provide the perfect rhythm section to round out the band. I'm hoping this incarnation of Slash will be sticking around for the long haul and they complement Slash very well.
Both of these shows were the types of shows that you just want them to keep playing for days and both have the catalogs that make it hard for them to play everything you want to hear. It was a perfect one-two punch for Cleveland that made for a great rock music weekend and the crowds were perfect examples of why Cleveland is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Capital of the world...and deservedly so!
Did you see either of these shows? What concerts have you seen or are you going to see this summer? Or, just tell me your favorite concert of all time. Thanks for reading and please share this post with your friends!

Set Lists:
Black Label Society
Destruction Overdrive*
Hard and Fast
Funeral Bell
Night Train
Bleed for Me
Standing in the Sun
Heart of Darkness
Back From Cali
My Dying Time
Shots Fired
Damn the Flood*
Stone Blind - NEW
Fire it Up
You Could Be Mine
Guitar Solo
Dr. Alibi
Godspeed Hellbound
Not For Me
30 Years to Life - NEW
Rocket Queen
Angel of Mercy
No More Heroes
In This River
The Blessed Hellride
World on Fire - NEW
Concrete Jungle*
Suicide Messiah
You're a Lie

Sweet Child o' Mine
*Not completely sure if these songs are right

By the Sword - Encore

Paradise City - Encore

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