Guns N' Pilots? No, wait ... Stone Temple Roses? Call them what you want, but the all-star group Velvet Revolver knows how to deliver the goods.
Treating the Old Pueblo to a warm-up concert Sunday night at AVA (prior to the group taking over co-headlining duties on the remaining Ozzfest dates for Iron Maiden), Velvet Revolver brought back the essence of a pure hard rock show during its 100-minute set.
The near capacity crowd took it all in--head banging, singing their hearts out and, for the ladies, screaming "I love you Slash" all night long.
No fancy introductions were needed for the band's first Tucson performance. Bassist Duff McKagan walked out, saluted the crowd, stood on a stage monitor and started the opening song, "Sucker Train Blues." Out of nowhere, vocalist Scott Weiland appeared behind Duff, shaking his ass for the crowd, which really roared with approval once hard-rock guitar virtuoso Slash walked out.
"We play motherfucking rock music," Weiland informed the crowd. "To all the Southwestern bitches who like to fuck, this one's for you," Weiland continued before the group kicked into "Do It for the Kids." The song's tempo was quicker in a live setting than the album version, while Weiland experimented with vocal melodies on the song's chorus.
By the fifth song of the night, the group ended any debate about whether they would perform songs from their past or not. "I want to put you in a time capsule and take you back to 1992," Weiland announced before Velvet Revolver ripped into the Stone Temple Pilots fan favorite "Dead and Bloated." The guitar duo of Slash and Dave Kushner added a dose of heaviness to the alternative hit.
Conspicuous by his absence, drummer Matt Sorum was not behind the drum kit due to a recent hand injury. In his place, Billy Idol and former Slash's Snakepit skinsman Brian Tichy filled the void. "We needed someone who could play like the devil and sing like heaven," Weiland told the crowd about the replacement.
A cover of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" was the first encore. As quickly as the crowd was able to ignite their lighters, Weiland took note of the crowd's excitement and had them sing the chorus. "Now that was pretty," Weiland complimented.
From the opening notes, the entertaining Velvet Revolver constantly picked up the intensity as the night went on, making for an evening of pure, raw hard rock.