Wow that was a loud gig! I've been to dozens of heavy rock and metal gigs at Spark Arena and I would say Slash with Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators would be right up the top of the list along the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Slipknot and Disturbed. NZ alternative metal band Devilskin proudly came on the bill as support.
Walking into the arena, I was surprised at the age spread for this concert... there were far more teenagers (and younger) than I expected to see for a veteran performer like Slash. There was a noticeable lack of black t-shirts too - something that I didn't expect with the Guns N' Roses link. (or maybe they didn't want to be seen as 'bogan').
I gotta say, I love Devilskin. Every time I see them perform they seem to get better and better. As soon as they took to the stage, the Auckland crowd went bonkers... and from their first tune Vessel to their finish with Violation, the band fronted by Jennie Skulander (vocals), Tony 'Nail' Vincent (lead guitar), Paul Martin (bass, backing vocals) and Nic Martin (drums) were electric.
Skulander is just simply phenomenal... and her name should be known by every New Zealander. She walked onto the stage in her trademark fishnets looking innocent enough... then started growling down the microphone like she's the devil reincarnated. It's a sight to behold, especially followed up by monster tunes like Start A Revolution and Pray.
It's not just Jennie that makes Devilskin so brilliant. Nic's drumming, Tony's guitar solos and the bass lines of Paul shook the foundations of Spark Arena. I can't understand why this Waikato 4-piece isn't more well-known around the world, because they deserve to be!
Their iconic tune Little Pills and recent single Endo were eaten up by the crowd as Skulander fired a fog cannon above the crowd and started bouncing off the speakers. When their final tune was over, fans wanted more.
Devilskin absolutely rocked, and I definitely can't wait to see them again as soon as I can!
Just before the main act, fans flooded in and almost filled the ground level. It was great to see so many people wanting to watch one of the greatest guitarists of all-time.
When Soundgarden's classic Spoonman was turned off, causing a groan from the rock faithful, the lights went out and there was a huge roar when Slash with Myles Kennedy (lead vocals), Todd Kerns (bass), Frank Sidoris (rhythm guitar) and Brent Fitz (drums) took to the stage . Groans to cheers in the space of 5 seconds, it was classic!
There wasn't much crowd interaction for the first couple of songs, but when Ghost and Back From Cali were played, it got people moving and devil-horns started emerging from everywhere. We saw the first extended guitar solo from Slash after Back From Cali and that's when everyone started to marvel at the legend who was playing in front of them.
Then the well known guitarist came on stage with a double-guitar. People were in awe, the seated concert-goers all pulled out phones to record the playing of this icon, wishing they could all be Slash.
The fun We're All Gonna Die had the crowd all singing along, smiling in unison and it was a perfect choice by the band to ready the crowd for what was next. "For this next one we've got a special guest singer", Myles Kennedy emotionally said quietly into the mic. "He's not here with us, but he's always with us... LEMMY!!!!"
Doctor Alibi was amazing to witness. Slash again stepping up with the quickest finger movement on a guitar you will ever see, with hordes of fans recording the moment and others saluting with devil-horns - the light show quickly turning their raised horns blue, green, red and yellow.
Myles Kennedy's voice was way greater than I expected. The passion in his voice on songs like Bent To Fly and The One You Loved Is Gone at one point had me thinking the band should be named 'Myles Kennedy featuring Slash & The Conspirators'. But I suppose the fans came mainly to see the Guns N' Roses legend.
Speaking of GNR, fans who came to the show were treated to an epic version of Nightrain from Appetite For Destruction, which got the whole place jumping. That energy kept up for the tunes Starlight, You're A Lie and World On Fire before the band left the stage to a massive and longer-than-usual standing ovation from the Auckland faithful.
The encore of Shadow Life and Anastacia could've gone on all night and the crowd would have stayed. Even with the epic extended jam session that seemed to just keep going after Anastacia, the crowd - which took a while to get into their performance, didn't want to exit the arena.
The whole night was a fun, loud and epic experience. Even the bunch of kids who were air-guitaring at the back of the arena during the encore looked like they could keep rocking all night long.
For those people who saw tickets to this show on GrabOne for $59 and thought about buying a ticket but didn't - you made the wrong choice! It was a top night and I want to say thank you to Devilskin, Slash, Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators.