SLASH ft. MYLES KENNEDY & THE CONSPIRATORS – Zagreb, Šalata, 26.6.2015

“HEY, FUCKERS”
SLASH À LA CROATE

I was eagerly, like a happy little kid, counting the days until June 26th. But, when you live and work in Croatia, even such wonderful things as arrival of one of the rock legends – beloved Slash – can not pass without difficulties. But, I will write more about it later. Don’t really want to make those-who-do-not-deserve to be the stars of this concert report.

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Two warm-up acts for this sort of concert are by far too much. As we sum it all up both of the bands just fell to oblivion in comparison to the rock show that followed. So the question in desperate need of an answer is – why, oh why, the organizer had not found a real piece of a hard rockin’ band to fulfil this warming-up duty? But, as this story goes, the first band to greet us was Luxus Lord.
The band comes from Zagreb and in some ten years of existence has been active for a little more than three. Their twenty-minute set consisted of their own songs. Despite the fact that they performed correctly, I could see they were a bit under stage-fright: as if they do not see themselves competent enough for the task. It was only Stjepan Galić, the bass player, that stood out and made the overall picture seem better.
And then – surprise, surprise – one more band from Zagreb! Hard Time! I am now seriously asking myself if there are other bands in Croatia, you know, ones that are not from Zagreb? The band performed with confidence and they used the opportunity to shoot a video. So there was this guy running up and down the stage with his camera and it felt like guys from Hard Time were playing for him instead for us. But, I have admit, they got the attention of audience that enjoyed the performace.

The wait for 20:50 to finally come and for Slash, Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators to enter the stage was too long. As Hard Time was finishing their part, Šalata was slowly filling up. By the time the first notes of “You’re a lie” started echoing through the air, everything was packed full and the first rows became raging stampede such as we have not seen in Zagreb in a long, long time. The leading single of Apocalyptic Love effortlessly led us to Nightrain – sort of an anthem that Guns N’ Roses wrote way down in 1987 celebrating a brand of cheap Californian wine – Night Train Express. And, yes, we got wasted just by listening to those alcoholic riffs.
The curls, the sunglasses and the top-hat were in place – The God has arrived to Zagreb!

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I have to confess that now I saw for myself that Slash finally found the right people for his persona, and all that is allowing him to fuse with them, creating a hard rock band such as we rarely see or hear these days anywhere in the world. Myles Kennedy is a frontman to-die-for. Apart from shaming very Axl Rose with his singing, Myles has this perfect mixture of charisma, talent and attractiveness that works well with Slash‘s cult status.
Todd Kerns, the bass player, is yet another man made for stage. The thought-out communication with the audience, sending kisses, winking and pointing fingers at the individuals, pulled out oh so many screams and sympathies. On top of that Todd delighted us with his performace of “Doctor Alibi” and timeless Guns N’ Roses hit “Welcome to the Jungle”.
Standing in the front rows has its ups and downs – you can see everything, but you do not have enough space to move freely. Nevertheless, my arms were up in the air (which is why they hurt so much now), clapping and waving. You are one with the masses of people and the music, you can not believe there, in front of you, stands the person that inspired so many rockers to play guitar and listen to this amazing heavy music. Only if some people around you would stop updating their social network statuses… Dudes, FUCKIN’ SLASH is standing in front of you! Who cares about Facebook??

Somewhere in the middle of the second part of the set came “Rocket Queen”, another Guns N’ Roses track with a juicy story behind it. The thing that threw us in trance was the solo that God-King-Legend Slash played at the end of that song. That epic solo lasted for quite some time, it could have lasted for ever because it was beautiful just to hear it.
World on Fire” brought us back to reality and everybody started thrashing around and singing with Myles. The concert culminates with “Anastasia” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (oh, god, yes \m/). When Slash strummed the guitar and that well-known melody, which brings back childhood memories, came to ears, everybody went completely crazy. We sang our harts out, even Myles had to admit we were amazing and all the while he was just standing there watching us, all happy and energetic. Last we heard was “Slither” from Velvet Revolver era when Slash and his gang left the stage. All according to the standard concert folklore.
Šalata screamed “we want more, we want more“. And as it goes, stars of the evening once again come on the stage with a neck-breaking “Paradise City”. Real cathartic performance, I could write only superlatives about it. The concert culminated with firing thousands of white paper confetti into the air thus making this rockin’ evening complete.

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It is not easy writing about Slash – a man who has answered to all of the questions, a man who lived and survived sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, a man who inspired many with this talent, charisma and overall personality. But, there is one little thing to keep in mind as we all think we know everything about him – he is the guy shyly hiding behind his curls and sunglasses. The only thing he is not hiding is his big smile as he plays his guitar, seducing some new people and luring them into his world.

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PS Almost forgot to write about the bad stuff that happened. When the portal you are writing for is a media sponsor of an event, you expect at least to be among the accredited personnel. One press and one photo pass, maybe even an interview. But, no. Being a media sponsor for an event of this sort in Croatia, never keep your hopes high. I can for sure say that redaction of Venia Mag covered and promoted Slash, his work and this concert more than our colleagues at other media houses. And what we got for doing a good job? Not an interview, not even a photo pass, just one little press – and even that did not go down as it should have. While other media houses got press passes for their journalist to come to the concert as “tourists”, I was the only one whose name was not on the list and therefore had to wait as the nice lady asked me “How the hell are you on the list?”
But, as cherry on top, here is one other proof that the concert happened in Croatia – the selection of photographers. Among ten-ish of them in the photopit there was only ONE woman. So I guess that the concert organizers in Croatia clearly think that a) hard rock bands exist only in Zagreb and b) only men should have the opportunity to photograph our Slash.

Report: Martina Šestić | martina@venia-mag.net

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