Velvet Revolver's Forgettable Rock Experience – Review

By | November 23, 2004 at 12:00 AM

After witnessing this incredibly uneventful performance by “super group”

Velvet Revolver, it’s safe to surmise that they’re getting by on history alone. Like many bands before them, they feed off of what their individual names used to mean and are entirely undeserving of the glory bestowed upon them.

Now, before you start firing off hate emails, read on.

Given the wealth of talent comprising Velvet Revolver and the obvious success of debut album Contraband, one cannot deny that this quintet is capable of writing a few solid tunes. The problem is that, aside from purely ego centric reasons, they’re just not ready to headline. The cavernous ACC offers limited intimate interaction, making the show seem impersonal to begin with, and the band didn’t help.

Seeing them take over Toronto’s Kool Haus earlier this year was a far better experience. The band seemed enthusiastic and energized then, whereas on this night they followed the Arena Rock Guidebook to the letter while spewing out the record’s tracks verbatim. Not what one would expect from what singer Scott Weiland defines as “one of the only dangerous rock bands today.” Maybe we expect too much.

Let’s put it this way: when your “big moment” (as all arena shows are apt to have) is little more than the band’s name lit up on a custom sign that resembles something off the front of a burlesque house, you should regroup and rethink your strategy.

Sometimes a weak musical catalogue can be made stronger via visual impact. Not this time. This had to be the most obvious “phone it in” performance ever. The majority of the band (Slash, Duff McKagan and Dave Kushner) were content to meander around the stage in a lackadaisical, indifferent fashion. Weiland did his best to enthrall the respectably sized audience, but after a decade of watching his go-go dancing and primping, he’s quickly on the way to one-trick pony status. If I never see him with a megaphone stuffed in his craw again it will be too soon.

But most people would say that great rock doesn’t require theatrics or gimmicks to get the point across. Agreed. But this isn’t great rock. It’s passable at best. The inclusion of Guns N’ Roses tunes “It’s So Easy” and “Used To Love Her” – fun as they are – are no replacement for your own original songs. They were merely padding for a set that struggled to reach the obligatory 120 minutes.

It’s also tough to buy into Weiland’s justification for a late start time, which he said was because the band’s equipment was held up by U.S. Customs. Why the hell would U.S. Customs need to inspect equipment coming into Canada? Flimsy, Weiland. Flimsy. Almost as flimsy as this forgettable rock “spectacle.”

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