Scott Weiland’s antics as frontman for Velvet Revolver were worth the price of admission, and we can only hope any aspiring frontman — including the three who preceded him on the Alltel Arena stage on Sunday night — were paying attention.
From the early stand-around grunge style of Stone Temple Pilots circa 1992, he’s morphed into Jagger and Bowie rolled into one, a true rock star in every sense of the word. Velvet Revolver, created by three former members of Guns N’ Roses, was lucky he was available. We’re all probably lucky he’s still alive, as many times as he’s faced rehab for heroin addiction.
But alive and kicking he was Sunday, preening and prancing like nobody else who’s performed at Alltel, and that includes Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. While Slash and Dave Kushner provided the high-octane guitar riffs and bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum pounded out the rhythm, it was Weiland’s wide range and strong voice that completed the Velvet Revolver sound.
Since it was Halloween, Weiland and the group did a sendup of Axl Rose and GN’R, dressing in costume for the first three songs, Weiland doing a dead-on impersonation of Axl. Duff, meanwhile, looked like actor/comedian David Spade in a pink nightgown and tiara. Kushner’s bald head suited his horned devil look, and Slash and Sorum donned masks.
The power-ballad “Fall to Pieces” brought the crowd to its feet, as did a cover of STP’s “Sex-Type Thing” and GN’R’s “It’s So Easy.” Following a two-song encore than concluded with the hit “Slither,” Weiland ran off the stage to a roadie who had a well-earned wet towel in hand.
Of the opening acts, first band Shinedown most impressed with its five-song set, including its hit “45” and a cover of Skynyrd’s “Simple Man,” which led to the lighters coming out early in the crowd of 4,727 fans. Earshot’s frontman seemed to be attempting to channel Jim Morrison, but, as my wife pointed out, the plumber’s butt showing from the ill-fitting leather pants wasn’t working. Earshot’s drummer did shine, though.
— By Jim Harris
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra opened its season Saturday night with a return visit by the 28-year-old violin virtuoso Augustin Hadelich, who had appeared with the orchestra in the Beethoven concerto two years ago.