April 29, 2005

Velvet Revolver Shoots Through Rockford

By Randy J. Klodz

Northern Illinois just got a taste of a monumental supergroup for the second consecutive week. Just as Audioslave hit Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom on April 22, Velvet Revolver and its “Electric Wonderland Show” invaded the Rockford MetroCentre on April 29.

Velvet Revolver--which includes former Guns N’ Roses members Slash (guitar), Duff McCagan (bass), Matt Sorum (drums); former Stone Temple Pilots front man Scott Weiland (vocals); and former Suicidal Tendencies member Dave Kushner (guitar)--is touring behind a Grammy win and the 2004 debut album “Contraband.”

Scott Weiland took the Rockford MetroCentre stage last, dressed in a red-backed vest, and black, police-style hat, and reflective sunglasses, as his Velvet Revolver bandmates began the set with the intro to “Sucker Train Blues.”

Fans dedicated to the career of each of the band member’s previous work were treated to a 120-minute set complete with Stone Temple Pilots songs “Crackerman” and “Sex Type Thing,” the latter in which Scott Weiland performed in a stage-left seating section among fans. “People say I’m crazy for doing this,” Weiland said stationed among fans during “Sex Type Thing.” “They say that you’ll rip me to pieces, but I trust you. This is equal opportunity participation with five of us on stage and a few thousand fans.”

But that was just one of the many surprises Velvet Revolver had in store. Along with Velvet Revolver songs “Big Machine,” “Headspace,” “Do It For the Kids,” and the hit songs “Slither” and “Dirty Little Thing,” Velvet Revolver performed Guns N’ Roses hits “It’s So Easy” and “Mr. Brownstone,” which rose the already deafening decibel level of the sold-out MetroCentre.

Other surprises include a cover of the Pink Floyd hit “Wish You Were Here” and a shocking appearance of Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos of Rockford-native rock band Cheap Trick. The two appeared on stage with Velvet Revolver and performed the Cheap Trick hit “Surrender,” an obvious choice for the hometown favorites.

Often, critics have been skeptical of the shelf life of supergroups, but with both Audioslave and Velvet Revolver selling out Northern Illinois venues in one week, these bands may be both on the brink of becoming something larger than anything anybody has imagined.

The fun doesn’t end for Chicagoland Velvet Revolver fans, as the “Electric Wonderland Show” will make another Chicago area appearance this summer when Velvet Revolver invades the Tweeter Center on Aug. 13. Tweeter Center is at 19100 S. Ridgeland Ave. in south-suburban Tinley Park. Tickets for this all-ages show go on sale May 7 and are listed for $23-$48 each. For more information on Velvet Revolver log on to www.velvetrevolver.com.
Velvet Revolver Photo: Annamaria DiSanto