Supergroups generally don’t last very long. In one album and out the next, it is usually a case of too many egos trying to co-exist. A favorite band of mine can certainly be described as a supergroup: Velvet Revolver. The lineup is made up of powerhouses from such great bands as Guns n Roses and Stone Temple Pilots. It is grandiose power rock and a whole lot of awesomeness.
It is the year 2005, Velvet Revolver has just released the album Contraband in the year prior. The album would eventually sell over 2 million copies and even won a Grammy for their efforts. As a result of their success, a tour was pretty much automatic. So, it was little surprise that the tour ended up in Houston, Tx for a show at the Verizon Wireless Theater. The band put on a great show and the crowd was enthusiastic in return.
So, who exactly is Velvet Revolver? Well, let’s see, there is the drummer, Matt Sorum who is most remembered for his seven year stint in Guns n Roses. Going along the GnR vibe, we also have their two awesome guitarists, Slash and Duff McKagan. Joining the band is also the rhythm guitarist, Dave Kushner whose history includes Wasted Youth> and Electric Love Hogs.
Of course, the band also needs a lead singer and well that went to Scott Weiland who was the frontman for Stone Temple Pilots. Off to the concert. The concert opens with a beautiful blonde in a captain’s hat being asked if a Third World War was inevitable. She simply replies, “It might have started already”. From there, the band launches right into Contraband’s first track Sucker Train Blues, a song that defines the band as hard rock in its purest form.
From there they tackle two other tracks from the album, Do It For the Kids and Headspace, each as unapologetic as the last. Then for something a little different, Crackerman is next. This is off the Stone Temple Pilots, Core album. Oddly enough this single was left off Korean versions of the album. By now, as to be expected Scott Weiland has lost his shirt. I consider myself a heterosexual man, but good lord am I envious of those abs.
Anyhow, we get to a much extended version of Illegal I, going almost nine minutes before going into the very famous Guns n Roses song, It’s So Easy. Scott even has the whole Axl Rose sway to him as he pilots through the lyrics. (Did I mention he stole the captain’s hat from the girl?). Anyway, it’s back to more VR singles as we go through three more with the likes of Fall to Pieces, Big Machine and Set Me Free
Fall to Pieces is a rare departure for the band as it delves into the ballad arena and speaks a lot about what Scott Weiland was going through with drug addiction. However, Big Machine and Set Me Free are balls to the wall rock and roll. After that, we get another Guns n Roses song, Used to Love Her off the Liesalbum. This leads directly into the last two songs to finish off the show.
The first is Slither, their #1 song smash off the Contraband album. At this point, the crowd has gone crazy and is simply feeding off the energy of the band’s music. The last song is Sex Type Thing and let’s face facts, if you know anything about early 90’s rock, you know what an amazing song this is. The show is over, but I’m sure the party is just beginning.
All through this concert, there are little clips of the girl in the captain’s hat answering various odd questions about what she believes in (Censorship = no, Nudism = yes). Alright, that’s my kind of girl, too bad we never see below her neckline. But I digress. Besides the girl, we also get a lot of behind the scenes items about how the band went through a million demos before they got to Scott Weiland as their lead singer. They also spend time to talk about Weiland’s battle with drug addiction and how he found salvation through Martial Arts.
The concert in a word is awesome. Despite the fact that all of these guys have been doing their thing for so long, they could simply phone it in. Thankfully, they do not. Scott Weiland is one of the best lead performers when it comes to rock music and you can’t help but feel the energy when he is belting out a song or reaching for the megaphone. The instrument in question shows up on a few of the songs, and sometimes he just sings into it because he feels the energy.
If I were to find any criticism at all, it wouldn’t be centered on the concert. Instead, it has to do with the girl in the captain’s hat. The girl while attractive is nothing more than a political statement. Apparently she doesn’t like Bush (there is a joke there somewhere, but I’m going to take the high road) and she thinks he should resign. Sexist remark coming in 3..2..1. If a hot female is in a rock video, concert, etc and she isn’t part of the band, then she should be dancing for our enjoyment. Period.
The video is in 1.78:1 widescreen presentation. This was filmed in 2005, and it is pretty decent as concert footage goes. The color is certainly there and alive despite the darkened atmosphere. There is also some camera 101 effects to be had and while I wasn’t too annoyed with them, I was getting a little tired of seeing two Scott Weilands on stage that blended into one. Solid effort overall, just not an amazing presentation.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 English DTS track (also included are mixes for Dolby Digital 5.1 and LPCM Stereo 2.0). I was a little surprised to find a DTS and Dolby Digital track on a DVD. Unfortunately, there was little discernable difference between the two. As expected, it is loud and offers no apologies. The lyrics are clear (as long as you can speak megaphone) and it sounds really good. I almost wish that Eagle Vision would have gone blu-ray on this one. No subtitles are included.
Nothing, unless you count the behind the scenes stuff in between the songs. The perfect companion to this would have been at least a companion cd. It’s only 78 minutes long even with the skits.
Velvet Revolver fell down the same path as many supergroups do. They split apart. Two albums and millions of records later, Scott Weiland decided to separate from Velvet Revolver and go back to Stone Temple Pilots for a reunion tour. Currently, the rest of the group is searching for yet another lead singer. Supposedly, Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park were early rumors but nothing has been resolved (and I would seriously doubt either of those two egos would do it).
Their 2005 concert dvd is really excellent and it is a shame it took this long to make to the disc format. It had been previously shown on HDNet but that’s about it. If you are looking for awesome rock n roll at its hardest, then you should look no further than this disc. However, just don’t expect any extras (or any dancing girls). Highly recommended and here is hoping that one day we will see Velvet Revolver on a new album cover very soon.
Sucker Train Blues
Do It for the Kids
It’s So Easy
Fall to Pieces
Set Me Free
Used to Love Her
Sex Type Thing