Show Review by Pat O'Brien The Xcel Center crowd was only about 6,000 strong last night--just more than half empty--and maybe that should have been a bit of a clue. Velvet Revolver, a band whose members used to be in Guns 'N' Roses (guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum) and Stone Temple Pilots (vocalist Scott Weiland) were exactly who they appeared to be: guys from other, more successful bands. There wasn't much cohesiveness onstage, with Weiland seemingly disengaged from all of the other band members and the rest of them basically phoning it in. Even so, there were a few bright spots. "Fall To Pieces" seems destined to become an anthem of sorts and the set closer "Slither" really jolted everyone to life, though it was at the end of the show and seemed out of place. Most telling, however, was the fact that the show's brightest spots were when VR were playing the hit songs from their previous bands (STP's "Interstate Love Song" and GnR's "It's So Easy" were particularly excellent, though Weiland is no Axl Rose, vocally) and the fact that those songs took up nearly one-third of the setlist indicated that they have some idea about this, too.
The ideas for a big arena-show were there (mid-show acoustic set, Pink Floyd cover during the encore, etc.) but the follow-through was anemic. They resembled an incredibly expensive cover band whose original material is hackneyed, cliched (rain and/or tears washed things away in at least three songs) and just plain bland. If they can play a ton of old material that the fans devour, write a couple of ok songs, and a lot of filler to push the record they can just treat VR like a quick-fix project to keep the money flowing in until something better comes along. The problem with all of that, of course, is if they aren't fully engaged in the band, how is the band supposed to fully engage it's audience?