Slash dedicates song to Christchurch
Slash presents Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators with support from Von Voin Strum at the CBS Canterbury Arena, Sunday.
Around the corner from the main event we warm up for the night in a sticky-carpeted joint that's seen better days.
We sit at the back with our pints of lager next to dead-eyed people playing the pokies. A man wearing a suit the colour of oatmeal plays an instrumental version of Puppet On A String to old age pensioners shuffling around the dance floor, hands wobbling in the air, in what seems to be a typical Sunday night routine.
Arriving at the CBS Canterbury Arena a heaving crowd of several thousand there to greet Slash and his latest band whose music is lunging from tall black speaker stacks.
It is the 25th anniversary of Guns 'N Roses classic album Appetite for Destruction but fans are apparently still hungry.
Singer Myles Kennedy is, perhaps pleasingly, no Axl Rose - he is less energetic on stage and much more considered in his vocal mannerisms and voice.
The look of the band is the classic hard rock - skinny guys with long hair and pocket chains - although Slash retains his individuality - the black curls, shades and whatever hides under that top hat.
Kennedy comes and goes from the stage during a number of Slash's extended guitar solos and the track Out Ta Get Me is passed on to bassist Todd Kerns, perhaps needing a more tortured howl to harness the song's power. His eyes squeeze shut; his lips tighten, singing with a mixture of yearning and ferociousness.
A writhing, seedy moshpit full of ecstatic fans is a refreshing sight at a Christchurch concert. Overly pedantic bouncers made sure that crowd surfing never got going and a crush at the front near the barriers was relieved by careful words from Kennedy in a break between songs.
Well meaning platitudes regarding the struggles Christchurch has been through over the last couple of years are bound to come and the power-rock ballad, Starlight, is one such song dedicated by Kennedy to the battered city.
The sound is so solid that you can almost lean on it. I breathe it in deeply. This is what I have missed about not having a city.
The crowd revved to a frenzy for the encore, Guns N Roses classic Paradise City, with its lines and multiple meanings for Christchurch residents, "oh won't you please take me home'' echoing far into the night.