Ramon Ryder with Slash
A former colleague at EMI Music India, Ramon Ryder has been a huge Guns N’ Roses and Slash fan for years. He has a vast collection of their tees, and knows even the newer songs well. Best of all, he was lucky to meet Slash in a meet and greet session.
I personally didn’t attend the show, and going by the feedback, know I missed something great. So felt it would be ideal to ask Ramon to write a guest column in this blog. He agreed immediately and has described his meeting with Slash, besides reviewing the concert. Ramon’s account:
It’s still not sunk in, but November 7 2015 will be a memory I will never forget for sure. The wait was over… the longing to watch Slash play live in Mumbai was finally a reality.
Around 20 days back I woke up to an early morning Whatsapp message from a friend from Delhi. It was a screen shot of MTVixtreme saying Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators would play in Mumbai. Sleep was lost after that. The next few days were the most exciting as I waited eagerly for time to pass, doing a countdown on Facebook and Twitter 15 days before the show.
I also shared some links of Slash’s appearances on TV shows and movies including some behind-the-scenes gig footage. I took part in many contests by MTV on Facebook and Twitter and managed to win a ticket to the show. I had already bought mine online, just in case I didn’t win.
I paid around Rs 1300 inclusive of taxes for the early bird ticket. I bought an extra one at the venue which cost Rs 1824 inclusive of taxes. The promotion for this show was mainly done on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I didn’t see any print media besides a few Billboards.
Tried a lot to win the meet and greet with Slash, but I guess I just wasn’t good enough to be chosen. On the day of the show I got a call at 8 in the morning from an MTV rep saying that they have selected me for the meet and greet with Slash since they found me to be a really dedicated and diehard fan of Slash.
Everything changed after that. I reached the venue – Jio Gardens at Bandra Kurla Complex – at 11:30 am as requested. There I met the remaining nine contest winners. It was an instant connect and we spoke like we knew each other for really long.
By around noon we were taken backstage and got to see the complete 45-minute sound check. Goose bumps just didn’t leave me. We were briefed by MTV that we were not to ask Slash any personal questions or talk about Guns N’ Roses. When he finally came out we all just went blank. Just managed to tell him the sound check was super and I can’t wait to see him perform later in the evening. While saying bye I ended up saying Thanks for Being Slash. Which really felt weird later.
By the time we got out the lines had really got real long and were stretched all along the road around Jio Gardens. Gates finally opened at around 5 and everyone stormed in rushing for the fence in front of the stage.
The three bands that opened for Slash were Gingerfeet from the North East, Them Clones from Delhi and Thermal and a Quarter from Bangalore. While Gingerfeet got a good response, Them Clones was a bit quiet. Thermal and a Quarter did a brilliant set and got the crowd going.
By this time the venue was fully packed and the pushing was getting violent as we almost fell three times due to the pushing. By the time Slash was on stage it was uncontrollable as it became impossible to stand. We were pushed and squashed, resulting in a girl and boy passing out. They were pulled over the fence by the security and taken aside. Next person to pass out was me.. I was helped by a few guys back on my feet and every one made way for me to go out of the crowd.
Immediately I requested the head of security to help me pull my two friends out also who were visibly suffocating and on the verge of passing out. It took us a good 20 minutes along with four Red Bull drinks each and two bottles of water to come back to normal. I wish the crew had more security lined in the front to control the crowd. I kept telling the security to get one of the crew members to please make an announcement to control the crowd, but they just refused.
Anyway we enjoyed the rest of the show from the side of the stage which had more space and fewer people. The band put on a super show and were super-tight. Slash was fantastic and so was Myles. Superb vocals. He was hitting all the high notes without any effort. Slash did a brilliant 20 minute solo during ‘Rocket Queen’. I looked around and people were just staring in awe as to what was happening. Most of them were just nodding their heads in disbelief. This was the moment every fan at the venue was waiting for. All of them had a sudden jolt of energy in them after that.
The set list was dominated by songs from Slash’s solo album and ‘’Apocalyptic Love’ and ‘World on Fire’ with Myles Kennedy. Some songs they did were ‘Back From Cali’, ‘You Could Be Mine’, ‘Starlight’ and ‘World on Fire’.
Bassist Todd Kerns did vocals on ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ and ‘Dr Alibi’ and was very impressive. ‘Anastasia’ and ‘Rocket Queen’ being the ones with great Slash solos. ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ saw the crowd go berserk and everyone sang as loud as possible. The encore and final song was of course ‘Paradise City’ which had the crowd jumping like crazy. Drummer Brent Fritz was brilliant throughout.
Slash was visibly overjoyed by the crowd’s response and said he was extremely happy to finally perform in India, and showed eagerness to be back again next year.
All in all, it was a concert that will be talked about by rock fans for the next few days to come. Besides the violent crowd, I’d say that it was very well managed and a excellent venue. I may just go for the Bangalore gig also. If only I can manage leave from work.
1 You’re a Lie
4 Standing in the Sun
5 Back from Cali
6 Wicked Stone
7 Too Far Gone
8 You Could Be Mine
9 Doctor Alibi
10 Welcome to the Jungle
11 Beneath the Savage Sun
13 The Dissiident
14 Rocket Queen
15 Bent to Fly
16 World on Fire
18 Sweet Child o’ Mine
20 Paradise City