Considering its members' tempestuous pasts and illustrious musical pedigrees and a platinum-selling debut CD that continues to stand out amid record racks filled with dance pop, hip-hop and revisionist new wave, one would expect Velvet Revolver to be a bracing powerhouse onstage.
The seasoned bad-boys show at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim on Saturday cranked up the sonic intensity, all right, but so much so that it overpowered not only the band's singer but the room itself. (Capacity may have been a factor: Though there was a large, enthusiastic crowd, the big-venue date was far from sold out.)
Not that the fans there -- many of whom were obvious followers of the players' previous groups, namely Guns N' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots -- seemed to notice. Indeed, the charisma and skill on display nearly made up for the muffled acoustics.
Age and increased sobriety haven't taken away guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagen's vigor. Both seemed more exuberant than they ever were playing with Axl Rose & Co., and their renditions of Guns' "It's So Easy" and "Mr. Brownstone" provided moments of genuine rock-star alchemy. Former STP frontman Scott Weiland tried to match their magnetism, but the wiry crooner's constant mugging and posing became tiresome.
He held his own on Guns material and the obligatory STP tune, but it was only when the tempo slowed -- as on the soaring power ballad "Fall to Pieces" -- that Weiland showed off his range and emotional depth. The tune was inspired by his drug addiction, something he referred to only once, when he mentioned his "past chemical adventures."
Those indulgences may be in the past, but it remains to be seen whether Revolver will be able to sustain its fire longer than its members' previous projects did theirs. Judging from Saturday's show, the odds are only even.