A Frenzied Guns N' Roses Delivers at the Garden
- Steve Morse, Boston Globe, 3.18.93
It's hard to match the chemistry of Irish rockers U2 playing the Boston Garden on St. Patrick's Day, which happened last year. But there was still action galore at last night's St. Pat's Garden party, starring bad- boy rockers Guns N' Roses. They anchored a frenzied evening that spanned an ugly beer bottle-throwing incident, a patronizing lecture by Guns mouthpiece Axl Rose, a surprise guest shot by Boston rockers Extreme (who joined opening act Brian May), a vicious blast at WBCN (by a ticked-off Axl, who was woken up in his hotel by a on- air phone call from a 'BCN staffer) and, oh yes, some great rock 'n' roll.
The sold- out 15,000 fans, who endured beefed- up security inside and outside the Garden (and a snowstorm on the way home), caught a memorable show that found Guns playing far better than their bloated Worcester Centrum date last year. The band was wise to jettison their backup singers and horn players, because this new “Skin N' Bones” tour harkened back to their stripped- down, punk- metal roots and was much more satisfying.
Except, that is, for the bizarre soap opera that took place after some idiot tossed a beer bottle onto the stage, causing Axl & Co. to stomp off for 10 long minutes. It happened after just three songs, among them the fever- pitch- building “Mr. Brownstone” (about heroin) and a cover of Rose Tattoo's “Nice Boys,” with its ear- splitting, crowd- screamed refrain, “Nice boys don't play rock 'n' roll!”
No one knows where the bottle was flung from, but it may have come from someone backstage, because it's hard to imagine any concert- goer being able to smuggle a bottle past the Garden gendarmes whose frisking was almost obscenely thorough at the gates. Anyway, it prompted the short- fused Rose (who wore a Charles Manson T- shirt with “Charlie Don't Surf” on the back), to lecture the crowd like a school principal, before adding, “It was probably someone from that expletive station WBCN.”
For their part, the fans were disgusted when Guns stomped off. They broke into an angry return chant that can't be printed in a family paper, but can be abbreviated by the initials “B.S.” When the band came back to perform their ragingly punky tune, “Attitude,” guitarist Slash declared: “Not that this city needs any.”
The war of attitudes, in the long run, may have produced a better concert. Rose was wired beyond belief when he returned, charging through Paul McCartney's “Live and Let Die” (with strobe- lit effects from a wall of 125 lights in the back of the stage) and a supersonic “Welcome to the Jungle.” (Read: Welcome to Boston on St. Patty's Day.)
A change- of- pace acoustic set, however, proved to be a highlight, as the band sat in sofas and chairs, peaking with “Patience” and Bob Dylan's “Kockin' on Heaven's Door.” Rose, Slash, bassist Duff McKagan (a full- blooded Irishman who clearly enjoyed himself despite the snags), guitarist Gilby Clarke and drummer Matt Sorum then rocked the rafters on through encores of “Sweet Child O' Mine” and “Paradise City.”
May, the former Queen guitarist, opened on a generally favorable note, rocking hard and singing far better than expected. He soared with an encore of Queen's “Tie Your Mother Down,” aided by Extreme's Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt.
Annette Kazmerski's Review [posted 3.18.93]
Well, here it is... my review and set list for the Guns N' Roses concert. Boston Garden--March 17, 1993 7:40 to 12:30
First things first--Brian May opened. He did mostly stuff from his solo album obviously--I remember Love Token, with some bad acting in the middle (he and his backup singers acted out the scenario in the song), Too Much Love Will Kill You, and Back to the Light. He played part of the third section of "Bohemian Rhapsody," and closed with "We Will Rock You." After that he went off stage but the lights stayed off A few minutes later he came out and announced that "a local Boston hero" came by to do a song. It was Nuno Bettencourt from Extreme. He sang lead on "Tie Your Mother Down" with Brian May and the band doing backup. Excellent!!
It took about an hour for them to set up for GN'R. We were getting nervous about them showing up, but finally they came on. However, they played three songs and Axl announced that he was leaving. The band left the stage and everyone cheered for a while, but the lights went on. Some guy came out from backstage to say that someone had thrown a bottle onstage and if we wanted GN'R to continue the show we'd better make sure no one else threw anything. Eventually Axl came back onstage and gave a pretty calm speech about why he was pissed, and that they'd continue the concert.
The set list (from my memory) is as follows, no particular order except where noted...
It's So Easy
Nice Boys (3rd song right before they walked off)
Welcome to the Jungle
Live and Let Die
You Ain't the First
Used to Love Her
Reckless Life (encore)
Paradise City (encore)
Sweet Child O' Mine (closer, before encores)
Double Talkin' Jive
Dead Horse (Axl on acoustic)
Knockin' on Heaven's Door
You Could Be Mine
They played for about two hours. They did their acoustic songs in a "family jam" set up. They had a couch on stage and had two gorgeous women bring them drinks. Everything was done plugged in, not true acoustic. At one point they had a pizza delivered and Axl didn't want it so he gave it to the people in the front row. One time Slash was fooling around with his guitar and played a bit of the "Addams Family" theme. Axl's comment was "hey, this isn't Augusta Maine, these people won't just clap for anything!" He also made some comment about WBCN saying something bad about them that pissed him off...anyone know about this? That's about all the stuff I remember for now. Any additions, comments, corrections, whatever, welcome...
Dave Schumacher's Review
I've seen GNR four times total. My favorite time was at the old Boston Garden on St. Patrick's Day. The show started great and everything seemed cool. Then, someone thought it would be a good idea to throw a bottle at Mr. Rose. In the middle of Brownstone the band stopped, Axl said goodnight, and the houselights came on. I thought for sure there was going to be another St. Louis episode. Soon Axl comes waliking out and sits on the front of the stage. He proceeds to lecture the crowd that throwing objects at the band is not a good idea and that if it happens again the show is over. After about ten minutes of ranting, the boys finally start back up and rocked harder than any other time I had seen them before. One other memorable experience, was when Slash had his snakepit project. I was interning at radio station WAAF in Boston on the Liz Wilde show. He came in with his singer and I viewed an up close acoustical performance by the guitar master himself. Being a huge fan, that was a thrill. Mr. Hudson was however slightly moody which did turn me off a bit. I did get a picture with him and an autograph but he wasnt the friendliest guy i've ever met. But we can let that slide based on the fine licks he has given us.