Doug Fierro's Review [posted 4.4.93]
It happened again- this time in California. The Guns And Roses concert was cut short- not because of shitty security or bad vocal chords, but due to an unfortunate injury suffered by one of the band members during the show.
It started off very "energetic"- the Arco Arena is a tight place and the floor was already packed duing Brian May's opening show. People were being pulled out from the front to escape the crowd suffocation and one fight had already broken out in between bands because of the close proximity of the arena.
At 10:45pm or so a guy from the GNR crew came out and said everyone give some room for the people in front, and, he stressed, the band is *VERY* "adamant" about not having objects thrown on sage for the safety of both the band and the audience. He said the band would be out shortly.
About 11pm the lights went out and everyone went crazy. I can't remember the song that opened the band but it was a very slow/mellow one- different from the last tour. I'm going to compare a lot of stuff here to the GNR/Metallica show I saw last year, because this tour is different. An indoor show is just so more intense- everything seems to get amplified as far as the crowd is concerned.
GNR thundered on the stage with "Welcome To The Jungle" and I swear of all the CA concerts I've seen GNR play there was more energy at that moment then I've ever seen period. It was like everyone was being swept up, and I wasn't even on the floor this time (slight muscle injury that is healing made me hesitant to fight the crowds). I was saying to myself, "YES- this show will redeem the band of all the bad press they've been receiving. They always get a great show by the fans when they come to California. It will shut everyone up."
But things were not to be so ideal. The bad karma came early on and escalated into an unfortunate incident which ended the night short for all.
They went right in to their second number, "Mr. Brownstone", which they've been doing second on the set list tour since the UYI releases came out. At the end of the song, someone down front either threw or spit a small object near Axl, and he said something like "That is a good way to send me home early." I'm thinking, "Great, he's going to get hit by a spitwad, throw a fit and leave. This will not be good." I feel at times that I have to defend the band because I've been a fan for a while and I've seen some great shows, and it seems that the few bad shows get all the press, and I would like to think that Axl is not the overly-sensitive-egomaniac that everyone would like to paint him to be. It's almost like GNR are part of my "family" of music, and you defend members of your family, even if they are fuck-ups :-)
Anyway, they went into "The Garden", which is the first time I saw that song performed live. I knew from the previous reviews here that they would be playing some new songs from the UYI releases, and I was greatly looking forward to the new additon of the acoustic set.
On a sidenote- early on I noticed the teleprompters since I was sitting on the side this time; do they really need them? I mean it looks real bad when the songs you write have the lyrics scrolling at the base of the stage. Is it for the new guys since they might not know all the words yet? Even that is a lame excuse- they've been touring with the same core group of musicians for two years now. It is obvious Axl doesn't need them, but it just caught my attention. Moving on now :-)
Live and Let Die I believe was the next song (I'm doing this from memory- not very reliable) and the strobe light effects are always awesome during that song (same as the video- but having a sea of people makes it even more fantastic). Axl introduced the next song as being written by Tatoo Rose and it was Nice Boys from their "Lies" LP. Axl had the crowd participation going on this one, with him singing "Nice Boys", and we'd answer "Don't play rock N roll!!!" The song ordering after that was I think "Double Talkin' Jive" (which he still introduces with the "Mother Fucker" phrase appened to the title- he did this in '91 as well, so my guess is that Geffen didn't want to have the full name listed with the profanity so the title was cut short) and then Duff sang "Attitude", which Axl appropriately attributed to the Misfits.
But the bad karma was lurking, as it reared it's ugly head again. This time it was Axl reprimaning Metallica before he sang "Double Talkin'" which he dedicated to Metallica. Now everyone knows that GNR and Metallica had their differences on the last tour (read the latest Rolling Stone for more fuel being dumped on the fire- maybe that is what set Axl off tonight), but it appears that both sides are still taking cracks at each other long after the tour. I partly blame the press like Rolling Stone for this, since they seem to want a conflict in order to sell papers/magazines/etc. and they needle the individual band members into saying bad stuff about the others.
What happened next was Axl proceeded to badmouth Metallica, and in a big way. Now let me remind everyone here that Metallica started out in the Bay Area (Oakland, CA) and even though the concert was two hours away in Sacramento, it was effectively the home turf of Metallica for the evening since this show was the ONLY Northern California show GNR scheduled. If I was advising Axl I would have definitely told him not to go into a tirade about Metallica when you are almost performing in their back yard. Below is some paraphrasing of what Axl said from what I remember, and it pissed off a lot of people there. I understand that he wanted to get his side of the story across, but sometimes it's better to keep quiet (or better yet tell it to the slimeballs at Rolling Stone and charge them a few million $$$ for the story):
So this is the Bay Area (crowd noise); well, pretty close anyway. Sacramento.... Looks like we are on somebody's home turf. (something about) that band across the way- Metallica- from Oakland. Well I have something to say about them, since I'm supposed to bethe king of the rock and roll racists because I used a certain wordin a song I wrote... You know James says ... (something about how Metallica didn't like having a rap band- Ice-T- as an opening act)... and they treated some of our black crew members like shit-in fact they worked their people overtime without paying them shit.... so who are the real racists...
And we paid them more money than they were worth... and Lars calls me up at 4am and tries to kiss my ass, but you can't trust the motherfucker.... so I'm dedicating this next song to Metallica...
And then they go into "Double Talkin' Jive", and I think Duff did Attitude after that, and Axl continued on on about Metallica:
Don't get me wrong- I'm not telling you not to like their music or anything... In fact we've always wanted to play with them from day one, when they were opening for Ratt at the Troubador... And we even threw in a few extra million since they had to have a minimum fee, so fine we took a loss on that. But we wanted to do that tour for you, the fans... And then they have to have it billed as a "co-headline", and they get upset that "Gee, we are opening up for Guns N Roses; I don't know"... I mean, if they had a problem with that they shouldn't have done the fucking show. ... And when it got down to it, they just couldn't handle it...
I was really cringing at this point, not because I'm a big Metallica fan or anything, but there was such a crossover of fans there and it's Metallica's stomping ground for the most part, it was pretty stupid and that's all I can say about it. The crowd was obviously disconnected for a while after his tantrum.
So the crew sets up the couch, table, stools etc. and the boys do their acoustic set- the homely stage put everyone at ease a bit during this session. They played "You Ain't The First", "You're Crazy", "Used To Love Her", "Patience", and "Knocking On Heaven's Door" with Dizzy playing well on Piano and someone who I should know playing harmonica (the big guy with the long hair and beard). During the acustic set a group four women came out to serve refreshments without wearing anything on top and not much below either.
From there Axl was solo on the piano for a while doing the intro to November Rain, and by this time things were rolling again- that is, until someone threw a bottle and hit Duff in the head.
It happened at the end of November Rain as the Piano was being moved from the stage. It was very dark since they usually turn the house lights down low when they are re-arranging the stage. I could hear Axl say "did you find it?" as some crew members were frantically searching the stage. I was thinking, "Great; someone threw a shoe on stage and now they are leaving." Axl came on the mike, very angry- "Some asshole hit Duff in the head with a bottle, and we are going now. If you find the fucker that did it, kill him." and he tosses the mike over his shoulder as he leaves and it bounces on the stage, leaving a hollow thunk sound that sounded like a death bell for the performance. I knew right there that they weren't coming back, since I know that they have left for smaller incidents than this. My friend thought they might be coming back since it was still dark and the house lights weren't on, but I told him they weren't coming back. There was 5-10 minutes of chaos, with only a few people leaving and most just standing around- I could hear a small chant, "Kill that fucker". I mean they crew guy said they would leave if shit like this happened before the show even started. My guess was that it was probably a Metallica fan :-)
I was hoping that Duff was not hurt that bad and that if we promised to behave ourselves, they would come back on stage and finish the show. Since I was near the side stage, I saw something that didn't look good- a guy carrying a medical box backstage. Finally Slash came on stage and took the mike. The crowd started cheering, but I knew it wasn't going to do any good. Thankfully he came out and gave us some more info, and officially ended the show instead of having everyone just stand around. He said something paraphrased like so:
Duff was hit in the head with a bottle of piss, and he has to go to the hspital. This shit has happened before. It only takes one person to screw it up for everyone.
You know what this means, don't you? (crowd noise) He can't come back and play. You guys were great, and maybe we can try to reschedule something if we come out this way again... but for now the best thing to do is just go... stream out of here and don't fuck with anybody or anyone's shit... just go peacefully.....
And by that time I was already outside.
It really sucked because this show had the potential to rival the performance they gave at the Oakland Coliseum last year, and I wanted to see more new material like "Dead Horse" or whatever they had in store for us. I didn't get to see "Sweet Child O Mine" or the great "Paradise City" finale. They would have probably played 3 more songs after November Rain and then an encore afterwards of 3 or more songs. The fans were really psyched- there was not a lack of energy or motivation as some previous concerts have been described in other parts of the country.
I don't know if this is going to affect the Reno show tomorrow night, but it really sucked that something like this happened. A bottle can do some serious injury- as it apparently did. Everyone was disappointed since a lot of us came from far away, but I didn't see anyone blaming the band for what happened. Even if they caught the guy and beat the shit out of him, it wasn't going to make Duff any better or bring back the band. This person really screwed it up for everyone, and I'm sure the press will be all over this one, since it seems like they live to write about the next GNR fiasco.
So that is all I have, and it's pretty damn late (already losing an hour to daylights savings). I have this friend who might be able to hook me up with a car going to the Reno show tomorrow, so it that goes through, and that show is not cancelled, I'll have more info for you all.
If any other readers here went to the show at Sacramento, feel free to add anything to this review and/or correct any mistakes I might have made (except grammar errors), or at least contact me via e-mail to talk about it more and see what you thought. I think it would be a pretty cool idea for a bunch of us to send get-well cards to Duff to take the sting away (no pun intended) from Saturday night's disaster.
Song list (may not be exact order):
Welcome To The Jungle
Live And Let Die
Double Talkin' Jive
(Acoustic set- couch, topless babes, etc.)
You Ain't the First
Used To Love Her
Knockin'On Heaven's Door
(to Piano only)
(Duff gets hit in the head- concert over :-(