Guns N' Roses Cleans Up Its Act
- Greensboro News & Record, 4.18.93
Guns N' Roses showed Friday that toning down obscene lyrics hasn't drained the group of its musical power.
Nobody's likely to confuse Guns N' Roses with Wilson Phillips, but when the Hollywood rockers were introduced as “the feelgood band of the 90's” at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill Friday night, it wasn't altogether a joke.
That's because Guns N' Roses no longer has a chip on its collective shoulder the size of a tour bus. In 1993, Axl Rose's band has toned down the venom considerably, losing little of its musical power but dumping Rose's obscenity- saturated rants against everything from fellow metal band Warrant to the Rev. Jerry Falwell.
Before the kinder and gentler GN'R took the stage, the 12,000 or so people gathered in the Smith Center got to hear a set from Rose's childhood buddy, Shannon Hoon, and his band, Blind Melon. It's a good thing Blind Melon- which was based in Durham for awhile- has friends in high places, because its set consisted of self- absorbed tedium from Hoon and meandering, interminable strings of notes and verses not resembling anything you might call songs.
Much more popular was the entertainment between bands, when the video cameras for the GN'R set were trained on members of the crowd. Numerous scantily clad women bared their breasts for projection on the big screen.
Additional images of adult sexuality came courtesy of GN'R, which had three nearly naked women deliver drinks to the band during an “unplugged” portion of the concert. If parts of the concert reduced women to the sum of certain body parts, however, GN'R wisely avoided the woman- bashing songs that occupy too much space on its “Use Your Illusion” albums.
If GN'R lacked the raw power and endurance it showed in an unforgettable marathon concert at the Greensboro Coliseum in 1991, Rose still performed in a T-shirt that bore the face of cult- leading hippie murderer Charlie Manson on the front and the words “Charlie Don't Surf” on the back. Rose has always been out to shock, and songs like “It's So Easy,” “Mr. Brownstone,” “Double Talkin' Jive,” and “You Could be Mine” sounded as fierce as ever.
The band played with the fire that earned it its reputation, and the loss of rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin was barely noticeable. The only weak link Friday night was lead guitarist Slash, who is at least as important to GN'R as Rose himself. Slash- whose substance abuse is the stuff of legend- seemed distracted and unfocused Friday night, not touching the emotional fury he brought to the '91 Greensboro show.
In 1991, GN'R was a band with something to prove, headlining for the first time, touring after a four- year wait between complete albums, and previewing two new double- length albums. In 1993, GN'R was just a band with something to do. If Friday night's show wasn't an unforgettable concert, it was still a great one.
Chip Browder's Review [posted 4.18.93]
The Chapel Hill show was pretty incredible. I've never heard a louder crowd in my life. I can't imagine seeing a better show (and I'm glad I got to see that one... I don't think I was the only one who was afraid the show was over just after the first song [It's So Easy] when Axl jumped into the the crowd... presumably to kick the $@*! out of someone).
I wish I'd seen the show in Roanoke(Va.) too. It would have been well worth it.
Matt's drum solo ruled!
No, they didn't play Civil War. And I'm sure it's not perfect, but here is the list of songs they played in order. If anyone sees a mistake, please feel free to correct me.
1) It's So Easy
2) Mr. Brownstone
3) Live And Let Die
4) Double Talkin' Jive
7) Welcome to the Jungle
8) The Garden
9) You're Crazy (Acc.)
10) Used to Love Her
12) November Rain
13) Dead Horse
14) Knockin' On Heaven's Door
15) You Could Be Mine
16) Sweet Child O' Mine
17) Paradise City