Slashed Turned Away
- Al Mancini, ABCNews.com
Former Guns N’ Roses Guitarist Barred From Old Band’s Gig
LAS VEGAS, Dec. 31 — Guns N' Roses made a rare concert appearance, but former member Slash wasn't allowed to see it.
Saturday night's sold-out show at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino was only the second U.S. gig that Guns have performed in eight years. Former guitarist Slash was in town for the show, but was turned away at the door.
Speaking briefly with ABCNEWS Radio, Slash said he tried to get in, but couldn't. A security guard confirmed his account, blaming band frontman Axl Rose for the exclusion.
Rose, the only member remaining from the group's classic Appetite For Destruction lineup, reportedly told the venue he would walk offstage if he saw any of his former bandmates in the audience.
European Tour? What European Tour?
Most of those who made it into the venue, however, seemed pleased with the show, despite technical difficulties that appeared to aggravate Rose.
"I couldn't really hear Axl's voice," one fan said. "But you know what? I've been waiting to See Guns N' Roses my whole life, so it was good times."
According to those who saw it, the band kicked off the set with "Welcome to The Jungle." Axl dressed in a Rich Gannon Oakland Raiders jersey and performed new material as well as classic Guns songs.
"It's not the old lineup," another fan said. "I mean, the guys weren't into it … It just wasn't Slash."
Rose spoke directly to the crowd about the technical problems as well as the band's twice-aborted European tour, and their new lineup.
Rose blamed unresolved legal issues for the fact that he no longer performs with former members of the group and said he had never committed to play the much-publicized European tour, which was postponed this summer, rescheduled, and then canceled. In fact, he told the crowd that he learned about it on the Internet.
After getting up and rounding up the crew, we ended up eating for the 2nd time at Terrible’s buffet and then we headed down to the Hard Rock to scope out the line situation. It turned out that around 3pm , there had been people lining up outside so we got in there about 10 people back from the beginning. We met a lot of people in line from different places like Japan, New York, St. Louis, and all over the country. We played cards, talked, and traded stories to pass the time. I was surprised that there were so many younger fans there, but I think that is pretty cool. Little did we know how cold it would be later when they finally let us inside at about 7:45. Then they started scanning our tickets and doing hand stamps before they let people inside so it could be faster. I got inside and secured a great spot, one person behind the barrier, just a few feet away from the stage on the right side. Mark and John were in front of me, and my cousin and a few other friends were right near me. The venue is pretty small but bigger than the House of Blues. I would estimate it holds about 1500 people. The stage setup was a bit different, with the sides extended to have room for people to run around and many TVs on the stage which showed the video montages throughout the show and the close-ups of the band members. Also there were teleprompters on stage near the middle but I didn’t see Axl look at them at all. On the right and left side, they also had video screens for people who weren’t that close, and this time the picture was clear. I also noticed some human doll heads on stage, and nunchucks and some other weird stuff on Buckethead’s side.
After a couple of hours of waiting inside, they started the show and the stage filled with smoke and the intro video started with a view from space, panning down to the ground. It referenced the war and terrorism and showed a soldier carrying something and running away from tanks. It was pretty cool and I enjoyed it but I couldn’t catch everything that was going on in there. Then Robin started playing the beginning riff to Welcome to the Jungle and the band came out on stage as everyone got really wild. Axl came in with his scream and the place exploded. We were so close that we could see all of his expressions and movements clearly. He danced around and moved the mike stand around like the old days, and for a second you might have thought that it was 1992. We saw the signature snake dance and all of his old stage moves. He seemed more comfortable on stage and it all was coming back to him naturally. Like last year, he sounded the best he has in years.
He came out in white leather pants and a red #44 jersey that said Seminoles on the back I think. His hair was longer than last year and he had some small braids in there. He had a big silver bracelet on the left wrist and several cool looking rings on. I could tell that he was in great shape, probably better than ever. Later on you could see that he was ripped, he had a six pack! I think Dizzy had a white shirt on, Chris had on a Mardi Gras mask so you couldn’t really see his face. Robin wore a black and red jumpsuit, and he must have been really hot in there. I couldn’t really tell what Brain was wearing since the drums were so high up, to make room for the piano underneath since the stage was pretty small. Buckethead came out with his KFC bucket on his head with the word Funeral written on it, striped overalls, and yellow pants. Paul had a red silk shirt on and leather pants, and he reminded me of Gilby somewhat. Tommy had his plaid or checkered suit on and he had his hair partly dyed red.
Welcome to the Jungle had a great solo by Buckethead that was very reminiscent of the album version. Of course he is adding his own fast riffing in there also, but I would say that he has improved his interpretations of the songs. Axl put the mic out into the crowd when he sang “I wanna hear you scream!” This time, Robin impressed me a lot because he was a lot more confident. He nailed almost all of the solos and looked like he was having a great time, doing solos on the side and in front, and running around more. He played very well, very Slash like actually and had this strange pained expression on his face while playing some of the solos. Although he did play better the first night, there was a big improvement. I noticed on one song he had a new guitar, an unfinished Les Paul.
Axl sounded great on It’s so Easy, running around , crouching low and using his low voice. Tommy’s bass sounded crunching on this one and he looked like he was having a great time. They must have loved playing for a live audience after being in the studio for so long. The sound was much better this time and I could hear almost everything quite well. Unfortunately it was hard to hear the keyboards since I was up in the front. I think it was during this song, or one of the others in the beginning that a guy from the crowd handed Axl an American flag bandanna which he wrapped around the microphone for a while.
Mr. Brownstone had some great drumming and Axl did his little signature dance complete with the hand motions and ending with “Yowza!” Axl always sounds the best, to me, when singing the slower parts when you can hear him clearly. The beginning of Live and Let Die was great and he screamed like someone from a horror movie. They were some of the longest screams I’ve ever heard him do!! After the intro, they blasted into the fast part with a pyrotechnic boom. During a lot of the solos, Axl would run back stage and get some water or just let the guitarists get the spotlight. Robin was drinking some water around this time and then he spit it into the crowd and it got all over my hair!
Oh My God sounded good this time, and had some great Buckethead effects. Paul did the solo at the end pretty well and Axl had to pretty much stay in one place to sing it since it was pretty difficult. Think about You had another solo by Paul , who seems like he is getting better. You Could Be Mine was one of the highlights, with some thunderous drumming and Axl kneeling up in the front to sing part of the song. They did mess up the intro guitar part a little bit. At one point, Axl wore this police hat like he used to wear and later on he wore someone’s red baseball cap backward for a little while. My favorite part of the song was when Axl did a high kick, ran from the right side of the stage and jumped off of a platform doing the splits. At one point he changed into a dark blue jacket, black leather pants and a cool belt buckle and took off his shirt. Towards the end, he changed into this long dark blue jacket with buttons going down which looked somewhat similar to the one he wore in the November Rain video. He mentioned the time at this point and said that time was ticking away.
Sweet Child O’ Mine was pretty cool to hear and it had a longer guitar solo by Robin, which was very good. Someone also said that Chris Pitman played an acoustic guitar during this song but I didn’t hear it. I loved Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. Robin played a short solo before the beginning that sounded like improvisation. If they work on that part it could be really great. The solos during the song were wonderful by both Buckethead and Robin. I could see that Axl was really enjoying hearing them. This time it was a bit of a combination of the 2 versions. The soft part sounded beautiful and then occasionally he would sing “hey hey yeahhh!” The ending was a bit extended also, which was nice to hear since they are changing things up a little. Around this time I saw Robin hand out a beer to someone in the crowd near me!
Madagascar was next, and it sounded really great. Before the song I noticed Earl on the side of the stage saying “6 minutes left!” and the clock said 11:54. I also saw Beta, wearing what looked like a business suit on the side of the stage and she smiled and exchanged words with Axl and Buckethead. She looked like she was having a good time. It was one of the highlights of the night for me. His voice sounded great on that one and the part with all the voices and sound clips was very cool. He didn’t play guitar at the show like he did in Rio. I think this is one of their best new songs and has a good chance to be a single. The song ended right at midnight and then Axl said, ok its midnight, Happy New Year!!” At this point, all of the TV’s in the background were showing the festivities outside and then there was a huge boom and sparks flew, then for about five minutes, a huge stream of confetti, balloons and smoke flew all over the place. I was having trouble breathing and it got all over my clothes and hair and all over the band. Then people started to throw balloons back at the band, who had to throw them back. It was great to have that in the middle of the show.
After that was over, they brought out the piano and Axl started to play some chords which almost sounded like a new song, but then he started into November Rain.
Robin played the first solo pretty well and he was up in front. Meanwhile Buckethead had changed his bucket according to Axl and he came out with this one that spun around. He was gone for most of the song until the ending crescendo where he did a crazy solo. The drums were really good on this song and Axl even acknowledged it by saying that those were some “great motherfuckin’ drums there” and then he introduced him as Brain with a big grin on his face. Axl was in a much better mood than the first night. He did all the other intros and Robin seemed pretty happy when he was called out.
Out Ta Get me was pretty cool and he stuck the mic out into the crowd again to sing the chorus. It’s always fun to hear this one, and I noticed the drumbeat was done really well. Now Buckethead had this other bucket on top of his normal bucket, which had the Hard Rock logo on it. Rocket Queen was also another highlight, with awesome drumming and a sweet bass line. I saw girls in the audience taking their shirts off and Axl said with a chuckle that, “You’re distracting me from doing my job!” He would point at them a few times during the show.
Chinese Democracy sounded great, and it had some cool videos from China in the background. This star GNR logo near the top also lit up. Axl made some appropriate gestures during the song too! I noticed the keyboard parts on this one more than most of the other songs. After this, Buckethead did some great soloing on the acoustic guitar, which I really loved! Before he did his nunchuck routine also. Earlier in the show he also did a great electric solo which incorporated the Star Wars theme and imperial death march, and also part of “somewhere over the rainbow” I think. Axl said that he thought Darth Vader was in the room. It sounded really cool! Then, this butler in a tuxedo came out on stage and served Buckethead a severed hand on a silver platter, at which point he took the hand and started playing the Eruption solo using it to tap the guitar!! After that he threw the hand into the crowd and one of the guys behind me in line picked it up.
Patience was pretty cool, and I was happy to hear it since it’s one of my favorite songs. It featured Robin doing a solo, very different from the original but still great. Axl liked this one a lot also. He did the whistle perfectly and would go over to Paul and Tommy and put his arms around them. The ending solo sounded great and Tommy sang backup vocals with him.
After this, the Blues came on and Axl called Dizzy out to play it in the front on the Piano. Jan and myself were yelling for Estranged though! This one was excellent also, I love the different vocal parts on the song and the crunching guitar. Axl sounded better vocally and the band did a better version of it compared to Rio. Silkworms was heavy. Axl looked like he was ready to kill someone when he sang this song. I like it now much more than initially. It has a lot of aggression in it but it also has a slow part. I couldn’t hear what Axl was singing softly however. He seemed to get some of the venom back in his voice. I think it was after this song that he grabbed a rose from someone and put it between his teeth and he had a funny look in his face.
My Michelle was a fun song and it featured Robin in the front playing the intro. It was really loud and the drums were really solid on it. Someone threw beads up on stage that he took and was fooling around with. After this he took a break and talked to the audience a bit. He thanked everyone for coming out to the shows and said that this was better than the other night. He started talking about the fact that these were the first shows that he wanted to do in a long time and how the manager booked UYI without really consulting him. He said fuck that man, without mentioning his name. But Axl said. I am being polite right? I had talked to Mark about making a sign before the trip and he had written one in marker on a towel which said, “Celebrity Deathmatch was Fixed!” and he threw it to the crowd. Axl asked if he was the one who sent him the ad in the LA Weekly. After that someone handed it to him on stage and he said thanks and smiled, and said that you guys are making me misty eyed again. He said “that they would tour, blah blah blah” and they would do it on their own terms. He also mentioned that certain old member(s) were on heroin so they couldn’t get anything done.
After the speech he introduced Nightrain and the crowd went wild!! It really got people going and it sounded really cool. He would add in “I’ll never fuckin' learn” like he used to. At the end they jammed out the song a bit more which I really loved. After this they went off stage and said good night, and a few minutes later they came back for the encore. Axl had changed into a bright blue glittery jacket, which looked like something Elton John would wear. They started Paradise City, and he sang in the beginning, which they never did before. He also took out this whistle with a florescent string and used it, and threw it into the crowd. I couldn’t hear but Buckethead was doing some cool solos, along with Robin. Awesome ending to a great show. I think the band has improved from last year and I am looking forward to the new songs even more. Afterwards, Robin jumped into the crowd and crowd surfed for a while and I turned around and helped push him back over the barrier to the stage. “Two Thousand Fuckin’ Two!! Las Vegas, Nevada! Good Fuckin’ Night!!”
12/31... THIS SHOW BLEW AWAY NOT ONLY THE 29TH SHOW, BUT ALSO RIO AND HOUSE OF BLUES!!!
I wasn’t at the House of Blues but I’ve listened to the bootlegs many times and I’ve talked to 3 people at show that were at last year’s House Of Blues show and they agree that it blew it away. Not only the fans, but one of the same security guards from last year’s show said the same. The energy was incredible, right now they are ready to take on the fucking world. But like I said earlier, they didn’t play new songs.
The show kicked off unbelievably and the whole show was free of any technical problems. The band was extremely tight and the energy throughout the whole show was incredible, every second throughout the show was amazing. No fuckups at all. Robin and Tommy were going crazy.
Welcome To The Jungle
It's So Easy
Live And Let Die
Oh My God
Think About You
You Could Be Mine
Sweet Child O' Mine
Knockin' On Heaven's Door
Out Ta Get Me
Paradise City (encore)
Now onto their attire – Axl wore the same shoes as the night before, he had cream pants (couldn’t tell if it was leather though) and a #44 Florida State Seminole Jersey. He had a lot more dreads in his hair tonight, and in the back, he had dreads but the tips were straight and long. He was wearing a watch with what appeared to have diamonds around it. Later on in the show Axl put on a dark-bluish corduroy jacket and then he wore it for a couple of the songs and then wore the same Prince Valiant-type purplish coat from the previous show. For Paradise City, Axl came out in a shiny sparklish-blue shirt, it was something that Liberace would have envied.
Robin wore a one piece suit. Around the legs it was black and dark-reddish around his waist. He had one long sleeve on one side, and sleeveless on the other with a stocking on his arm. He had on some type of bowtie.
Buckethead wore Lakers jumpsuit pants, and a plaid long-sleeve shirt with a red and white striped apron. He had the same bucket as the other night but with the “Funeral” sticker on it. During November Rain, I had expected him to come out with the lights in his eyes, but tonight instead, he came out with a new logo KFC bucket and when we started his solo, the bucket rotated back and forth around his head. After the song, Axl asked for bucket change, and at that point, he was wearing a Hard Rock Casino bucket and wore it for the rest of the show. (I think)
Paul wore black leather pants and a shiny shirt.
Tommy came out in a checker 3-piece suit. He took the jacket off after a couple of songs and wore a white tank top the rest of the show.
Brain wore a regular t-shirt.
Dizzy wore a tank top and pants with a chain hanging from his belt.
Chris was wearing a gas mask and then put on some kind of a mask that looked like a Hawk, something with a long beak.
Axl thanked people who participated in the Welcome Back Ad that was published in the LA Weekly earlier this week. Someone in the audience handed him a copy of it and got misty-eyed reading it. Axl also referred to former manager Alan Niven again, but didn’t say his name (he didn’t think he was worthy of mentioning). He then said something like “We’re gonna tour, not for the industry, not for something or someone, but for ourselves.” And “we’re not gonna tour for some musician that’s on heroin” (He then made a goofy face and said in funny voice) “because he might die anyday!” Axl again said, “These are the first two shows I’ve wanted to do in 10 years.” Axl said that Robin said “Let’s do a rehearsal and fix this shit and put on a hell of a show!” and then Axl said he agreed with him. During the first part of the show, someone threw a pink rose at Axl and he put in his mouth for a little bit. Someone (possibly Mark Roulley?) threw him a small white towel and on it in marker it said “CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH WAS FIXED!” Axl showed it to the audience and laughed. Axl also asked if there was any people that attended the 29th show and there wasn’t too many people. He then asked them if tonight was a much better show and they all went crazy and shit in agreement.
Buckethead did the “Wish Upon A Star” and then something else and then “Star Wars Theme” as his first solo. Afterwards, Axl said “I got a chill because I thought Darth Vader was in the room.” Buckethead did have a Darth Vader mask with his toys as well. Buckethead did a sick ass fucking nunchukai performance and threw them in the audience. His second solo was acoustic. His third solo was “Big Sur Moon” and “Eruption” – my jaw was dropped – it was fucking amazing. There was a waiter at the side of the stage (who was also there the 29th but didn’t do anything) and he had a silver platter. Buckethead walked over to him and he lifted the lid to the platter and it had a severed rubber hand. Buckethead picked it up and proceeded to do the tapping to “Eruption” with it and then threw it in the crowd. I had been dying to see this (I had a heard about it before). He did the solo with the rubber hand better than Eddie Van Halen has ever done in his life.
Tommy, unlike the 29th, was active and ran all over the place. Take what Tommy did at Rio and multiply it 50x, he was like a fucking 10,000 shot Black Cat firecracker! At some point he said “Hi” to girl named Michelle in the balcony and later waved at her again.
Robin was amazing as well. At the end of Paradise City, he jumped into the audience and crowd surfed almost to the back of the venue and all the way back to the stage.
Oh yeah, both Tommy and Robin were drinking beer the whole show.
Some other little things during the show…
During The Blues, during Robin’s solo, Axl proceeded to act like maestro as if he was really into to the solo and he did it a little more throughout the song.
During You Could Be Mine, Axl was looking up at Brain and started to do high kicks.
During Silkworms, Axl rolled around on the floor at the end of the song and right before that Robin Finck acted as if he was reeling in a kite as he walked offstage.
“Viva Las Vegas” was played while the band was offstage before the encore.
During Paradise City, Robin came over near Buckethead and put his head to his chest and fucking jammed out.
The whole band seemed very happy and everyone was full of energy and having a great fucking time. If you missed this show, I feel bad for you and I’m sorry. Anyone that you will talk to that went to this show will tell you how fucking awesome it was.
There were some German chicks – 3 or 4 – one of them took pictures through the whole show and didn’t get kicked out. They did check us in line but it wasn’t very hard or anything – you could have still snuck a camera or recording device in very easily.