Guns N' Roses / Nov. 18, 2002 / Chicago (Allstate Arena) Review
- Jeff Vrabel, Billboard.com
"Dude, is that an original?" one Guns N' Roses fan incredulously asked another at the Allstate Arena in Chicago last night (Nov. 18), pointing out a graying "Appetite for Destruction" T-shirt and staring at it like it was a Topps Mickey Mantle rookie.
Similar exchanges could be heard throughout the Chicago stop on the GNR "reunion" tour -- a term used in the loosest possible sense. It was a show that, at the very least, finally rewarded fans who've been waiting to retrieve their faded GNR gear from the closet for 10 years. That's way more than just a little patience. But as W. Axl Rose and his new cast of anonymous sidemen proved last night, while the shirts may have been original, the music was anything but.
For two hours, Rose and his overstuffed band fought to emulate the glory days of the long-dead Old Guns, but could only muster an off-target, glitchy set that virtually cried out for Slash or Izzy Stradlin to ride in and rescue it. Sure, the opening notes to "Welcome to the Jungle" sent shock waves through a sold-out crowd that didn't seem to mind the Slashlessness one little bit, and the audience received the arrival of each song in the "Appetite"-heavy set with a raucous, nostalgic glee. In sparse, scattered moments, Guns N' Roses seemed to be back. Sort of.
But really, in what world could this be called "back?" There's no Duff, no Izzy, not even Teddy "Zig Zag" Andreadis on the harmonica. Yeah, those are definitely "Appetite" songs being dusted off, but the whole affair seems like a weird accident. It smacks of inauthenticity. It's just doesn't seem right. It took three guitarists to try to fill the role of Slash, the band frequently missed changes and cues, and Rose himself was a letdown, his voice the victim either of the world's worst microphone technician or pure rust.
The difference between Guns 2002 and Guns 1992, the last time they played Chicago, is like the difference between the '98 Bulls and the '99 Bulls. The old band was legendary for its churning, super-charged grooves as much as its rock-star excesses; it burst with visceral power on stage. There was something organic and human and brutal about the transcendent "Paradise City," the destructive "Welcome to the Jungle" and the still-elegiac "Sweet Child O' Mine," and when the band drew raves as the second coming of the Stones, for a while, it didn't seem all that off-base.
This new band, by contrast, seems like nothing more than parts welded to each other. There's ex-Replacement Tommy Stinson on bass, ex-Primus drummer Brian "Brain" Mantia, and lone Guns holdover Dizzy Reed on keyboards (one wonders how he alone escaped the brunt of Rose's lash for so long). They were a ragged machine that often struggled to stay on the same beat, let alone muster up enough swagger to draw comparisons to the original.
In fact, the new Guns N' Roses seems to have no interest in staking any claim to the old material at all. They're playing Slash's notes, Xeroxing drummer Matt Sorum's beats, playing bass like Duff McKagan played bass. And there's too many of them. With two keyboardists and three guitarists, Guns' new sound is certainly fleshed out, but between the bizarre Buckethead, ex-Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck, and Richard Fortus, it was like a joust for playing time.
Early in the show, takes on the punkier tracks "Think About You," "It's So Easy," and even "Mr. Brownstone" were all over the map, and Buckethead and Finck's cracks at Slash's solos on "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "You Could Be Mine" were littered with flat notes. Of particular offense was Finck's massacre of the "November Rain" solo, which was his worst offense of the night until he wandered directly in the path of a charging Axl during "Patience."
Then there's the matter of Rose, who, in recent years, has taken to the rock spotlight like John Steinbeck would take to book signings at Borders. As his near-wreck with Finck proved, his stage demeanor remains untouched -- he still prowls the arena like a predator hunting down the next note, still sprints across the stage, still does his shimmy dance with workmanlike precision.
One rumor that can be quashed is the one about Axl's supposed chunkiness. On this night, he appeared lean and energetic, though he's swapped his Charles Manson t-shirts, bandanas, and wince-inducingly short spandex trunks for football jerseys (Michael Vick's and Chicago's own Brian Urlacher's, in this case), workout pants, and dreadlocks. Most importantly, it's clear that, poor sound mix or not, his voice doesn't have the juice it once did. He sounded especially strained on "November Rain" and "My Michelle."
Still, all was not lost. Rose's voice finally snapped into place and conjured up the Axl of old on "Nightrain," while "Paradise City" and "Sweet Child O' Mine" quickly became house sing-alongs that drowned out the singer. The band wasn't without its moments, either, catching fire midway through "You Could Be Mine" and blazing through "Nightrain" as well.
But there's still no hard evidence that this comeback will finally result in Rose's alleged "Chinese Democracy" album. GNR debuted just three new songs, one of which (the vaguely industrial title track) worked up a decent lather. The other new offerings were the unremarkable ballads "The Blues" and "Madagascar," the latter of which may prove the most problematic to Rose. With its drum machines and hip-hop beat, "Madagascar" was the most logical link to oddly-selected opener Mixmaster Mike, who tore his turntables up with spitfire precision and skill but received a surprisingly hostile response from the crowd.
This should be alarming news to Rose. If, as rumored, his new material is heavy on the industrial bells and whistles, and Mike fares as poorly on the rest of the tour as he did in Chicago, Rose may want to consider bagging the electronic business and dialing up Slash after all.
At this point, you might be hard-pressed to find anyone who wouldn't think that's a good call. The original incarnation of Guns N' Roses was a perfect snapshot of the time; a furious blend of hedonistic, whiskey-soaked, guitar-and-groove rock n' flippin' roll. This incarnation is too little, too late. "Been hiding out and layin' low, it's nothin' new to me," Rose spit on the "Appetite" anti-establishment anthem "Out Ta Get Me," but though his decade-long slumber has given them new meaning, on this night, the words clanged hollowly off the walls of the arena.
Here is Guns N' Roses' setlist:
"Welcome to the Jungle"
"It's So Easy"
"Live and Let Die"
"Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
"Think About You"
"You Could Be Mine"
"Sweet Child O' Mine"
"Out Ta Get Me"
Illinois Entertainer's Live Review
- Deena Dasein, Illinois Entertainer
Waiting for Axl Rose is a lot like waiting for Godot, or for the Second Coming. The wait is long. And, as the fans found out at the kick-off concert for Guns N' Roses' North American tour in Vancouver, the band's first in nine years, Axl may never come.
The Chicago will-he-or-won't-he wait, and two shows here in the early-'90s were no-shows, was not helped by the two opening acts.
CKY, a young, punk-inflected hard rock band from Pennsylvania played to a fairly empty arena. Most were there early, despite knowing Axl's reputation, but hung out in beer lines and watched the Bears on the TVs in the hallway. The seats were filled when Mix Master Mike, Beastie Boys' talented turntablist and member of the DJ collective Invisible Skratch Piklz, took the stage. MMM soldered together scratches, beats, and samples from a wide variety of music, including Rush's "Tom Sawyer" and Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song." Yet even these familiar tunes and the eye-catching visuals (wind sculptures, blow-up stick figures that moved to the beat, large video screens displaying his turntable and nimble fingers) failed to engage the crowd. They were beyond unimpressed and booed lustily.
However, they did seem to enjoy the later diversion of a large beach ball and the two fights that broke out in the seats after the lights came on.
Miracle of miracles Axl arrived right on time, if not a bit early, taking the stage at 9:55 p.m. But the rest of Guns N' Roses' classic cast of characters were missing in action. In the early-'90s, America's great rock band had a meltdown, sometime after its creative centerpiece Axl burned out. While Slash and the others were nowhere to be seen, their impact resonated in the band's signature sound heard in the bulk of the set. Their absence loomed from the opening invitational "Welcome To The Jungle," to the near-midnight encore's summarizing closer "Paradise City."
In between were eight more songs from Appetite For Destruction, the band's 1987 superstar-making release.
The 21st century version of GN'R sported a trio of Slash-ers. Robin Finck (NIN, Impotent Sea Snakes), attired in a slinky white jumpsuit, performed disconcerting bandy-legged moves during his solos. Richard Fortus (Psychedelic Furs) energized things with his live-wire stage presence. Buckethead was attired in his KFC bucket hat and a ghoulish goalie mask that looked suspiciously like Michael Jackson's current face.
The headgear was probably not a product placement, given the "funeral" sticker on it. The guitarists pleasantly surprised those who came fully prepared to hate the Slash-less lineup, and this reviewer definitely was among them.
Buckethead's oversized flying-V solo was a show within a show. He began with some nunchakus play, then went into a robotic dance that led to his tour-de-force guitar romp. He jumped from one tune and style to another, from the theme to "Star Wars" to something that sounded like dueling banjos, and finished up by tossing toys into the crowd. Musically, he managed to combine what most guitarists must choose between, melody and speed.
Filling out the new lineup is Tommy Stinson (Replacements) on bass, Brian "Brain" Mantia (Primus) on drums, and Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman on keyboards. The new guys on the block, all veteran sidemen from a wide variety of bands, managed to put a few of their own touches on the well-known songs, but mainly kept to the well-loved Slash-hewn path. Despite a moving and rousing rendition of Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," Rose didn't pull a Dylan with GN'R's numerous '80s hits, preferring to present them in their original style. And although it's a new band, it's an amazingly tight one.
Think of GN'R as a clone of a Rolling Stones clone. Axl Rose, the consummate frontman, outdid while he redid the moves of Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler. Unlike images I've seen of him in the past few years, he looked trim and up to his old energetic self. Axl's famous keening wail came through, although the sound system did not emphasize his vocals. He was casually dressed in football jerseys and baggy pants, and wore his auburn braids without his trademarked headband. Given my memory of his antics when touring with Metallica in 1992, he's even more active now, not merely running but jumping, sashaying, hopping, and twirling around exuberantly like some hyper kid.
Beyond the music (and that was certainly pleasure enough), this was a multimedia show. The two-tiered stage sporting slanting wings was elegantly lit. The backdrop had banners with Chinese lettering and several vertical video screens showing snatches of '70s movies and Martin Luther King footage. And, of course, there was plenty of eye 'n' ear popping pyro.
Two of the songs performed were from the band's (perpetually) upcoming Chinese Democracy, "Madagascar" and the title cut. The album is legendary if only for its incredible delay. Rumor has it, and such rumors have been wrong before, that it will see the light of day this February. One thing's for sure, it will be released before its title ever becomes a political reality. The set list also included two songs from each of the Use Your Illusion CDs. One of these, "November Rain," was a standout, slotted after Axl's piano solo with the singer doing the piano duties on this tune too. As the soft and sad ballad ended, its melancholy beauty was both underscored and erased by a loud, rollicking coda reprising the chorus.
Fans delighted in every move, musical and visual, cheering loudly, singing along with several old hits and raising their lit Bics. Axl seemed to echo their delight. His brief comments (except the one excoriating someone who'd tossed stuff on stage) were gracious and most appreciative. "I'm happy to be here," he said at one point, giving voice to what was by then rather obvious. "It's like a reunion tour," he continued. Pausing to allow this weird untruth to befuddle everyone, he proceeded to unravel the mystery and to explain why he was in such great shape: "I've managed to find enough pieces of my mind to make it here."
Hey Axl, now that you are all here and in such fine form, do you know that your old mates have regrouped and are now looking for a singer?
New GNR lacks unity, but sound is still huge
- Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune
When last seen on a Chicago stage more than 10 years ago, Guns N’ Roses was the biggest rock band in the world. But they slinked out of town like fugitives, blowing off a second show the next night so singer Axl Rose could outrun an arrest warrant in connection with instigating a riot at a St. Louis concert the year before.
Some fans might have considered Monday’s concert in Allstate Arena as an overdue makeup, though Guns N’ Roses is a much different band. Long gone are Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, who had replaced original drummer Steven Adler. All that’s left from the famed lineup is Rose and keyboardist Dizzy Reed.
Otherwise this was a patchwork of the semi-famous: bassist Tommy Stinson, in his plaid Replacements get-up, and guitarist Robin Finck, looking every inch the fashionably post-industrial Nine Inch Nails refugee, plus Richard Fortus (Love Spit Love), Chris Pitman (Replicants) and Brian Mantia (Primus). The most unlikely addition had to be guitarist Buckethead, who looked like he was discovered in a fast-food trash bin, with his “Halloween”-style mask and headgear large enough to accommodate a family-size serving of extra crispy chicken.
Certainly the octet couldn’t be faulted for its instrumental chops; Buckethead in particular is a marvel of nimble finger-work, a fluid guitarist who took a run at everything from mutant bluegrass to intergalactic surf during his solo.
But the new GNR isn’t yet a band so much as a committee on retainer, lacking the Gunners’ unifying slouch and swagger. The original band sent the arena-rock lovin’ world into a tizzy with their merger of Aerosmith’s bluesy, bawdy boogie and the New York Dolls’ glammed-up recklessness. They were the last gasp for a bankrupt concept: boozing, brawling, womanizing and main-lining themselves into rock-star oblivion.
It couldn’t last, and it didn’t.
By 1993, after one landmark album (“Appetite for Destruction”), the Gunners fell apart and Rose all but disappeared, an alienated Midwestern kid who had managed to alienate everyone in his band. Under Rose’s direction, GNR embraced show-biz excess with female backing singers, horns, power ballads and high-concept videos. The once raunchy Sunset Strip interlopers had gone pro.
It was this bloated version of GNR that the reclusive Rose tried to revive Monday, long on fireworks and gaudy visuals. The sound was huge, and sometimes the dreadlocked singer’s voice lacked sufficient power to cut through it. Rose sprinted from side to side on the two-tiered stage or broke into his undulating snake dance while grasping the microphone stand, and his Wicked Witch of the West shriek occasionally melted away the years.
The set list was heavy on the band’s standards, from the opening “Welcome to the Jungle” to the confetti-coated encore “Paradise City,” with the 10-minute “November Rain” as the midset centerpiece. “Rain” remains an iconic song in the band’s repertoire, Rose at the grand piano fighting for a doomed love, but it now sounds like a melodramatic stab at mimicking the multi-part epics of ’70s rock.
It was impossible to argue with the signature Slash riffs and solos in “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” expertly replicated by Buckethead and Finck. A handful of songs from the years-in-the-making comeback album, “Chinese Democracy” (tentatively set for release next year), revealed few new wrinkles; the only concession to the ’90s was a drum loop pumping beneath one tune, otherwise Rose’s head was still swimming in classic-rock grandeur.
Missing from the new mix was the punchy songwriting of the Gunners’ secret weapon, Stradlin, the pithy riff-rock of “Dust N’ Bones” and “Double Talkin’ Jive.” Slash’s penchant for excessive solos was once balanced by Stradlin’s concise riffs. The current band has no such give-and-take. It more resembles an efficient arena-rock machine or well-rehearsed corporation. But can the control freak who runs the show keep his act together? Rose offered only one hint as to the fragile state of his psyche:
“Psychologically, you could consider this a reunion tour,” he told the audience. “Because I’ve managed to find enough pieces of my mind in order to be with you here tonight.”
G N' R lies
- Calvin Scott, Daily Southtown
Monday night at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, the audience got to see Rose, the rebellious singer of Guns N' Roses, be the leader of the cover band.
It's an excellent cover band, too. Rose has put together an outstanding cast of musicians, and the band replicates hard-rock standards such as "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Welcome to the Jungle" almost perfectly. But Rose's reconstructed Guns N' Roses simply doesn't show that it can recapture its hip-shakin', cram-this-rock-music-down-your-throat swagger.
Rose is the only one left from the formation of Guns N' Roses in 1985 and its gritty debut disc, "Appetite for Destruction," in 1987. Still, Rose owns the band name and pushes a new, large cast of characters on fans who haven't seen or heard new, original material from the band since 1991.
And it's anybody's guess when the fans will get that material. The "Chinese Democracy" disc has taken about four years to put together, and it still hasn't been released. Rose has gone through almost as many producers as band members.
The 1987 lineup — lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin (later Gilby Clarke), bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler (later Matt Sorum) — is long gone. Guns N' Roses now has three guitarists — Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails), Richard Fortus and Buckethead — two keyboard players — Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman — drummer Brian "Brain" Mantia (Primus) and bassist Tommy Stinson (the Replacements).
Fortus and Stinson certainly have the energy of the old roster, and Finck and Buckethead are brilliant guitarists who easily match the talent of Slash — note for note. But Finck looks like Marcel Marceau with a Gibson, and Buckethead's shtick — white mask, long black hair, long black, baggy clothing and KFC bucket with a funeral sticker on his head — is just dull, ghoulish and foolish.
These are reasons why this band shouldn't be called Guns N' Roses. But at least there was a show Monday; the tour opener Nov. 8 at Vancouver was canceled at the last minute, sparking a riot. As for why it was canceled, there are too many excuses to list here.
Rose's bandanna-wearing bad-boy persona is now cloaked in baggy corporate NFL jerseys — mostly to conceal the extra weight — and braided hair. Eight songs into the 19-song performance, Rose switched from a Michael Vick No. 7 Atlanta Falcons jersey to a Brian Urlacher No. 54 Bears jersey.
The band thrilled the crowd with "Welcome to the Jungle," "It's So Easy," "Mr. Brownstone," "Think About You," "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Out Ta Get Me," "Rocket Queen," "My Michelle," "Nightrain" and an encore of "Paradise City" — all from "Appetite for Destruction." The standard covers "Live and Let Die" and "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" were backed by "You Could Be Mine," "November Rain" and "Patience," but new songs "Madagascar" and "Chinese Democracy" seemed out of place.
As for the time-challenged Rose (the band began playing after 9:30 p.m.; buy a clock, Axl), there was very little interaction with the crowd, and his voice, while seemingly strong, was mostly inaudible — a huge disappointment. Part of that can be chalked up to the abysmal acoustics of the Allstate Arena.
While an enjoyable show, it's time for this solid band to record — and actually release — new material and put the Guns N' Roses label to rest.
Matt Bober's Review
DAMN! I just got back from the Chicago show. To start things off, I got to the venue around 3PM. Literally no one there. Then I get in line, meet some really cool people, like Ghost Face from this forum, and another guy from here (sorry dude, dont remember your name). Once they open the doors, we jolt in, and I run down to my SEAT on the floor. It was in the 9th row in the 1st section. I thought it really was gonna suck at first having seats, but more on that later.
CKY was absolutly horrible. I'm not sure if GNR just put them on to make themselves look better, or what. They had this really obnoxious guitar player, who whenever the crowd started booing or yelling things (with good reason.........), he would say some dumbass remark. I'm sorry, but any band who's primary words are: fuck, shit, cocksuckers, blow job, need to go back and get an education. It was really annoying, "How are all you motherfuckin' motherfuckers!" At this point in the show, the arena is barely 1/3 full, so I'm getting kinda worried.
MixMasterMike. Oh God. And you think CKY is bad ! ! He was not well received at all. Spinning records NONSTOP for 45 minutes was just WAY to much. It was really horrible. He even had a really cheesy stagesetup too, but onto the goodstuff. By this time the arena was about 80% full. After this, I met Gunner4Life, who was really cool, and he even made signs that read, "PLAY CATCHER IN THE RYE", and "2003-The Year of GNR"
As time went on, EVERY SINLGE SEAT WAS FILLED. This show WAS sold out. @ around 10:10 lights go down, and a different intro was played, not the Exorcist one. It was really hard to hear with everyone screaming. Then they bring down the curtain. Red lights shining on the stage, then you see the band come out, with opening jungle chords. Where's Axl? He's right behind the drums behind all the smoke! YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE ! YOU'RE IN THE JUNGLE CHICAGO! YOU'RE GONNA DIEEEEEEEEE...........or something like that. I know he threw in Chicago somewhere in the song. Axl was wearing a #7 Atlanta Falcons Michael Vick jersey, couldn't tell if it said Rose on the back. Finck-white suit, buckethead-the usual, tommy- plaid suspends, fortus- pil shirt, dizzy-no shirt (RIPPPED!!!) Brain-couldn't tell. Pitman-who cares, LOL!
It's So Easy and Brownstone went really well. Live and Let Die was when the crowd really started getting into it (great pyro). Then the new version of KOHD came up, and the crowd surprisingly liked it!!
YCBM in my opinion was the only weak song they played. That songs just seems to hard to mimic. I think it should be scrapped from the set.
Finck then comes out and starts playing a guitar solo, that sounds really out of tune, and with no real flow, and everyone's like ehhhhhhh. Then right at the end of the solo, he goes into SCOM!! SCOM was perfect.
Later in the set, Axl said, "gimme a piano......." And he started playing this great piano intro. I was thinking, c'mon Axl, please let this be a new song, please please please.......it wasn't but it was a really great intro, very gloomy, but great. Buckethead wasn't in November Rain at all if I remember correctly. November Rain was the final blow to any doubters in the arena. At that point, they all turned and pledged allegiance to the new GNR!!
The Blues went really well, during, "make you change your mind......" Axl seemed to lose control of his voice, and it went REALLY rough. Crowd really liked the Blues though.
Madagascar, same video from the VMA's on the screens. Guitar solo was really great. Amazing song.
Buckethead's solo was pretty cool, and I think it went over really well with everyone, especially the Chicken Binge.
Chinese Democracy was really good too, Great pyro, just like Live and Let Die. Lots of fire. I think I was the only one in the arena who knew the words! lol This was one of my fave songs in the set.
Patience was my personal favorite on the night. Axl was leading everyone to wave their hands, and I looked back and everyone was waving their hands. During, "and the lights they shine so bright....." everyone went apeshit! It was really great.
I can't remember what they played before the Encore, it might have been Chinese Democracy or Nightrain.
The only messup the whole night, was right near the end of Nightrain, Axl was backstage and he comes out, and you hear him say something like, "I was having a conversation, but we'll finish this LATER." Really pissed off.
Paradise City was great, the whistle made everyone go nuts of course, and the confetti made it just that much better.
Overall it was an amazing show. So sound messups, which was really surprising. You could always hear Axl's voice. One thing I noticed is how he barely messed with the Monitor Mixer thing. I went to Vegas on 12/31/01, but this show I think was alot better show, just to have an arena full of people chanting along to every GNR song you ever heard.
I highly recommend going to see them!!!
PS - One of the funniest things of the night was how Buckethead was moving around alot. At one point he even jumped down 3-4 stairs while playing!!! The first thing that went through my mind was how Axl docked Izzy or Gilby's pay cause they "didn't run around enough".....Hilarious.
AMAZING SHOW--Here's the setlist, apologies if my written review if completly out of order with the real setlist.
Welcome To The Jungle
It's So Easy
Live & Let Die
Knockin' On Heaven's Door
Think About You
You Could Be Mine
Sweet Child O' Mine
Out Ta Get ME
Jeff Shelden's Review
Just got back from the show at the Allstate Arena. Here is what went on.
Band started around 10 PM and played for about 2 hours. Same songs as what they've been doing.
Allstate was very very full. They sold the worst possible seats that had any angle on the stage at all. Glad I wasn't in those seats. Axl comes out in an Atlanta Falcoms jersey (#7??) and changes into a bears urlacher jersey. Prior to the Blues Axl announces that this is a reunion tour as he has put his mind back together mentally. At one point Axl goes to Robins side and calls a fan a cunt for throwing stuff on people who paid good money to come and see them as the cups of beer weren't even hitting Axl, the cunt's anticipated target.
Tonight I was in the lower bowl so I watched Brain on the video a bit and he seemed to be right on...although the band mangled You Could be Mine much like the Rio disaster I think...we'll have to wait for playback for confirmation though. Bucket was dragging dummy body off his guitar during Paradise City which was really really strange and it looked like the band was having a great time.
The sound at allstate is just aweful though...at times you can hear the sound echo off the back wall which is just really annoying and Axl's vocals were hard to hear on some songs...Think About You Comes to mind. Highlights for me included Rocket Queen (no intro jam) & November Rain with Axl doing a bit of talking about his intro piece although I couldn't make out what he was saying.
Live and Let Die
Think About You
You Could be Mine
Robin/ Sweet Child
Out Ta Get Me
Buckethead Solo (at least Star Wars/ Pirate Life)
I probably have sweet child in the wrong spot but oh well. Great crowd, great show. Welcome back Uncle Axl. See you in Detroit on Thursday.
Jonathan Lee's Review
The show was packed....almost full. Nobody sat down. EVERYONE sang along. Axl messed up some lyric and the whole crowd caught him. Lots of buckets in the crowd. There was really young people and then there was old people. Nice mix.
The imagery was pretty cool, the "matrix" camera-effect is badass.
Axl joked about people trying to throw stuff at him...they kept missing him and hitting the front row and he was like "there's no use trying!"
Axl kept running backstage to this little tent for something....probably about his mic.
Axl almost fell a few times and he got sort of burned (he kept rubbing his arm).
Richard ran through the shower of sparks that rain down. Axl looked at him like "what the hell?"
"You Could Be Mine" - Brain messed up the intro but they got it back together normal.
Axl made a speech about rehearsing with the band or something before "November Rain," it wasn't very clear.
Buckethead's solo was really awesome. After he passed out toys, he put the bag they were in on his head and he danced for awhile.
"The Blues" - Axl climbed up on the piano and sang.
"My Michelle" - Axl chased around the roadie that comes out to fix his mic stand (like in Tokyo 92).
During the end of "Patience," Axl and Robin accidentally collided and Robin like screamed and they laughed about it afterwards. Also during the song, Axl jammed out with rainstick with Dizzy.
Axl had mic problems during "Nightrain" and got really pissed off and left the stage and then, after a very long time (the band kept playing and playing), Axl came back and said, frustrated "This is a conversation we're going to be having later."
"Paradise City" - Buckethead had some kind of doll attached to him for some of the solo.
Axl - #54 black jersey, black pants
Robin - all white outfit
Buckethead - workout suit and green cape
Tommy - red plaid suit
Everybody else was pretty much wearing their normal attire.
Josh Howard's Review
Wow, what can I say? Everything about my experience kicked ass, from our last-minute decision to ditch driving 3 hours to Chi-town and instead fly there, to the location of our hotel near the arena, to the show itself, and to the fact that I de-virginized someone of flying and seeing Axl. The show was fucking awesome, better than I ever imagined. I won't go into the details that have been mentioned over and over, but I will mention shit that either isn't very important, or just shouldn't even be included, but I found irony, cleverness, and utter stupidity all throughout the arena, and I just have to share my insight with all of you.
First off, AllState Arena is pretty fucking trashy. I mean it is beautiful on the outside, bpromenadein promanade was fucking horribly "state fair-ish". There was hardly any room to move around with everyone out there "chillin'". The merch booths, although littered with cool shit, was too crowded with people bitching about the prices. HELLO, HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO A CONCERT???? THIS IS STANDARD PRICE!!! I bought the even t-shirt (I survived AllState Arena November 18, 2002) and the winter hat. That was $65. I almost broke down and bought the Lakers-style basketball jersey, but then I remembered how much I hate the Lakers, and I might as well have bought a baby-doll t-shirt and wore that around. Saved my ass $60, more for beer.
Which brings me to my second point, beer was a little too expensive. Sure, draft naturally is high, but they were charging $6 for a fucking 16oz can of Bud poured into a plastic cup. That was fucking ridiculous. Luckily I got my drink on at Chili's prior to entering the arena, so I only bought one beer, and decided to just imbibe in all the "special smoke" that was circulating around the arena. Its funny how it says clearly NO SMOKING INSIDE ARENA, yet there was more smoke there than in the designated areas.
Now that goes to the third point, why the fuck were people being encouraged to smoke in small, unventilated rooms where the floor was carpeted, and there was like 10 ashtrays for the literally 100 people sitting (read STANDING) in there, watching that terrible Bears game. There were pepromenadeing in the promanade as well, flicking ashes on the floor and butting their cigs on thcolumesand support-collumes. Yet, when my friend with me tried to light up, this fucking canned-Spam rent-a-dick made her go to the "Sport Bar" to smoke, and she was put off at the stale smoke that was still floating in the air.
Now, CKY didn't appear to have many fans, or interest for that matter. They put on a good show, and they worked their asses off up there, but the fans just weren't there. They were eitpromenadede smoking, in the promanade smoking, or watching the Bears game on one of the many monitors around the arena.
Mix Master Mike..........fucking sucked. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate his talent (and he does have a lot of talent), but I cannot show love forZeppelinwho will fucking mix Led Zepplin songs and ruin the integrity that those songs hold. The crowd, despite what some reviews have stated, fucking hated his show. I haven't heard that many boos since Axl ragged on Indiana during the '92 GnR/Metallica show at the Hoosier Dome. It was harsh. I felt bad because he is up there, trying to have a good time, but you could see that he was getting a little annoyed. At the end he said his goodnight to a huge uproar of boos, but then he changed it to something along the lines of "Enjoy GnR" or something like that, which then got a thunderous ovation, and he walked off, probably basking in the glow that he was able to dissolve the boos like that. So then comes the wait.
Stupid drunk fans kept us preoccupied. Two fights broke out in the lower bowl, straight at the back of the arena. Looked like someone probably hated the Bears or loved Slash or something because these fights were downright vicious. Even while the rent-a-Spam was prying them off, they were fighting anything their swings would connect with. Then someone thought it would be cool to introduce a huge fucking beachball to the crowd. It had a dumb assminutes of play time before some dumbass in the front decided to hit it up on the stage. Cue the stage hand, who, to a chorus of boos and immature "You suck, Man" chants, took the ball and threw it to the back of the stage, where it would never be seen again. Then, as if by a cue from my friend saying she had to go visit the pissitorium, the lights went out.
Cue the Exorcist intro. Then the opening chords of WTTJ. I lost it. I was screaming and shouting and practically crying like a little girl with a skinned knee. What can I say, the fucking guy MOVES me. He's hard to hear, and I am on the floor, about 25 feet from the stage. I didn't hear the notorious echo that has been mentioned, but like I said, I was on the floor, and the PA was aimed at me, so go figure. They ripped through WTTJ, Its So Easy, Brownstone, set-liste and Let Die. You know the rest of the setlist, so no poiset-listehashing that. They switched around the setlist a little bit, putting some songs ahead of their usual positions, and pushing Chinese Democracy to near last of the show. It was a welcome change, because it had us diehards guessing which songs would be played next. Then Brain began YCBM beautifully. The band began playing the intro chords. It was fucking beautiful. Finck and Bucket played the into together, and everything was fine....UNTIL Brain and Tommy fucked up, jumped 3 measures ahead of the band, and began the driving beat into the opening verse. It caught the rest off guard, as they were in the right place. But they recover nicely, and Axl comes out, looking at both Tommy and Brain. Brain had a huge smile on his face, while Tommy looked like he just shit himself. Axl smiled at both of them and strutted to the front of the stage. Song saved. More songs, blah blah blah, and you can follow other reviews for this info.
When Madagascar, The Blues, and CD were played, me and my friend were the only two people in our section that new the songs (hehehee, I love bootlegs). Everyone kept watching US as we were singing with Axl, moving with all the cues, and mmimickedy air-drumming spectacle that perfectly mimicced Brains' fills, it had to look to the others like these guys forgot to buy an album or something. The guy next to me kept asking for song titles, band members, and where I knew all this. Its amazing this preppy boy (early 30s, khakis, penny loafers, and a button shirt) didn't even think to do his research on the internet, downloading the mp3's at high speed (he looked like the type to have bought DSL just so he wouldn't have to hear the modem communicate). When the show ended, a few people were slipping on the beer/confetti sludge that had developed on the floor, and one guy, who looks to have brought a $500 Italian leather jacket to the concert, found his prized possession lying on theDumb ass, covered in beer and grime. None too happy I am sure. Dumbass, why don't you bring your all-suede outfit to a Gallagher show while you are at it. Morons. Anyway, that was my experience. It fucking rocked, I can't wait for the next (summer?) North American leg of the tour where they might actually come to Indiana. Play Verizon Wireless Music Center (Deer Creek) Axl, you know you liacousticse. At least it beats the fucking ConSUCKo Fieldhouse. Those accoustics are absolutely dreadful. Anyway, that was my diatribe, its time for work. Enjoy the rest of your day.
Sandy Z's Review
Wasn't too sure what to expect from my 'virgin' GNR show..or should I say 'virgin' Uncle Axl show, but it lived up to all of my expectations of what it's like to experience an all out balls rocking show with the big bad boy himself. I saw it all! The barely twenty-something Axl-holics surrounding me like swarms of rabid animals seeking their next prey, fights being egged on and cheered by the rest of the crowd in the balcony and in a couple of sections over from where my seat was, mass consumption of alcohol, the sweet smell of sticky icky-icky in the air, the pungent odor of people spewing all around me combined with that sawdust stuff like the janitors used in high school....oh yeah, I could tell that I was in for a great show! This was what I had been waiting for!
CKY (sorry I couldn't remember even three letters today, had to have some help on that) opened the show followed by Rap Master Mike of the Beastie Boys. The crowd wasn't much into either of them but Rap Master Mike pulled off a few that even the rock crowd could associate with. He totally flipped the script with a remix of The Immigrant Song. Right on Mike!
GNR stepped out onto the stage at 10 pm, played for two hours and proceeded to give us a little eye candy that kept them glued to the stage with their genius pyrotechnical battery, dazzling lighting effects, trippy videos and expert luminescent camerawork. I was in awe of the extent of the Axl-Extravaganza before me. Axl seemed to be very mellowed out in comparison to other videos that I've seen from the early years. He was not sporting the classic bandana, bike shorts, kilts or plaid flannel shirt. He had on long black loose pants and was first wearing an Atlanta Falcon #7 jersey with a white long sleeved t-shirt underneath and later switched to a Chicago Bears #54 Urlacher jersey. His corn row braided hair was pulled half-way back into a pony tail with the rest of his long hair flowing down past his shoulders. He did call a fan up front a cunt for throwing stuff at another fan (which was actually intended for Axl) and told them "they paid good money for those seats and don't need you throwing shit at them". After that, it seemed like all the rowdies settled down and everyone got into the show.
Thanks to my friend Jeff, the setlist went like this:
Welcome To The Jungle
It's So Easy
Live And Let Die
Knockin' On Heaven's Door
Think About You
You Could Be Mine
Sweet Child Of Mine
Out Ta Get Me
Robin Finck Solo
Jeff said that they mangled You Could Be Mine, which I didn't notice at all, but it could be the lousy acoustics that the arena has. Axl sounded great to me especially on Sweet Child of Mine and November Rain when he sat at the piano and things were a lot quieter. The music seemed to pump you up and then cool you off just in time to pump you back up again. Nightrain and Paradise City were great! I rocked my ass off along side of the diehards. The band and Axl seemed to be having a really good time playing together too. The guitar work was amazing. Buckethead dragged a stuffed dummy off of his guitar during Paradise City and with one of the huge explosions, a huge mass of confetti blew up into the air and just slowly drifted across the venue to the back of the arena like November Rain. Everyone was trying to grasp a piece as it floated overhead.
I had a great time from beginning to end. Thanks Axl, thanks kids and special thanks to Cato, Chief and Jeff for twisting my arm. What a show! Please catch one near you while you can.
Ok, all you mutherfuckers ranting bout Axl is fucking stupid and he ain't doing shit bout the album and so forth. You mutherfuckers can go to fucking hell. If your not a true GNR fan then get the fuck out of this message board and join Mr. Spaceman(Lance), I wanna be like Michael Jackson and screw Britney over and over(Justin) and rest of the piece shit fag band. The show last night was tremendously awesome. The wait is worth it, and the wait will be paid of by Axl when he decides to release the album. Yes it's not the same w/o Slash, Duff and Matt. But think of it this way, Axl and his mastermind needs to perfect the album so that he can make people believe that there is still Gun's N' Roses w/o the old members.
Now for the concert, the show started bout 10:00pm, no intro was played as there was in Rio 3 or the summer tour overseas. Soon as Finck came out with WTTJ intro, the crowd went nuts. I would say bout 20,000 people, minus the 4-5 people that got kicked out for fighting dumbasses. Paid like $65 for the ticket and then get into a fight and get kicked out. Not only that but missed out on the best band in the world live. The pyros during the shows was amazing, LALD took it to another level when the flames hit. KOHD, incredible version, the whole crowd was into it. Not just this song but to every song the crowd sang along and it was just awesome to see every true GNR fan to be there and sing along with the greatest singer. Robin with his solo, excellent, SCOM intro was amazing couldn't have been better, fuck Sheryl Crow to cover this song. NR and Madagascar, were incredible Buckethead solo in NR was great, Axl had so much energy that he was running up and down the stairs as if he was running a 100 meter dash. And amazingly he did not trip once. RQ and The Blues awesome, Dizzy was great on the piano on The Blues. Patience was great the whole crowd once again singing along the acoustic into electric was great, and when the part, "and the lights they shine so bright" everyone went absolutely nuts! Nightrain, was my favorite of the night, Buckethead was unbelievable during the solo, the crowd went nuts after the solos. And of course PC, fuck Courtney love to ruin this song, amazingly Axl was still running as fast as he was when he started the show, the solos were great, and Buckethead was hilarious dragging that doll around him and messing with him before falling over. The pyros and confetti was awesome, kicked the song up few notch. The show ended right at midnight. The show lasted right at 2 hrs. Overall the concert 10 out 10. Must Go See Concert!
In regards to one post earlier bout how Axl didn't' say any goodbye or bow to the fans, he started to bow as the lights went out, so can't blame him for that. But he tried to do so.
Back to the fights, if you fuckers on this message board that were involved how stupid are you guys, drink some fucking beers and enjoy the damn concert. I mean isn't that's why you were there? Yea you guys brought some enjoyment before GNR hit the stage but it was stupid. It was GNR's responsibility to cheer the fans up and they couldn't have done it any better.