Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
November 22nd 2002

David Jakielo's Review

For all the bad that has been said about the Detroit show, the Pittsburgh show was the complete opposite. This was an amazing show. I really didn't think Axl's voice could hold up all show, but it did. He was holding notes longer during certain songs (especially Live and Let Die) than he did 10 years ago. I don't know how this guy does it.

Security checks were HORRIBLE. I was going to buy a decent tape recorder and tape it to my leg to bootleg this show, but figured they would find it. The guy didn't even pat me down, he just told me to go. They were doing this to most people so there should definitely be some bootlegs out there.

I loved how about 10 kids immediately began to mosh during the start of the show. There is always the bodybuilder on steriods who takes his shirt off and wants to hurt someone. All the other fans sort of looked at them and got the message across that this isn't what GNR is about. I never understood moshing...I just felt it was something entertaining, yet dumb to do while a bad performance was happening. Thankfully, GNR is entertaining enough for people to just watch and go crazy.

CKY really ruined it for themselves when one of their guitarists tried to get the crowd to hate him. This made no sense to me and made what seems to be a decent band come off bad.

Mix Master Mike either really, really cool and entertaining or rather boring. He's weird as an opener but the new generation of Guns N Roses fans will love this type of thing. The old gunners really seemed to dislike it. I loved the parts that played Rob Zombie, Rage Against The Machine, etc. but other parts really dragged. A Nelly song should NEVER be played at a GNR show.

MMM ended around 9:30. From this point GNR cameras would scan the crowd looking for girls to flash. Many went for it.including two girls that decided to make out briefly. During this time I headed to the back and a bunch of people were saying how they hate Axl and he'll never show up. One guy yelled how he was leaving soon if he didn't show I started talking to him. His last GNR show was San Diego 10 years ago. He didn't know too much about the new band and never heard the songs. He said if they didn't show at 10:30 he was leaving.

Hopefully he stayed till 10:47 when GNR finally came on.or else he missed one hell of a show. I noticed many people getting very upset about Axl, saying how they hated him. That there lies the beauty of Axl Rose. One minute an arena filled with people hate his guts.then he shows up and transforms into the greatest guy in the world.

The show kicked off to a great and flawless start with Jungle, It's So Easy, and Brownstone. One song right after another, no breaks. Axl was wearing a Jerome Bettis home jersey, white shoes, and black silky ADIDAS pants. Live and Let Die was UNREAL. How he held the screams that long is beyond me. During this song I felt the need to yell out, "HE'S BACK." At this point the place was rocking and it put a smile on my face to see people just getting off to the whole experience.

Things slowed down with Knockin' On Heaven's Door. We all know Axl's voice has changed from 10 years ago, but the voice he has now makes for a much smoother version of the song.

Axl then dedicated Think About You to all the girls in the audience who flashed the crowd. Another note to keep in mind is how Axl was running around like a wild man but still managed to sing fine without seeming out of breath. A powerful version of You Could Be Mine followed.

Then Robin played his intro to Sweet Child and everyone went crazy as you'd expect. People can say, Slash this, Slash that.and I loved Slash but Robin does it just as well.

Somewhere around this point Axl switched to a Mario Lemieux jersey and said something to the effect of, "I know you people are gamblers (I remember reading about a Pittsburgh show years ago where he said "I don't know much about Pittsburgh except I lost a lot of money because of the Steelers).did you really think I was gonna show up?"

Out Ta Get Me Played and then Axl said how people aren't happy about them not playing new songs but tonight would be more of a nostalgia night. However, he wanted to play a new song.Madagascar. I think this is the best new song, really strong. If you want to get looks from people, as if to say, "you are a sick freak" make sure to sing the lyrics to Madagascar. All of us have heard the new songs since the RIR 3 show, and tend to not realize how hardly anyone has heard the new songs. I wonder how much of a percent of the audience has heard those songs, I bet very little. People didn't seem real sure how to take it, but by the end dug it. More of a reception for this song than the other new ones because of the MTV Video Awards exposure.

Axl then asked for a piano, he joked around playing one intro, then played some sweet intro into November Rain. Not sure what that second intro was, but if it's the beginning of a new song, he has something. There might be nothing better than when Axl is on singing November Rain, and tonight he was on. The fire effects are a great effect.

Everyone was digging the Buckethead solo. Some people find him weird, and he is but he can play. He played the same songs he has been playing on the tour, Star Wars, Pirates Life For Me, etc. Very entertaining and he seems to be getting a cult following.

Next was Rocket Queen, followed by The Blues. Dizzy played piano for The Blues. Axl stood on top of the piano for the closing of the song. I think this song contains the best lyrics out of the new songs. The last verse of the song is something everyone has felt at least once in their life.

Due to the Detroit incident, I was worried that the show would end with Patience. Thankfully it didn't, on this night they played it the way it should be played.

Around this time Axl mentioned how he was at a restaurant and this girl seemed excited to see him. First she wanted an autograph, then he ate, she wanted a picture, than after she wanted to talk him again. "Then she began to rip me a new @#%$." Axl asked her where she heard things she was saying and she said, "I read them on the Internet." Really funny stuff. Maybe she asked him about THIS I LOVE which seems to be a subject and a burning question that will never die. Anyway, Axl said how the Internet is a great tool and even he learns things going on in his band on there. "I'll read something, then call someone and they'll say 'I didn't know that' and then add, 'oh yeah, I did hear about that."

Chinese Democracy rocked and the fire effects made it even more impressive. A teen sitting behind me said "if he can sing like this on a record, he's gonna sell a lot of @#%$ records again." The guy he was with responded..this guy can sing his ass off." They were both right.and anyone who says "Axl is too old, out of shape, etc." Has no idea what they are talking about.I'm sure he's proving it in other cities like he proved it in Pittsburgh, he's for real and so is the rest of the band. I can't stress enough what they proved tonight.

Nightrain played, leading into the encore of Robin and Paradise City. Before Paradise City Axl was waving a Terrible Towel, which is a legendary item dealing with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Axl sure knows all the tricks. Paradise City had the smoke, fireworks, confetti, etc.

I'm probably forgetting certain things but it's late.someone else will fill in what I missed. Bottom line is this, GNR is back. The crowd was filled with fans whose GNR shirts were a little tighter than when they bought them 10 years ago and new fans. People were into it. The older people sat at times, which is a bummer, but that happens. Going to this concert and getting off on it..and looking around and seeing people my age, who weren't old enough to experience the Use Your Illusion tour but discovered GNR on their own.will make you feel very, very happy. We are all very lucky that this is happening around the country..don't miss out, and take a friend. Axl Rose has done what few have done in the past. He captured one generation and is on the right track to not only recapture them but also capture a whole new generation, with the help of an excellent, tight band.

One final comment. I was seated in a way so that I could see the backstage area too. Well, at one point I saw Axl go back there (in the middle of a song) and he saw this older lady sitting on the steps. Not sure who the older lady was but Axl had a big smile on his face and jokingly acted like he was going to kick her down the steps. This wasn't for show, he's a happy man.

Axl once wrote, "I want to get to a place mentally where I can say, 'Hey, this is me, capture it,' and I'm not there yet. I'm trying to get myself healthy." Axl Rose is finally there, he's healthy.

keesport's Review

Just got back from the show and will attempt to collect my thoughts. Cky didn't care for them. MMM at first was into it but lost interest after about 15 minutes. Then it was time to wait. Looked to me that there was maybe 7 thousand there and thats a generous guessprobly more around 6. Show starts around 11 axl comes out wearing a #36 Jerome Bettis Steelers jersey. They do the WTTJ and the usual appetite songs his vocals were a little low. After a couple songs tey fixed it. YCBM sounded pretty good the pyro was exciting. Changes into a #66 Lemiuex Pens shirt. LALD n KOHD both sounded good. SCOM as always a crowd pleaser. Madagascar got a good response from the crowd. NR was the highlight of the night, he sounded just like he used to, the lil piano intro was good. He did this little thing where he would play a lil and then stop n turn his head and the crowd would go nuts. Rocket queen sounded good. BH solo blew me and it seemed like everyone else there away. The Blues got a good reaction CD not as good a reaction. A rant about aome woman bitching at him and tearing him a new asshole and him whining about the internet, it wasn't too clear what he was trying to say. Patience, I had my fingers crossed that they wouldn't fuck it up n storm of stage. Nightrain was fantastic BH was dead on. PC was a great ending to a great show. My first show and I went in a bit skeptical but Axl made a believer out of me. If he can ever get new material out and keep this band together they could be a force to be reckoned with again.

krimzinilluzin's Review

Ok here's my review. CKY came on at about 7:30. I was kinda into them at first but after the first song the bassist was like whats up shitsburgh. From there out fuck them. Mix Master Mike came on probably around 8:15, 8:30ish. He was really well recived by the crowd. Alot of hard rock in his set. He played for a long time like over hour. I heard later Axl didn't get to Pittsburgh til 8:30. Following MMM's set there was about an hour break in between. During the break i got a drink and saw a guy that looked ALOT like Tommy Lee, i didn't ask him to see if it was him though (oh well). Durning the wait the camera men would scan the crowd and some of the girls would flash.

GNR took the stage at about 11. The arena looked to me to be 3/4 full. Opened with Jungle. Axl had a Steelers 36 jersey (Bettis). Following Jungle right into It's So Easy then to Mr. Brownstone. Next was LALD if i remember right. After that i'm not quite sure on the song order i'll have to listen to my tape of the show (if the quality is any good) to determine the exacts. Axl dedicates Think About You to the girls who entertined us before GNR took the stage. Axl asked if we we're gamblers and if we really thought he'd show up. He switched to a Penguins 66 (Lemuiex) jersey sometime before November Rain (not quite sure). November Rain was awsome. Before his rant about the internet/the lady that ripped him a new asshole I kept yelling "Catcher In The Rye." The Blues, Madagascar, and Chinese Democracy are AWSOME live. They finished up the reg. set with Nightrain. Came back to play Paradise City where i took pics like a madman (27 pics in 6 mins).

Awesome show. Axl's voice was perfect and he was in a great mood all night. He interacted with everybody on stage. Everybody sounded great no audio problems at all. The crowd was into the show allnight. This may have been the greatest show of the tour to date.

M. Jason Smiley's Review

let me first start at the beginning. i have been a huge fan of GNR since '88. AFD was the first tape i ever bought - and since it had the "parental advisory" sticker on it, my parents wouldn't let me buy it. i had to borrow my friend's copy so my dad could listen to it first ;-) no big deal, i was allowed to buy it the next trip to the store (hey, i was only in middle school at the time). in those early years, i never got to see them live. during AFD i was too young to even think about asking my dad to drive me to a rock concert that was an hour away. during the illusions tour, the closest show was one of the canceled ones. the tokyo PPV was the closest i ever got (besides my bootleg collection). so this time around i'm making sure to be there. my plan was 4 shows but shit happens, i'm only making it to 3.

so i take the day off from work and start the 4 hour drive to pittsburgh. i stalled around outside trying to get in but was in no hurry since i knew gnr wouldn't be going on till at least 9:45. finally head in the arena at 9:00 and get to my seat about 9:10. i totaly missed the first band (CNKY or whatever they are), but mix master mike from the beastie boys was still playing when i got there. he was alright, but not really what i'm into. the crowd wasn't really into him either, some songs they cheered and some they booed (shit - they booed brass monkey, i was like WTF???).... anyway, he finally got off the stage around 9:20 and said "axl will be out in about 20 minutes".... yea right. i knew that wasn't going to happen. at about 10:20 the house music stopped - i think the tape ran out and they had to start it over ;-) by 10:30 we were starting to wonder what was going to happen. everyone was getting tired of the big screen monitors showing hot chics in the crowd... but none of the girls flashing. a couple of them finally did, hehe, but it got old after a while. it seemed like they were trying to do stuff to keep the crowd from getting too nervous. i got cheap seats and was up top by myself. the floor was GA and about 1/2 full. the lower bowl was about 2/3 full. the upper bowl was pretty empty. i was a little suprised at the age range, old people, my group (which i figured would be the biggest since we were from the old days), and lots of young kids! only saw about 4 buckeheads in the crowd. i took seats over on the side side i was still close enough to see the stage. finally about 10:45 the lights went out. about 10:50 the intro started - no movie - just weird lights and stuff.... then out came guns with WTTJ!

setlist was the normal one, nothing new there. mostly AFD songs, a couple off illusions (YCBM, estranged), and the 3 new songs.

no i did not write down the setlist since it's the same that most of you have seen already. (plus the plan was to listen later...

out ta get me
axl piano, november rain
intros, drum/buckethead solo
rocket queen
the blues
axl internet rant
chinese democracy
paradise city

i think the setlist was pretty good, i'm a big fan of AFD and the early years - so i'm loving these shows! sound was good all night - there was no trouble with sound or video stuff.

the guys were all great. brain, chris, dizzy were their normal selves. tommy had his red/black plaid suit on (took off jacket later in the night). buckethead, robin, and richard were their normal selves. i was expecting more from robin, he didn't impress me as much as i was expecting. richard was the one i liked - he had some stage presence and was exciting to watch. axl was in normal attire - started the show with a pittsburgh steeler jersey (36, bettis i think), after about 30 minutes he came out with a pittsburgh penguin jersey (66, lemieux). most the guys were pretty animated all night, playing on each side of the stage and all over.

axl had a couple speeches but nothing serious. his first one was "man, pittsburgh is full of gamblers." we were all like WTF? then he says "bet you were starting to think we weren't coming." ya - well FU axl, it only took you till 11:00 to get on the stage. later in the night he went on about the internet and how easy it is to get all this info, how he (talking very sarcasticly) learns all about the band on the internet, then he'll go to some one and be like "did you hear about..." and they'll say they read about it last week on the internet. well axl.... you sure don't give us any info about what's going on...

overall i was a little on the disappointed side. i'm an old fan, so i of course like the original band. i've got the boots from the "latest" shows... rio, new years eve, etc and really like the new band. when they took the stage with WTTJ - i was totaly freaking out! finally - guns n roses in real life!!! but by the beginning of the 3rd song... the excitement just wasn't there. yes i like the new band, but to me it's just not what i want from gnr. i'm not wanting to get in any of the arguments about old band/new band, gnr the business, etc, etc. i know how it goes and pretty much agree with both sides. that's why i was wondering how i would actually feel after waiting all these years and finally getting to see my all time favorite band live. axl just wasn't the axl i love (like axl from the ritz show), and everyone else on stage was new guys. again - just telling you how my emotions went and what i felt when i finally got to see my band live for the first time in my life.