John Labatt Centre, London, Canada
November 30th 2002

Guns a blazin
- James Reaney, London Free Press

A Rose by any other name would have simply been too late for his own party.

Fortunately for arrogant Axl Rose, his fans will wait just about forever for a taste of their Guns N' Roses hero.

But the cheers from the standing crowd of about 9,000 fans at the John Labatt Centre last night showed rock star Axl Rose will always be right on time for his people.

When he emerged about 11 p.m. last night for the Guns N' Roses classic Welcome to the Jungle, it was welcome to Axl-land and the party was on.

Much of the show was too late for deadlines to be reviewed, but Axl showed his hockey smarts by sporting a Team Canada jersey. In Michigan, he'd worn a Red Wings jersey. In Toronto on Friday night, he was a Leaf.

London was lucky. It had the Axl for every fan.

Rose holds the rights to the Guns N' Roses name.

One star is emerging from the collection of Rose's new hires since he fell out with most of his old Gunmates. That would be the guitarist known as Buckethead. He earned that name as a masked man wearing a KFC bucket on his dome.

Vintage hits have trotted out all tour long, including Live and Let Die (the McCartney-Bond item), Knockin' on Heaven's Door (the Bob Dylan tune), Sweet Child o' Mine, You Could Be Mine, Mr. Brownstone, Patience and Paradise City.

November Rain has Rose playing a grand piano under a waterfall of fireworks.

Much has been said by critics along the tour about Rose's chops not aging well, but a shaky sound system made it difficult to know for sure.

It's the band's -- or, more correctly, the Axl-dominated band's -- first North American tour since 1993.

The only other former GNR member on the tour is keyboardist Dizzy Reed, who came on board for 1991's Use Your Illusion I and II.

The rest of the lineup is Brian (Brain) Mantia (formerly of Primus), bass player Tommy Stinson (from the Replacements), keyboardist Chris Pitman (Replicants) and three guitarists: Richard Fortus (Psychedelic Furs), Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails) and Buckethead.

The hired hands have all been working with Rose and Reed on the long-awaited new GNR album, Chinese Democracy. Its release is set for 2003, as soon as February. The album has been delayed so many times that cynics have said there will be democracy in China before Axl finishes Chinese Democracy.

Meanwhile, GNR's former duelling guitarists Slash and Izzy Stradlin and two other former GNR members, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum -- have been auditioning singers for a new band of their own.

"I wish them the best," Reed has told a U.S. rock writer. "If they want to go out and hit the road, cool. No one can stop them. They're great players in their own right."

Last night, the centre had extra security. It's normal for an entertainment venue to have heavier security for a rock concert than a pop event, general manager Brian Ohl said.

Fans rioted in Vancouver after Rose's non-arrival cancelled a Nov. 7 concert meant to open the North American leg of GNR's world tour. Rose had missed his flight from Los Angeles. Police used pepper spray to end the hour-long melee outside GM Place.

At a concert 10 years ago tomorrow in Santiago, Chile, 10 people were hurt and 178 people arrested. The group's departure from the country was delayed about nine hours as authorities searched their private plane in vain for drugs.

In 1991, Rose precipitated a riot in Maryland Heights, Mo., a St. Louis suburb, by jumping off the stage and attacking a fan videotaping the concert. Sixty people were hurt and the concert building was wrecked. Rose was eventually put on probation for two years and ordered to donate $50,000 to five social service organizations.

GNR entered the music scene in 1985, earning fans with their punk-infused heavy metal sound. The band's heydays were between 1987 and 1992, when Welcome to the Jungle, Paradise City, Sweet Child o' Mine and November Rain dominated the airwaves.

The band has sold more than 80 million albums.

Josee's Review

The next day we drove the two hours separating Toronto from London and about 10 kilometres away from London, we got caught in a snow storm. But we finally arrived there. We thought London would be the nowhere land, but itís a very nice little city. GNR were playing at the brand new John Labatt Centre. We decided to arrive at the show around 8h45. This time, we had floor tickets, 7th row. We were right beside the alley separating the first and second section of the floor. Great seats really and the view was promising to be awesome!!!

Mix Master Mike had not even begin yet and he played like an hour and fifteen minutes. I guess GNR were probably late because of the storm. They started the show at 11h. But this time, everybody rushed in front, close to the stage. My friend and I did the same thing and believe it or not, we were able to go in the front row, right in the middle, and stay there for the whole show!! At first security was trying to push people back. But they eventually stopped trying to send people back to their seats and they concentrated on not letting more people come. But we were there and we stayed there! And what an amazing night! Thatís a dream come true, seeing GNR in the middle of the front row!! The show was just as good as the day before, and even better for us! I had more occasions to look at the other members that night.

All of them are really good players. They are all really into it and they have a good interaction with each other and the crowd. They play with emotions and it shows that they are happy to be there. The one who impressed me the most is Buckethead. Maybe thatís because he was the one I was less looking forward to seeÖYou know, a guy with a KFC Bucket on his head is not the most inspiring thing to me. But that was BEFORE I saw him play live. I kept hearing good things about him, but I didnít have an opinion myself. But I can honestly say the guy is an amazing player. Heís talented and his solos are captivating. And although he is discreet, he has charisma.

When Axl introduced the band, this time Brain had some sort of small plastic balls in his mouth or something like that and he threw them out. It was pretty funny!

Axl was still in a good mood. He talked a bit less but he made a speech about China and what is going on there. Seeing him that close was totally cool. He sings these songs with so much emotions, the old ones and the new ones. You can see the emotions on his face as he sings. He seems in such a good shape. You have to see this man in a live show, to see his energy. Itís contagious! I mean, you have not seen anything if you have not seen Axl Rose live. Itís totally worth the money, the wait, the drive or everything else. Right upon that first show in Toronto, GNR was not my favourite live performance. But that changed now. They totally rock!

If Iím not mistaking, the set list was the same as in Toronto.

To conclude, if you are hesitating to see this band live, donít. You shouldnít be because they are a good band and youíll have a great time for sure. I personally had the time of my life. Itís an experience I will not forget! And I recommend it to every GNR fan, whether you liked this band for a long time or youíre just starting to get into it now. Long live GNR!

Angel's Review

When the London show was first announced, everyone was like ''Where the fuck is London? Why London, Hamilton is more of a rock city in Ontario. London=the boonies''. But London is cool - it's a small town and I really liked it!

Besides the big screen showing girls flashing/one girl mooning/one girl taking off her shirt and rubbing her right nipple, this show ROCKED! Liked it better than the Toronto show because the crowd was more into it and security on the floor was a bit less anal. When GNR went on, a bunch of pple on the floor swarmed to the front. At this point the security tried to get pple to go back to their seats but weren't very successful. My friend and I were lucky enough to make our way to the front.

Andrew Downs was there and we met up with BFD (on this list) before the show. All of us got to hang in the front row center all night - so fucking cool! We sang all the songs as well as Madagascar and The Blues. Some pple thought we were quite loud but then again not that many pple knew these new songs so the crowd was a bit more quiet and was listening... When looking around me on the floor I was surprised to see that not that many pple knew the lyrics of My Michelle, Think About You, Rocket Queen and other AFD songs that weren't released. Thought that was kinda sad cauz they're great songs! But they were nevertheless still into it.

Axl's voice was amazing in Live and Let Die - held the screams the longest I have ever heard. It was strong in all songs. Again, I was impressed by Brain - with the slight exception of when he was introduced by Axl and he released from his mouth what seemed to be rubber balls and some icky slimy shit. That was nasty! The band played all the songs without error. It was a great show!

Pretty much the same set list was played. Just like in Toronto, they didn't play Rhiad and the Bedouins nor did they play Estranged. The only Illusions songs they played was (as in all other shows) LALD, KOHD and November Rain.

I liked Robin's solos before SCOM and Paradise City. Tommy was animated (as always) and interacted with the crowd. I think his onstage presence is very energetic and positive. Buckethead did his thing and gave out 3 action figures (just like at the Toronto show). There was this guy and his girlfriend that were BIG Bucketfans. They both had the masks and KFC buckets. They were so cool, they let me wear their buckets for a little bit! :-) The guy had some of Bucket's moves down to a tee! They told me that they've been fans for like 10 years and they drove up from the US (can't remember from where exactly). This guy got a toy from Buckethead. It was a Galidor action figurine.

On our way to London we hit a BIG snow storm. We were sure that GNR would go on later than late. We weren't wrong. MixMasterMike played for like an hour. I think the pple were getting a bit restless. Personally, I can take his thing for like 10 minutes. His regular 30 min set was too much for me, nevermind one hour! GNR hit the stage at around 11 pm, finished around 1 am.

Overall, great show, very much worth the money you pay and the drive (if you're from out of town). I hope they come back to Toronto and London; they were *very* well received and I think the London show was sold out.

BFD's Review

Got into London a little later than anticipated due to an accident in Hamilton, and some horrble blowing snow just outside of London. There were cars driving on the other side of the freeway and people parked on the middle of the road becuase they couldn't see where the shoulder was. Pretty freaky shit, you really couldn't see more than a couple of feet in front of you. Managed to get to the hotel safely (which by the way was a huge two bedroom suite with a kitcken and stove that I wasn't expecting!) and after some quick beer walked down toward the venue which was about a ten minute walk from the hotel. Met up with Angel and Josee and had some more beer (of course) before heading inside the Labatt Center. Merchandise was a little pricey so I didn't pick anything up. Missed CKY but I didn't really care to see them, MMM played quite a long time, unfortunately this didn't really keep my attention for a while. Not really any different than listening to the radio aside from some scratching. I had seats on the floor here but kinda far back so I didn't sit in them for long. I was surprsied that security weren't checking tickets more when you got closer up, which would pay off for me later!

They didn't cut off beer until about 10:30pm (wow), kinda crap considering they're allowed to serve until 2:00am. The guys went on here a touch after 11:00pm which I ws kinda expecting due to the weather. As soon as the opening notes to Jungle came on people rushed towards the stage, and security didn't do much about, which was good cuz I went from my lousy floor seat to front row center directly in front of Axl Fucking Rose! Yes! Angel and Josee were right next to me, Andrew was a little off to our left. And the band absolutely rocked, the best show I've ever seen. I noticed more people singing to the new stuff than I expected which was cool. Two Buckethead fans with Buckets and masks from Ohio were right with us and one of them got a Galidor action figure from Bucket, real cool. I think Axl called him 'Frankenbucet' which was pretty funny.

Tommy kinda reminds me of Billie Joe from Green Day in his stage actions and attitude. Robin's solos were cool and looking at his hair real close up it's proabably what Kim Mitchell would look like if he took his hat off. Bucketheads playing was awesome of course, the rest of the guys were good, Axl's voice was just absolutely solid, holding his screams for an inhuman amount of time. Not bad for a 'fat, old bald guy'!

They finshed off a little after 1:00am, which gave time to hit a bar for some more beer.(Of course). I was walking with the two Buckethead fans and one of them let me wear her Bucket, and noticed how much attention you get wearing this thing, especially in a dumpy bar filled with 50 year old drunken bikers!

Although I spent a hell of a lot of cash (add on the extra cash for getting busted going 182 km/hr on the way home the next day) I'd have to say it was well worth it. I'm sure there are a lot of details I'm missing but like I said earlier I'm still kinda coming back to earth.

kyrie's Review

I'll keep this one short since my Toronto review was LONG.

The drive to London was nuts. Hit whiteouts and heavy snow. Missed the opening acts. For some odd reason (especially after Mix Master Mike in Toronto) I wasn't disappointed.

The flesh show started sometime around 10:15 I guess. Thanks again to all the ladies keeping us occupied during the wait. London girls seemed a lot more adventerous than Toronto - no big wait for the first person to go. Four or five girls in a row dropped their pants right away and that got the ball rolling.

The place was packed - sellout or very close to it. Crowd was REALLY into things a lot more than Toronto. I was a lot closer to the front than last night. That was a blessing and a curse - the crowd drowned out most of Axl's speeches. The view was much better though! The vocals came through decently though, and he got a lot of applause throughout the night for his singing - mainly the screams.

What I did catch of his speeches, were about them playing more new songs on the next leg of the tour. And he talked about the drive here - "that was interesting" or something. LOL. Yes, it was.

The setlist was the same as Friday night, just mixed up a bit. No Rhiad. Buckethead did some different stuff in his solo. Different toys as well I think. The martial arts deal is really cool. That boy's had some training or fakes it really well.

Highlights of the show - November Rain was fucking solid tonight. Richard did much better with his solo, was dead on. Also great in The Blues again. Madagascar went over really well. Crowd just kind of swayed to it, since they didn't know it, but I heard a lot of people saying it was a cool song.

A lot of positive comments after the show also. A lot of people screaming in the streets as well.

I'm thinking GNR will definately go back to London later in the tour. I was real skeptical of them playing a town that small - it's 300,000 or so. A university town, which helps. But this was a packed house and the crowd was really into it, and that puts some of the earlier US stops to shame. I'd definately head back there again, even if it's a bitch to drive to.

Security was a bitch. TWO searches and a metal dector. No motherly women working the floor - all big beefy guys, and they made their presence known. A lot of assholes among that bunch. The older dudes were all cool - they were in charge and vetrens of this shit. Some of the younger guys were pricks, pushing people out of their way when they walked through the crowd. A LOT of people got taken off the floor for not having tickets. I dunno how they got in with all the security checks.

In the Blues (I think) someone got up into the rafters. There's two walkways WAY up high at the top of the rink. They spotlighted him and he ran like the fucking battery bunny, they had someone up there chasing him, but they never caught him. That was kinda surreal. If he'd had a gun, Axl could have had a hole in him. Or if he was nuts, or tripped, he could have fallen to his death. I'm not sure how many people noticed it, security got smart and took the spotlights off him pretty quick. Axl did notice (I saw him look up) but never let on.

Funniest part of the night was Axl playing with the cops. There were a LOT of uniforms. Security was way more intense than the ACC. Anyhow, early in the night he wanted to get this lady cop to smile, and she finally did. Then during Out Ta Get Me, as he sang "they push me in a corner just to get me to fight", he was over by the cops in the corner of the stage singing right to that gal and three or four other uniforms. Was really funny.

I think I preferred this show, just because the crowd was so much better. I hope some bootlegs turn up, but since security was just nuts... then again I hear there's a Toronto boot around, gotta get my hands on that.

I'm out... hope you all have fun at your shows!

Andrew Downs' Review

So that was the best show I've ever been to. I must admit that being in the front probably had something to do with it, but it was still a kick ass show. Didn't notice any serious mistakes. The big moment for me was during The Blues, when I was singing a long with Axl and he noticed. After looking at more for a bit with a weird look on his face he started smiling as if to say "How does this guy know the words to the song, I haven't even released the damn thing." Pretty cool. Then when he came out to do Paradise City, Axl and I sang a line of the chorus together (sounds kind of gay, but whatever - it was cool to see that the guy I've been listening to for the past 12 years was looking at me and I was singing along with him).

Oh, look for a big African American (not real tall, but just big) walking behind security in front of the stage. He's the dude that hands out backstage passes. Especially if you're a hot chick, but watch it, he's a little grabby (I was going to ask my friend to ask him for me but she wasn't too into getting her boobs fondled - understandable). Also glad to see Angel, Josee, and BFD at the show. Glad you guys were able to stay at the front. They can atest to the fact that from beginning to end, I never let my arms leave the air. I think I was one of the few who constantly had his fist waiving. Also, I think I jumped throughout Paradise City. Never have I rocked so hard before. Cool band...

Quick notes:

Right after It's So Easy, Axl talked directly to the police, trying to get them to smile. I think he was successful with one of the female cops.

He didn't do much talking during this concert. He did rant somewhat about China, and how he can watch CNN in his hotel, but the citizens of China are not allowed American programing. He also mentioned how he visited the glass casket of Chairman Mao in Beijing.

Buckethead did not bring his doll out in tonight's show.

His attire was a Team Canada Hockey Jersey (away-red) from the Olympics, then a Home Leafs jersey, then a London Knight's away jersey (local hockey team), and finally he came back to the away Maple Leafs jersey.

Seemed like he was having a good time and was in good spirits.

If you have front row seats or are near the front, bring a buckethead costume and you're sure to get a gift from Buckethead. This guy that was sitting beside my friend and I (believe he was from Columbus), wore a buckethead and mask the whole night. Axl was pretty impressed with his imitation of buckethead's moves and made mention of it. I was glad for the guy because he seemed pretty friendly and I think he paid a lot of money for his tickets over e-bay.

That's all for now, going to bed (it's now 4:30 am). I have to be up in five hours to begin my trip to Boston. A full report when I get back next week.

schnoogans 37's Review

Well, I suppose I'll write one of these suckers up for you guys, got home REAL late last night and needed my sleep (I should be writing a paper today), but here I am, finally.

Well, this show was kind of special for me because I was taking my dad. I bought him a ticket for Christmas (2nd row dead center floor nonetheless), because I kind of wanted him to see what I spend so much money and time on, and also because back when I thought Rio was going to be the very first show, he was going to pay for us to fly down to see it because he knew how important it was for me to go....we were talking to travel agents at the time the Vegas show was announced, which I went to instead (and saved thousands of dollars)...

The trip over: Holy cow. We left VERY early, got to the venue at like 5PM and they werent letting people go in yet....being downtown, the parking lot at this place fit about 20 cars so I dont know where everyone parked, but we got one of the last spaces. There was a full blown blizzard going down at this time and threw the opening acts. I just KNEW axl wasnt gonna show. I could just feel it. If Axl was waiting til last minute to come in from Toronto he was going to have a hellish time with traffic which was nearly stopped on the highways.

My dad and I hung out at a big building next door that was a sort of indoor flea market. Very odd. A bunch of little stands in one store, maybe you canadians have a lot of these, I dont know....found a book in there that had a bunch of funny stories about Axl in it....that was kind of that to pass time....

Headed back over to the arena at about 6. Doors opened at 6:30. They had metal detectors and all, and they went off on me, but the lady was like "youre fine, its probably just change or something", so it was a little more relaxed than some of the US searches Id been through.

Got our seats, they were just incredible. Absolute dead center in front of the stage and only one row back. CKY played, and my dad actually kind of liked them. They sounded really good at this show, maybe I didnt give them enough of a chance in Detroit, but they did what they did well and with a lot of energy. Crowd loved them.... was one of the funnier parts of the night. We had THE drunk guy of the night sitting right behind us.....mullet, goatee, all of that.....and he was hilarious with CKY. CKY is on stage in between songs and the place is pretty quiet and CKY says "What the fucks up Ontario?" to which this guy screams back "What the fucks up CKY!?" Then in between songs he yells up "WHERE ARE YOU FROM" they respond "Philadelphia" He yells back "I'M FROM LONDON!". Everyone was cracking up. They were like "Dont worry, we arent die hard Flyers fans or anything." Drunk guy yells, very sincerely, "DO YOU LIKE THE MAPLE LEAFS??" It just made for a really really entertaining night, this guy...

Good crowd response for both CKY and Mix Master Mike. (Drunk guy, during very quiet moment yells to Mix Master Mike..."DO YOU HAVE ANY AC/DC!??")

The whole show was started very late...probably due to weather, CKY went on well after 8. So it was about 11:05 when the lights dimmed for Jungle....

GNR came on and this crowd was DEAFENING. If theres a bit of confusion about most of the things Axl said all night it was because he was literally drowned out. I have never heard a crowd this LOUD. It was incredible. After the first or second song even Axl noted "This is quite the loud crowd tonight!" I spoke to security, this show was SOLD OUT. And the amazing thing was that even in that horrible weather I was hard pressed to find a vacant seat anywhere, everyone seemed to still manage to get there for it.

Axl was in the most 'excited' mood Ive ever seen him. Even when nothing was going on he was leaping up and down like a kid on christmas.....he ran across the stage like it was 92....faster than either of the other two shows I went to. His voice sounded great, but he still sounded the best in Detroit.

In my last review (The cleveland show) I mentioned that Robin often played a bit sloppy on the leads and missed notes and that Fortus should be awarded more leads to play. For those that think constructive criticism is bashing, ya'll can fuck off, because not only did Robin seem far more focused at this show (he looked UNCONSCIOUS during sweet child.....which is good) and he really did nail the solos at this show---I was VERY impressed with Robin this go around, but Fortus was also given another this show Fortus played the solos for Think about you, Rocket Queen, and the first solo for November Rain (Finck took the second, Bucket the third, kinda nice)

As for Axl's comments, he spoke little one liners occasionally that were virtually impossible to hear due to the crowd....but he did ask "Just how much snow do you people get around here??" which was pretty funny, and he had a LONG rant after Chinese Democracy about china.... He asked if anyone had ever been to China, and commented on how when he was in China in his motel room he could watch MTV, and HBO, and CNN, and all these channels, but these were forbidden to the actual chinese people and that most of them dont even have TV sets to begin with and those that do watch government programming. He also stated that in China you can have a trial behind closed doors, be executed the next day, and your family has no idea whats going on. He said it was just interesting how its just a country FILLED with people who are just terrified to be there. He also mentioned going to see chairman Mao. They have his body entombed in glass there and you can line up in a big line and you walk along and theres chairman Mao....then I think he realized hed been just kind of talking about china for quite a while and was like "Well anyways, back to the show". Despite starting at 11:05, they played a full show including My Michelle (No Rhiad, thats still a Detroit exclusive), the show wrapped at 1:10 so it was a nice full 2 hours and 5 minutes of show.....OH, Axl also did mention at the end that he looked forward to coming back there soon when he would play "a bunch of new songs, and a longer show" it looks like the new songs that start getting into rotation may just be additions....we could be seeing some 2 and a half hour GNR shows next summer.... He was in a great mood, definitely the best crowd so far that Ive been to....great response to the new songs (LOTS of people knew the words! It was nuts!).

And now the one truly, truly bizarre moment of the show, for me and my dad personally....

I had told my dad, who is a HUGE arlo guthrie fan, that in Detroit, during his solo, Bucket had played a bit of "Alices Restaurant", so I was kind of hoping hed do it again here. Usually he seems to do Pirates of the Carribean or When you wish upon a star though....

Anyways, its a running joke in my family about my dad and the song "Its a small world". He hates it, with a passion, it drove him nuts as a kid or something. It's one of the families biggest inside jokes, people will often give him music boxes and such that play the tune just as's one of the most well known things about my dad that that song is just this inside joke amongst the family and that it drives him nuts, it just seems to show up everywhere for him....

So theres bucket doing his solo, and my dad's hoping to hear a little of one of his favorite songs...."Alices Restaurant", bucket reaches the end of the solo.....and launches into "It's a Small World". My dad and I were both almost crying with laughter. We COULD NOT believe it, I swore to my dad I had NEVER heard Buckethead play that during one his solos, it wasnt a regular thing. It was just a very very strange moment and a very cool moment for me and my dad. We were laughing in disbelief about it on the whole way home. "Even at a GNR concert I cant get away from that song!"

But that was the night in a nutshell, Axl wore some Canada jerseys, Maple leafs, etc. I didnt take much note. Had an absolute blast though, and my dad really enjoyed it too and appreciated me taking him. So all in all, a great night. I don't have any real negative comments from this show, where Robin was a bit sloppy before, he was playing perfectly....and even Fortus was given a new lead since the last show I went to....

And Gnfnr2k.....If you have any problems with this review or any of my honest opinions this go around, you can kiss my fucking ass, in fact you can do that anyways. Please stay away from me, and I'll stay away from you.

But once again, amazing show, loudest so far, and Axl the most pumped up so far of all the 6 shows with the new band Ive been to....

Chris Kuhn's Review

Guess I'm the 1st to review the show for the list...

I'm not goin to get into the setlist...pretty similar...and I'm sure Andrew will have it for you all tomorrow exactly how it went down... Got to the show around 945 or so...figuring the house lights would be on for the long wait for GNR..but MMM was still playing...and played till well after 10 I think...Guns didn't take the stage till 11:02...latest yet I think...but the did NOT dissapoint...Axl was the best I have seen him on this tour yet...he was great with the crowd...very talkative about the weather, the band, the music... I was sitting 6th row right...I mean right beside Fincks side of the stage...right where Axl was always running during solos and stuff...we could see all the back stage stuff goin on...most amazing seats to have...venue was packed...I would say 10-12000...not sure on the exact number...Axl commented how fuckin loud the place seems to be getting closer and tighter for every show...kinda funny...a guy beside me was lookin at me during the new songs...cause we were both singing the lyrics word for word...I looked at him...he looked back...both knew them cold... They rocked...and brought the house down...played till about 1:05 AM..was late....but the crowd was into every song...I'm sure there will be more detailed mails about the setlist and stuff...but make no show I've seen (Det, & TO)