Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT
December 3rd 2002

Guns N' Roses, sort of, plays the Civic Center
- Eric R. Danton, Hartford Courant

At its height, Guns N' Roses was untouchable. The band's turbo-aggressive debut, 1987's "Appetite for Destruction," was one of the most culturally important albums of the 1980s - heck, and '90s - and single-handedly cleared away the glam-metal detritus littering the music industry.

The All Music Guide describes the band as raucous, sleazy, confrontational, rebellious and hostile. All of those are true. With the banshee voice of Axl Rose and the deafening guitar riffs of Slash, Guns N' Roses pioneered an extra-nihilistic brand of hedonism with songs about violence, sex, violence and drugs. And sex. Trouble is, the musicians lived the life they sang about, which prompted a decline nearly as spectacular as the band's ascent.

Rose is now the only remaining band member from the "Appetite" era, having fallen out with everyone else. For years he has been rumored to be nearly finished with a supposedly brilliant comeback album, "Chinese Democracy," but - much like the real thing - it never actually happens

A re-constituted Gun N' Roses performed at the MTV Video Music Awards in August and hits the Hartford Civic Center on Tuesday night. Rose has assembled a group of excellent musicians, including guitarist Buckethead (who does, in fact, wear a KFC bucket on his head) and former Primus drummer Brian "Brain" Mantia

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are $56.50 and $36.50. Information: 860-727-8010.