Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT
December 3rd 2002

Refitted Guns N' Roses Does OK
- Eric R. Danton, Hartford Courant

"Chinese Democracy Starts Now," read the Guns N' Roses T-shirts for sale Tuesday night at the Hartford Civic Center.

"Now" was apparently a synonym for "whenever Axl Rose feels good and ready to start," which didn't happen until 10:40, after an hourlong display of what concertgoer Ryan Adams called "Hessian pageantry" - bare female skin on the video screens on either side of the stage.

When Rose and the group of musicians he insists is Guns N' Roses finally took the stage to the riotous opening chords of "Welcome to the Jungle," however, the preceding hourlong set from Mixmaster Mike and the intervening Breast Hour almost seemed worthwhile.

After all, it had been nearly a decade since the band's last North American tour, in 1993. The group pretty much imploded after that, with just about everyone but Rose calling it quits. Since then, Axl has spent years (and a lot of money) feverishly working on an album called "Chinese Democracy," an alleged masterpiece so astounding that it seemed as though mere mortal ears might not be worthy of hearing it.

But no, "Chinese Democracy" is said to be almost ready, and Rose is back on the road with Guns N' Roses. Kind of. No, he and guitarist Slash haven't settled their differences; there's no Duff McKagan on bass. Instead, Rose assembled a lineup of top-quality pros, including guitarists Buckethead, Robin Finck and Richard Fortus; bassist Tommy Stinson, of Replacements fame; keyboardists Chris Pitman and Dizzy Reed, who joined the band in 1990; and drummer Brian "Brain" Mantia, formerly of Primus.

They are outstanding musicians, capable of playing whatever they're asked to. Buckethead, Finck and Fortus did a fine job re-creating the guitar parts on "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and "November Rain," among others, but it took all three of them to equal the Slash-Izzy Stradlin combination of old. Buckethead is the least emotive guitar player ever. Wearing an expressionless Michael Myers "Halloween" mask and a KFC bucket on his head, he seemed to hardly move while playing, yet he kept popping up in different places on stage. Creepy.

Rose sounded surprisingly good - much better, in fact, than he did during the band's surprise appearance on the MTV Video Music Awards in August. His vocals are more brittle now, and he can't belt out the high notes the way he once did, but he wailed fittingly on "Sweet Child" and sounded aggressive enough on "Mr. Brownstone."

Punk-metal hybrid CKY opened the show.

- Katie Stiles, The Recorder, Central Connecticut State U.

Guns N’ Roses rocked the house when they came to the Civic Center, that is, when they finally decided to perform.

After D.J. Mix Master Mike finished his performance, the audience had to endure an hour-long break before we were treated to the new GNR.

As if the hour alone wasn’t terrible enough, what happened during the hour made things even worse, at least for me and a few other fans. Apparently the camera crew was as bored as the audience was because they decided to do candid shots of the people at the concert; most of them were women. The majority of the women took the opportunity to show everyone their “assets.” Others took it a little further, such as making out with other women or feeling themselves up.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condemning women for showing affection to other women. What got me annoyed was that I had to spend a whole hour witnessing this chaos until GNR finally took the stage. I did not spend $55.00 to see women show off some TNA; I came to see a Guns n’ Roses concert for goodness sake!

If I wanted to see women flaunt themselves I could’ve gone to a strip club for a much cheaper price, not that I would.

I know I didn’t have to look at the monitors, but what else was I going to do? Look at the floor the whole time? Besides, a couple of the women who were caught in the spotlight didn’t flaunt themselves but instead took the opportunity to express the same feelings I had, by flipping the cameraman off. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought we were at the Civic Center to see a concert and not a strip show.

I was afraid to get up and use the restroom because it seemed that every female that moved found herself on camera. Some of them gave the crowd what it wanted while others either hid or shook their heads. My boyfriend was kind enough to accompany me and stand behind me as we walked across the arena. It was probably because he’s not the type to share me with everyone, and not that could I blame him.

I was relieved when the hour-long wait was over and the crowd was treated to the beginning chords of “Welcome to the Jungle.”

Of course, if Axl and company had come on a lot earlier, a whole hour wouldn’t have been wasted and the concert wouldn’t have gotten out at 12:30am. At least Axl managed to make up for it with a rocking concert.

Guns ‘N Posers Rock Hartford
- Tommy Stiles, The Recorder, Central Connecticut State U.

Last Tuesday, Guns N’ Roses made their first performance at the Hartford Civic Center in over a decade. Before the concert started at 7:30pm, Channel 3 news did a live broadcast from outside the Civic Center, telling viewers about how riots were known to break out at Guns N’ Roses concerts. They also mentioned how there were going to be extra policemen on duty at the concert, to make sure that things didn’t get out of hand.

Finally, concert time rolled around at 7:30pm. Accompanying Guns N’ Roses on their tour were not one, but three opening acts. First to take the stage was CKY, who did a short but entertaining set. The second opening act immediately followed, and featured the talented but semi boring DJ Mix Master Mike, who is most famous for working with the Beastie Boys. His performance lasted until about 9:15, and Guns N’ Roses were supposed to take the stage right afterward at 9:30. Because of lead singer Axl Rose and his knack for showing up at concerts late if at all, this never came to pass.

Instead of watching a live Guns N’ Roses performance at 9:30, everyone in the Civic Center was treated to an hour long live episode of girls gone wild. With so many trashy women flaunting themselves, it reminded me why I often prefer to be single. The following day on WCCC, even radio personality Mike Picozzi commented on the annoyingly long intermission and said, “How much of that did we really need to see?” It definitely got old after a while.

At around 10:35, Guns N’ Roses finally took the stage and ripped open the show with “Welcome To the Jungle” while parading around the stage wearing a Hartford Wolfpack hockey jersey. During the concert, they performed nine out of twelve tracks from their debut album “Appetite for Destruction” performing obscure songs such as “It’s So Easy,” and the pretty power ballad, “Think About You.” During the concert, they also did other classics such as “November Rain,” “Knockin’ on Heavens Door,” and “You Could Be Mine.” Only three of their songs that night were from their long awaited upcoming album “Chinese Democracy,” which still has no definite release date.

The new band itself was phenomenal, but even still the concert wasn’t the same without the original band members. Axl hung up the spandex and traded them in for a Wolfpack Hockey Jersey, and a Uconn basketball jersey. Gone were the days of Matt Sorum thundering away on the drums, while Izzy Stradlin’ and Duff McKagan sung the background vocals. Perhaps the most visible presence that was missing that night was former lead guitarist Slash, and his trademark black top hat. It took three guitarists to fill his role.

In 1996, Guns N’ Roses split up for a variety of reasons, one major reason being a conflict in creativity. While Slash and the other band members wanted to stay true to their ways, Axl wanted to experiment with a sound along the line of Nine Inch Nails and Prodigy. Because an agreement couldn’t be made, Axl fired his band mates, bought rights to the band name, and hired a new lineup.

In a way the concert was a disappointment. After promising a new album for almost five years, and finally doing a concert for the first time in a decade, Axl came back with his gothic looking lineup of new band members, only to cover old songs. This was something that could have been done over six years ago. To me, the concert was a performance by a glorified Guns N’ Roses tribute band, fronted by the original GNR lead singer. It was almost contradictive of Axl to come back with a new band, only to go over old stuff.

The behavior of the crowd that night was atrocious. Females were doing anything to get noticed by the camera crew. The bathroom on the lower level was filled with cigarette and pot smoke, along with trashed people. Thanks to the useless deadbeat Hartford cops, nothing was done to keep the rowdy people at bay, even though their main purpose was to prevent a riot from erupting. Because I have no tolerance for stupid people, I pointed out to a Hartford cop that there were people getting trashed in the bathroom. Instead of doing something about it, he stood there with his arms crossed and replied, “Well, it’s a concert, you’ve got to expect people to do things like that.” Then I remembered that I was talking to a Hartford cop, and that I had to expect him not to do his job. It was nice to know that my tax dollars were being wasted that night so Hartford’s finest could watch a free Guns N’ Roses concert.

Overall though, it was still good to see Axl back in action, even though his interest in touring may be short lived. The memory of Guns N’ Roses blowing off a concert at Lake Compounce over ten years ago is still fresh in the minds of many people. Last November, they pulled a no show on their opening night in Canada, causing a riot to break out. Recently, they blew off a concert in Philadelphia.

It should be interesting to see if their new album will ever come out. At the rate that they’re going, democracy may actually exist in China before the album gets released. Either that, or Hartford will surprise everyone by finally getting real cops.

killingvector1's Review

Before i begin, here is a special fuck you to the Hartford Civic Center security staff who found it wise to confiscate my KFC bucket because it was a security risk even as i informed them that they are selling popcorn in small buckets inside. What a bunch of fucking assholes....get a career you wannabe rent a cop fuck offs.


ok, let me clear my head, and think about the good things about this great show.

Set List

WTTJ with bucket solo
It's so easy
Mr. Brownstone with Finck solo
Live and Let Die with Finck mediocre solo
Think About You with Fortus solo
You Could Be Mine with Bucket solo
Finck solo and SCOM
Out Ta Get Me with Bucket solo
Madagascar with Bucket solo
piano intro
November Rain with Fortus, Finck, and Bucket solo
Band Introductions
Buckethead Nunchaks, Dance, Solo and Gift Giving
Rocket Queen with Fortus solo
The Blues with Finck solo
Chinese Democracy with Finck and Bucket solo
Nightrain with bucket solo

Robin Finck solo
Paradise City with 3 guitar shoot

The Players

Axl Rose: no bandana, colored braided hair.

1. Opened with Hartford Wolfpack home jersey #35 (minor league hockey) with black sweat pants and white sneakers. Axl kept disappering in the tent, i think to drink or perhaps he had cramping problems (he says he has a cramp at one point in the show).

2. For SCOM, he changes into #80 NE Patriots home jersey. He says he is the ambassador of goodwill because it is so hard for him to wear it after last year's Raiders playoff game and the "tuck" rule (maybe he read my review!!!)

3. For Rocket Queen, he puts on #4 road UConn huskies basketball jersey (says Connecticut in white against blue background).

4. For encore, puts on UConn huskies home football jersey, number 21 (white with blue numbers)

Robin Finck: hair is down all night. He wears the shiny black (silk?) suit with vest, pants and cravate. Starts with black hat then goes to army helmut for LALD, then no hat for rest of show. This guy has great style and looks wonderful, classy in a Goth Anne Rice kinda way.

Buckethead: wears same outfit as boston. Dark trousers with striped shirt layered underneath a dark jacket. Cape is a short apron around his neck. Trademark Funeral sticker and KFC headgear included.

Tommy Stinson: black or black shirt with blue and red plaid pants. Looks nice tonight. Doesn't shed if im not mistaken.

Richard Fortus: lost track of him, but started with grey collared shirt and matching slacks. Went to Tee shirt later on in show. hair greasy and straight. Tee says, with circle and slash thru it, PIL.

Pittman: wore black ski cap with black tee and tan trousers

Dizzy: same as last show

Brain: fishing cap, plaid long sleeve shirt. has goatee.

1. Overall, the crowd sucked. Hanging out during CKY's set outside the arena, i notice way too many old fans. Old dudes with Illusion tee shirts and mullets. Bad sign.

Arena was 2/3 to 3/4 full, i'm counting only those seats that were available. Area behind and side of stage was taped off so no seating there. Upper balcony in the back was closed and crowd pushed to the lower balconies. HCC is a crummy venue period.

Audience responded to the favorites, peak was November Rain and SCOM, especially the cascading pyro for Bucket's solo in NR. The new stuff didn't go great i guess. Lots of people sitting in the balconies and loge in their seats and not moving. Crowd did like finck and bucket though, there were aghast at the bucket solo and dance. Laughing and cheering all the way.

I did hear some where's slash comments though.

2. Axl's Rants

He remarks how he has been thru too many cities but here iceskating has made him happy, something like that.

Axl says he is glad to be here and asked if we thought he would ever come. He then said some people tried to make this never happen.

Someone holds up what looks like Brazillian flag and axl nods and smiles to them.

During a lull after madagascar with stage dark as the piano is wheeled out, axl starts saying "Axl's White Trash Biastro" to brain and tommy's funky background music. jokes band needs lulls to catch its breath (sarcastic)

Axl quotes one critic' remarks that this is a travelling circus of freaks. This is delievered very sarcastically.

Axl talks about cramps before running into tent after the blues. says i don't care if its chinese tiawanese or szechwan.....

Axl and tommy have a wrestling match during LALD, jokingly pushing each other with their hips from side to side. Both laughing.

3. Highlights of show

Axl's big leg kicks during It's so Easy.

Axl stands in front of pluming flame at side of stage for LALD.

Axl running offstage to tent at least one time per song. Dehyrdration or cramps???

3 men are handcuffed and arrested during Think About You on the floor. I saw one guy had something in the cuff of his sleeve, don't know what. bootlegging?

Pittman and buckethead have a great chemistry. During TAY, both standing next to each other (b is next to Pittman's elastic spring stand keyboards) and they are chatting. during PC, bucket does his big giant steps past pittman who then leaves his keyboards to imitate bucket's giant steps.

Axl's Piano intro is very powerful. If its a cover, i can't place it, but its very melodic. part of new song???? I hope, because it kicks ass. No asshole song tonight and no My MIchelle.

the KFC store logo in the video played in YCBM.

Buckethead and Finck solos were well received especially bucketheads. I love the way he moves after finishing his dance. He sidles to the side of stage with arms at sides and has a guitar placed on his shoulders like a domesticated robot. cute. His solos are awesome. crowd stunned. he gives out gumby and star wars figures at end. Cute Wish Upon a Star plays in background.

Best solo of night is Buckethead's NR solo. Kicked ass. Finck and Fortus were shaky with their solos in NR, but Bucket made the song a historic performance.

AxlD's Review

Killing Vector, great review. Yep, that was me in my Joe Montana Jersey -I was second row center. The show was AMAZING but I had a very bad experience when the show was over with a member of the G N' R crew that I wont discuss publicly. All I can say is that I am very disappointed in this person - and the people they are giving backstage passes to are basically whores. So if youre a girl and youre a whore -youre in luck. You get to go backstage! What a fuckin joke. Anyway, the show rocked. EVeryone covered everything already. The crowd SUCKED. I was in the second row (I was originally in the third row but guess what? The people who had the tickets for second row in front of me decided not to show up.) So I was second row and I might as well had been in the front row cause the two assholes in front of me smoked pot the whole time and sat in their chairs with their arms folded -as well as many other people in the first five rows. Two college frat fuckheads yelled at Axl the whole night to play "Estranged." But I didn't let it ruin the show for me. Axl made eye contact with me the whole show and smiled and not to sound like im blowing smoke up my ass, but me and my sister were like the only ones front center rocking out during the ENTIRE fuckin show. I dont know about any of you people, but the next day after a G N' R show I am so sore. My whole body is beaten up -basically cause I get so passionate and rock out so hard at the show that I physically drain myself. I try to give back all the energy Axl and the band gives off -and I mean that in every true sense of the word. Anyway, like in Albany I was totally fuckin rockin out -while most of the "fans" in these great seats were just like "Oh, Axl Rose...cool." During Live and Let Die Axl even started waving to the crowd in the upper levels to show some fuckin life cause people were pretty tame. Anyway, Axl kept looking at me and my sis rockin out. Axl loved it and at the end of Madagascar I was jumping up and down as I was doing most of the show, so pumped up, and Axl looked at me and smiled and jumped up and down a bunch of times just like me and then rocked out, and then got back to his "meditation" stance and ended the song that way. It was fuckin awesome! KIlling Vector you remember seeing Axl doing that? Robin saw me a bunch of times and smiled at me cause I was giving him so much support. TOmmy did the same. Of course I was screaming Robin's name any chance I got -especially when he soloed. So the show was amazing, but the end of the show was a huge disappointment. It really really made me sad, and I wish I could share it with you all, but I'm going to take the high road and not talk about it anymore. All I'll say is that the G N' R crew really should take a look at themselves in the mirror, and they should be more rewarding to true fans instead of being the horny selfish egotistical dickheads that most of them are. By the way -that meet and greet story that so called "fan" told was right on, unfortunately. Like I said before, if youre a slut- youre going backstage! So congrats to you. I'm having second thoughs about going to the MSG show right now after what happened tonight. Yeah I want to see the show of course, but having to see some of the people who work for G N' R after the experience I had tonight, is going to be pretty uncomfortable.

Baz's Review

CKY - They hit the stage at 7:35 p.m. and played til about 8:05 p.m. The crowd seemed to really enjoy them and I thought they were pretty good myself. The guitarist got the crowd pumped up for GN'R in between songs.

Mix Master Mike - He went on between 8:30 to 8:45 p.m. and played til 9:25 p.m. The crowd didn't really like him at all, at first he was good but then he just got boring and annoying. He got a big "U Suck" after his set was over.

In between MMM and GN'R, there was the famous T.N.A show. The video crew filmed the chicks and their beautiful boobs for an hour. I was sitting next to this one chick who flashed the camera a couple times and this other chick who was sitting a couple rows away got all affended and started to bitch at the chick and they almost started to fight. So, the chick I was sitting next to once again pulled up her shirt and was jumping around for like 5 minutes with her top off. So that was pretty cool.

GN'R - They hit the stage at 10:39 p.m. and played til about 12:45 p.m.


Welcome To The Jungle
It's So Easy
Mr. Brownstone
Live And Let Die
Knockin' On Heaven's Door
Think About You
You Could Be Mine
Robin Solo
Sweet Child O' Mine
Out Ta Get Me
Axl Piano Solo
November Rain
Band Introductions
Buckethead Solo
Rocket Queen
The Blues
Chinese Democracy

Robin Solo
Paradise City


The band was great and everything about Axl was pheonominal. They sounded awsome. Axl didn't do too much talking with the crowd, he didn't really say anything until after YCBM. Near the end of 'It's So Easy', Axl and Tommy started to mosh and jump into each other. That was pretty funny. During 'Brownstone' Axl bumped into Richard and he looked back at him and smiled. These guys seemed to joke around with each other more than the old band did. During LALD, when Axl let out that scream of his, that blew me away. Before OTGM Axl talks about how it was hard for him to wear the New England Patriots jersey because of the game against the Raiders in last year's playoffs.Then he goes on to say that he's in good spirits and then he said " I'm the ambassador of good will." During the band intros he introduces Tommy as "Thomas Veenideen Stinston" and tells the story of Buckethead before his solo. Buckethead's solo was amazing, I knew he was an awesome guitarist but I didn't know he was that good. Richard was awsome the whole night, he handled the slide solo very well for 'Rocket Queen'. After 'Rocket Queen' Axl asked the crowd if they honestly thought they would show up, and he got alot of "NO'S." I loved the pyro and the fire, plus the spark shower at the end of 'November Rain', that was beautiful. All in all this is one great fuckin' band and if you haven't checked 'em out yet, you should cause you won't regret it. AXL IS THE MAN.


Axl: He started off with a white Hartford Wolpack #35 hockey jersey, black nylon pants and white shoes.Before SCOM he changed into a blue New England Patriots #80 jersey, w/ a white long sleeve shirt underneath. Before 'Rocket Queen' he changed into a blue Connetictut Huskies #4 basketball jersey w/ the white long sleeve underneath.Then for 'Paradise City', He wore a blue Wolfpack #21 football jersey. No headband the whole night.

Buckethead: Black jumpsuit w/ a cape.

Robin Finck: Black jumpsuit, hair down, and a black cowboy lookin' hat for the beginning of the show.

Richard Fortus: Black t-shrit that said "pil" on it, black pants, and a black jacket to start off the show.

Tommy Stinson: Plaid pants w/ a black t-shirt.

Brain: Plaid shirt buttoned up, dark blue hat.

Dizzy Reed: Black tank top w/ GN'R logo, black leather pants.

Chris Pittman: Black beanie, black sweat suit.