- Chuck Klosterman, Spin Magazine
There was a sense that the entire existence of Guns N' Roses - a tenuous entity if ever there was one- hung in the balance on December 5, 2002 . It was the day of New York City's first major snowstorm of the season, and the evening of GN'R's sold-out performance at Madison Square Garden. And 10 p.m was make-or-break time for the winter of Axl Rose's discontent.
For most of last year, the elaborately braided Midwestern madman had an appetite for miscalculation : His MTV performance last August was suspect; the subsequent Guns tour sketchy ( there was a riot after a no-show in Vancouver, and there were half-empty arenas across the Midwest). Plus, there 's still no glimpse of Chinese Democracy, arguably the only album in rock history to be postponed for more then eight years. This was it, pretty much: If the New York show tanked, the very idea of blues based, boogie ballad, big-hair booze rock was going to be as dead as the diplodocus. And Axl seemed to realize this. And Axl seemed to understand that it was finally time to be a band for real.
And for the first time since.....well, since forever. Guns N' Roses went onstage early and played real @#%$ rock music for two @#%$ hours (19 songs, three of them new). Against seemingly unfathomable odds, the reinvented Guns N' Roses were remarkably awesome.
What's so surprising about the 2002 GN'R assault is that they're less bloated than the lineup that packed arenas on the Use You Illusion tours during the early 90's. "November Rain" still runs in the neighborhood of 12 minutes, buy it no longer seems masturbatory; "Patience" is still melodramatic, but that melodrama feels anthemic (and even a tad nostalgic). Instead of just being about attitude and reckless abandon and finding drugs, this neo-Guns is focused on the art of arena size rock. What always made Rose so interesting was that he overtly strove to be hyper-epic, and that's the one thing about him that hasn't changed: On "Madagascar" (a new song), the band flirts with Zeppelin's "Kashmir" (sonically and sort of geographically); " The Blues" is like Side One of the Houses Of The Holy performed by mid-period Stevie Wonder; the track "Chinese Democracy" is akin to quasi-political White Zombie. If this ridiculous album ever comes out, I'm going to buy it 3 times.
Certainly, there is something flummoxing about hearing old Guns music reproduced by seven random strangers who had no part in it's creation; and it's weird to hear a sober Tommy Stinson (ex replacements) sing Duff Mckagan 's harmonies on "It's so easy" and to watch Robin Finck (still in Nine Inch Nails) shred the opening chords of "Sweet Child O' Mine" on a les paul that looks exactly like the one Slash used to play on MTV. But they do replicate everything perfectly - maybe not too perfectly. The new star of the band is indisputably Buckethead, the avant-garde metallectual who wears a Kentucky Fried Chicken container on his dome and whose enigmatic guitar solo's deploy almost every genre of geek culture: "Star Wars. nunchakus(!) "robot dancing," prog rock. blue grass(!!!) and action figures (which he tossed into the crowd).
What any of this really means remains unclear, particularly since promoter Clear Channel canceled the tour after Rose failed to show up for the next stop in Philadelphia (causing yet another crowd riot). Perhaps that glam-rock diplodocus is dead, and considering Axl's inherent insanity (he delivered two ad hominem attacks against New York Times critic Jon Pareles for something written in 1991), it's hard to imagine Guns N' Roses ever becoming the relevant, important force they were back when George W. Bush's dad was dropping smart bombs on Baghdad. But GN'R at MSG did prove one thing: Axl Rose never needed a face full of Botox or Vernon Reid's hair or five years in the deserts of Sedona. He just needed to try.
No Longer the Bad-Boy Sex Symbol but Still Light on his Feet
- Jon Pareles, New York Times
Axl Rose went bounding across the stage of Madison Square Garden on Thursday night like a man trying to make up for lost time: exactly what he is.
A decade ago his band, Guns N' Roses, was the epitome of hard-rock: swaggering and alluring, reckless and skillful, playing songs about Hollywood lowlife and stormy romance with bare-knuckled ferocity. Then it fell apart. Mr. Rose got rid of the band's founding members, keeping only a keyboardist who joined in 1990, Dizzy Reed. Mr. Rose has been working for a decade on a sequel to the 1991 albums, "Use Your Illusion" I and II. The new Guns N' Roses made its debut in 2001, and it has been touring the world this year, while the long-awaited album, "Chinese Democracy" (Geffen), is due next year. Onstage Mr. Rose jokingly called the concert a reunion because, he said, "I managed to get enough of myself together to do this."
Mr. Rose sought to start where he left off. As at past shows, a video crew searched during intermission for women willing to take off their shirts; there were fewer volunteers now that early fans are 10 years older. When he appeared, he was no longer the bad-boy sex symbol he was, but a portly-looking character in long blond dreadlocks and a succession of giant sports jerseys. The set included another hoary Guns N' Roses ploy: a denunciation of the press, including a 1991 review in The New York Times. Mr. Rose's is still playing the self-righteous underdog.
Running around the stage, he worked hard to please the crowd. There were only three new songs — two ballads, "Madagascar" and "The Blues," and a rocker, "Chinese Democracy" — but the sold-out audience happily sang along with familiar ones. Mr. Rose trotted out his old stage moves, a snake-hipped swivel and a kind of skipping strut.
He's still light on his feet. But the songs weren't. The old Guns N' Roses was a nervy wrangle of guitars, with Slash's bluesy leads goading Mr. Rose's voice or curling around power chords. The new one is an unyielding wall of sound. Tommy Stinson, on bass, was in the Replacements, and Robin Finck, on guitar, was in Nine Inch Nails. Buckethead, on speed-demon lead guitar, replaces Slash in the role of wearing a funny hat: a fried-chicken bucket.
For all its precision, the new Guns N' Roses doesn't have a glimmer of the blues, which could give the music breathing spaces and ironies. It plowed through songs with little change from start to finish, leaving Mr. Rose to rattle off the sleaze chronicles of "Mr. Brownstone" or "Welcome to the Jungle" as if they were elocution exercises. Guns N' Roses was once touted as the next Rolling Stones; on Thursday it, like the Stones, was an oldies act, but without the Stones' spontaneity or huge repertory.
Although the rockers turned mechanical, the new band was just right for the bombast of power ballads like "November Rain." When Mr. Rose reached for high notes, something else had changed: the serrated rasp that used to slice the sentimentality out of his ballads had smoothed out and disappeared, making him sound almost like Geddy Lee of Rush. In "Madagascar," a song about soul-searching, a montage of civil-rights clips played during the big crescendo. Perhaps Mr. Rose, the aging bad boy, is gearing up for a second act as an inspirational balladeer.
- Jim Farber, New York Daily News
Older and wiser, Axl brings out heavy Guns
Even the biggest brats eventually grow up. Look at Axl Rose.
In the singer's first New York show in nine years, Thursday at the Garden, he repeatedly expressed gratitude to the crowd, made light jokes, put on a slick, professional set and even showed up relatively on time.
It was quite a change from the Axl of old, who liked to launch into wild-eyed rants, fight with his own fans, show up hours late and pace his performances with the discipline of a kid suffering from attention deficit disorder.
Then again, Rose has much to prove with this tour. By eluding the public's view for nearly a decade, Rose had become the Norma Desmond of rock — a recluse and a rumor-magnet of legendary proportions. After so much time away, Rose has not only dared to try to fill the nation's top arenas, he has billed the event as a Guns N' Roses tour, even though his seven-member band features not a single other member of the original group.
Curiosity alone probably could have filled the Garden (it was sold out). But the band's first tiptoe back into the pop pool — an appearance at August's MTV Awards — sounded unfocused and desperate. It was "Welcome to the Bungle" time.
Here, Rose was in far better yowl, and his group seemed much more rehearsed. Rose did, however, cut an odd physical figure. At 40, the once-svelte star appears to have taken one too many trips to the dessert table. To cover for it, he sported an array of muumuu-size sports jerseys, matched with pants large enough to hide Fat Joe. His cornrowed hair looked like something ripped off Bo Derek and ghoulishly sewn into his head.
Yet, in his classic role as caterwauler, Rose was king. He hit all the right screeches in such songs as "Rocket Queen," "Nightrain" and "My Michelle."
The band, featuring veterans of acts from Primus to Nine Inch Nails, played forcefully. Lead guitarist Buckethead (who sports a KFC container on his noggin) showed particular skill — far more, in fact, than original GN'R axman Slash. As musicians, the old band were hardly missed. But there was no rapport between the new guys and Rose. Essentially, these players operated as a top-shelf tribute band.
Naturally, this gave the show a deeply nostalgic feel. It featured just two new songs from GN'R's upcoming album, "Chinese Democracy," neither of which made an impression.
Not that it mattered. The two-hour performance stressed songs from 1987's "Appetite for Destruction," which represents the band's sole great achievement. Ultimately, the evening worked as a tame and misty look-back for late twentysomethings, featuring the unlikely transformation of Axl the loon into Axl the warm and fuzzy.
AXL COMES UP ROSES AT GARDEN SHOW
- Dan Aquilante, New York Post
December 7, 2002 -- WITH Axl Rose as the only original member of Guns N' Roses onstage at Madison Square Garden last night, naysayers might call them Guns N' Posers - but, defying all the negative word of mouth about this tour, the band pulled off an excellent concert that lived up to it's name.
It has been almost a decade since Rose last sold out MSG, so it was no wonder he actually was ready 'n' raring to play, getting onstage in a timely manner, something he had yet to do on this tour.
This one-night sellout was the turning point for the refitted Guns N' Roses. Axl was greased and the band was terrific. It was an amazing transformation from the group that stunk up the MTV Awards earlier this year. GN'R played a crisp concert worthy of a punk-metal band that had as big an appetite for destruction as it had 15 years ago.
Opening with the apropos "Welcome to the Jungle," Rose was uncharacteristically subdued and the band's sonics didn't boom; instead, they were stuck in the mud. Maybe that initial misstep was a case of NYC jitters, because on subse´quent numbers, the man and band fared much better.
That doesn't mean this was a perfect show, but it was exciting to hear Rose's sonorous primal scream again, even if his pipes were just a little rusty when he was in his upper register. While he didn't hit all the highs as he did when he was in his glory daze of the late '80s, this poster boy for bad living still thrilled.
Rose was best on a pair of cover songs - Paul McCartney's "Live And Let Die" and Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door." The staging for "Live and Let Die" was especially good, with its combination of seizure-inducing lighting and flash-pot pyrotechnics.
Rose showed a soft-belly bottom when he dusted off the power ballad "November Rain." He worked the tune soulfully as he accompanied himself on piano. Although it was just this side of sappy, it ignited Bics and had the house on its feet in a synchronized sway. Some might complain that this tune pulled the plug on any momentum that the performance had built to that point, but there's no arguing with the solid roar of cheers it elicited.
This edition of GN'R placed giant emphasis on guitar crunch. To that end, the band now features three guitarists, but in the end, you only remember one - Buckethead.
Buckethead is a very talented metal jammer, who currently has a striking solo record in the racks, "Bermuda Triangle." Yet, those who have never heard or seen him before this concert probably found his strange sartorial style his most memorable quality.
The guy wears a KFC bucket as a hat, and covers his kisser with a white hockey mask. Eggheads will tell you it's a protest of the faceless commercialism in music today, but it comes off as a silly affectation that undermines his talent.
While there were a handful of new tunes offered, the best turns of the evening came when the band worked it oldies from "Appetite for Destruction."
It would be easy to dismiss Rose and his new gunners as irrelevant in today's music world, but this performance found Rose in bloom.
Guns N' Roses Rocks N.Y.C.'s Madison Square Garden
- Darren Davis, Launch.com
(12/06/02, 6 p.m. ET) - Guns N' Roses' show at New York City Madison Square Garden Thursday (December 5) was the first sold-out show on the reformed band's tour. The band, comprising all new members with the exception of singer W. Axl Rose, impressed the audience with spectacle and musicianship, but mystified some long-term die-hard fans with its new image and musical approach.
Rose was focused for the entire show, and hit every screeching high note through a set of favorites from the band's 1980s Appetite For Destruction era, including "Welcome To The Jungle," "My Michelle," "It's So Easy," and "Out Ta Get Me," among others. New songs from the forthcoming album Chinese Democracy also went over well, considering the tough reputation of New York concert goers and the fact that nobody had heard the songs before.
The new band members provided distinct and unusual stage personalities. Drummer Brain looked like he was right out of P.O.D., keyboardist Dizzy Reed wore typical rocker clothing, and a youthful-looking Tommy Stinson (formerly of the Replacements) looked like he could have been part of Linkin Park. Guitarist Robin Finck sported a partly-shaved head, a white suit and a black hat, looking like something out of A Clockwork Orange. Guitarist Richard Fortus looked right out of Nine Inch Nails.
Lead guitarist Buckethead was the most unusual, however. The quirky guitarist wore a KFC bucket on his head, which at one point in the show was adorned with Christmas lights, as well as a mask. His solos included playing all the Star Wars themes, among other songs, and a showcase of his martial arts skills with nunchaku clubs combined with robotic movements. After that solo, to an eerie musical backdrop he bizarrely pulled little toys out of a bag, and threw them at the audience.
Regardless of the crowd's reactions to the new band, the energetic Rose seemed happy to be playing in front of a sell-out crowd, and sincerely thanked the audience, saying the band "needed this."
The complete Guns N' Roses setlist for the evening: "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," "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Out Ta Get Me," "November Rain," "Chinese Democracy," "Madagascar," "Rocket Queen," "The Blues," "My Michelle," "Patience," and "Nightrain," with "Paradise City" as an encore.
Brian Bank's Review
Just got home from MSG! Here is my review:
The night starts by meeting four friends for some grub. Then we walk down 8th Avenue toward MSG and see the big lighted sign: "Tonight/Guns N' Roses/Sold Out"
CKY: As far as I'm concerned, they should add an "SU" to the beginning of their name.
Mix Master Mike: He was really cool. He spun a lot of rock songs (Zep's Immigrant Song, Metallica's Seek And Destroy, a few RATM songs, etc.). Overall, a great choice for opening acts.
Guns N' Roses: They hit the stage around 9:50 or so (not exactly sure). The introduction was some slow keyboard music.
The crowd went nuts with the opening notes to WTTJ. The opening pyrotechnics set the mood for the song.the band smoked through it. Axl clearly demonstrated to NY that the VMA performance was a fluke. Then ISE, which rocked. I was surprised to see Buckethead running around so much.
Mr. Brownstone came next, then Live And Let Die. Once again, the crowd went nuts for the pyrotechnics. KOHD was next, the lighters immediately lighting up, although the applause didn't come in until the first line. I don't think most people realized what song it was until then! Think About You next, which got a tremendous reaction.
YCBM was a true shock.the band played it right on. Better than any bootleg I've heard to date. Then Finck's solo came and was surprisingly good. I've heard complaints about him.I'd have to say that next to Axl, tonight was Robin's night. Obviously the place went ballistic for SCOM, which featured an unbelievable RF solo.
OTGM was next, followed by the night's first true rant. (Quotes are from memory.) "Is Conan here? Is Mr. Conan O'Brien here? I hear he's on a diet. Well, everybody has to take a break from a diet every now and then." He slowly walks to center stage with a box of Krispy Kreme donuts. "So I got him a box of donuts, Krispy Kreme donuts. Axl's white trash gourmet." He proceeded to throw a few donuts into the crowd. Then he handed the box into the crowd and told some guy to pass them out. (When I left, some chick went running to some guy with a corner of the box."Look what I got, look what I got!") I guess a retaliation for Conan's VMA comments.
Then they brought the piano out. Axl started the solo with the asshole song (You are an asshole, blah blah blah.woops. Wrong song." Then the back and forth comedy routine. Then the deep and soulful solo. Then November Rain. Fortus did a killer job on the first solo. Finck did an okay job on the second. Buckethead stole the song with his outro solo.
Next, Axl gave a short speech and the band played Chinese Democracy, which got a decent response. Next Madagascar, which got a better response. Then he introduced the band and Buckethead did his thing, starting with the nun chucks and robot dance to pre-recorded music with Brain on drums. When he got his guitar, he played some theme (not sure what song), followed by a guitar solo, Big Sur Moon, Star Wars, another solo (thumb slapping), Hog Bitch Stomp, Pirate's Life For Me, Wonka In Slaughter Zone. To clear this up, he played Wonka once through, using his foot pedal to loop it. As the loop played, he handed out gifts. (This was not pre-recorded as some reports claim; it was a loop of his playing from seconds before.)
Rocket Queen next, then The Blues (best response of all the new songs). The solos in The Blues were amazing. Axl sang the end from atop the piano. Next, Axl gave his "the news say we sound dated" speech and ripped into My Michelle, which got an amazing reaction from the crowd.
Next a speech about "my old friends, my former friends, my probably never really friends friends," or something like that. Patience. Then Nightrain. Holy shit Buckethead shreds on that song. The crowd was nuts. I looked around toward the end of the song.every seat as filled. I was in the 300s and was still standing from the opening notes to WTTJ. People in the 400s were standing. The crowd was sold.GN'R is back in NYC!
After a few minutes, Finck came out and did another solo, which was great. Then Paradise City. With the pyrotechnics, the confetti and the three guitarists all soloing, the crowd went fucking nuts. And the best part of the whole fucking night.Axl's closing line: "SEE YOU NEXT SUMMER!"
Axl's jersey selection: Rangers home, Rangers away, Yankees home, unknown (black), Knicks home, Giants away (some of this may be incorrect).
Welcome To The Jungle
It's So Easy
Live And Let Die
Knockin' On Heaven's Door
Think About Your
You Could Be Mine
Finck Guitar Solo
Sweet Child O' Mine
Out Ta Get Me
Piano Solo (You Are An Asshole/Back And Forth Comedy/Deep Moving Soulful)
Buckethead Solo (Bucket Chunks with Nun Chucks, Robot Dance - Unknown Theme - Guitar Solo - Big Sur Moon - Star Wars - Guitar Solo - Hog Bitch Stomp - Pirate's Life For Me - Wonka In Slaughter Zone)
Finck Guitar Solo
Matt G.'s Review
Wow! And here I thought I'd get the first review up...
Just wanted to add a few quick things:
Screw ticketmaster. We showed up a few hours before the show and got seats, we were told, in the third, fifth, and sixth row from the box office. We were thrilled. Then we got inside and saw the first two rows had been partially removed: so, really, we were in the first (Izabel), third (me and a friend), and fourth (John and Jan) rows. So, as I said, screw ticketmaster.
Axl was in really, really, REALLY high spirits. Whatever kind of good mood you've seen him in recently, multiply that by ten. He was cracking up the whole show. At one point he was jumping around with Tommy (almost like he was imitating Tommy) and they were both laughing their asses off.
If the rest of the world has the reaction to Buckethead I keep seeing at these shows, then the guy is gonna be a huge, huge star. Slash style. Period. A friend of mine had shit seats (section 400, all the way in the back), and started the evening as a BH naysayer. When I spoke to him half an hour ago, he said "Buckethead's got skills." So that's that.
Axl slammed the NY Times writer who wrote the shitty Vegas review two years back. So expect a negative review from the NY Times.
Axl's best line of the night, by far, while the band was playing the intro to "My Michelle": "This is a reuion tour, of sorts. I got enough of myself together to be here." Or something like that.
And Axl did end the night by screaming out "See you next summer!" and something else, which I couldn't hear. So, hopefully, this won't be a RIR 3 kinda "next summer."
Security was LAX. I could have snuck a bazooka in if I had felt so inclined. And they took it even easier on the girls then on the guys.
Okay. Bedtime now.
Holy Sh*t what an amazing show!
The new material was great to hear live. The band attacked and delivered on all the classic stuff. Each guitar played is a talent in his own right and all three of them together was awesome.
I got a kick out of Buckethead's solo, Finck I've always loved to begin with, Tommy had a great presence on stage, and I laughed my ass off over Axl with the box of Donuts he was tossing to the crowd.
This is just my opinion but this band...this band IS guns n roses. They've proven they can carry the weigh of that name and then some.
PS>> My favorite moment was actually after the concert. I was using the bathroom in the Garden when some guy at another urinal starts to moan. He says..."Oh man I've been holding that in since Welcome to the Jungle." Me and every guy in the mens room laughed our asses off...Thought I'd share ;)
George Y.'s Review
All the reviews you've heard are all great, i honestly don't think i remembered everything, i was too in shock. it was without a doubt the best live show i've ever seen. ive seen some phenomenal shows, but GnR was without a doubt the best. ive never been happier. all my fears of this band being mediocre or axl's voice not being that good are laid to rest. Axl's voice was unbelievable, better than it was 10 years ago. Another thing i was very surprised about was robin finck. i had heard that his solos werent that good and he didnt seem into it. well, he was PLENTY into it. he was not only an awesome guitarist, but he danced pretty cool too. he had that white silk looking suit with the high water pants with black and white striped socks, i thought he had pointy boots on, someone else said it was sneakers, so im not sure. but he blew me away. so did richard fortus, and EVERYONE was saying "is that izzy? dude, that looks like izzy...i think its izzy." and honestly, it almost could have been. bucket impressed me just as much as usual. tommy was great again, my friend mike is a bassist who loves duff and was jokin on the way there about how tommy thinks hes duff and that the guy played a pink bass once and therefore isnt as cool as duff, but while we were leaving the show he kept talking about how awesome he was. i thik the band really impressed everyone. dizzy was..dizzy. chris pitman just sort of danced around with his keyboards on that slinky-looking stand. brain was awesome, i honestly didnt hear any mistakes.
two cool things: chris rock was there, he was really into jungle, scom, and paradice city. other than that he was sitting down and looking at his watch. seriously.
yesterday was my sisters birthday, so she brought a sign that said "my name is chelsea, today is my 14th birthday, i love you axl!" luckily she was in row b, section 4, so she was 2 rows away from the stage. after the blues, axl walked over in front of where she was and asked for more light. said "can we get more light over here? yea on the young lady." he looked down at her sign and said "well, happy birthday!" definitely the coolest birthday present she could have asked for.
oh, and another thing, its not that weird when you sing every word to every old song, but when you sing every word to the new songs, everyone gives you weird looks. EVERYONE. including axl. me and three other people were sitting in section 1 row j. so we were probably about 20 feet from that raised platform on the right side of the stage. during chinese democracy, axl ran over onto the platform and saw me screaming out the lyrics to chinese democracy, and he gave a smile.
ok thats enough, thanks for listening, im just still sort of in shock.
I know I'm not a frequent contributor, but I have been waiting a long time to post my reaction to a Guns N' Roses concert on this list...
First off, it was the first time I was seeing the band play (I started to get into them just after the UYI tour was cooling down)... and last night, they rocked the world.
Before GNR went on, they had this big screen to project video footage, and these cameras just got live shots of "hot" girls walking around the venue. Every time they put a girl on the screen, there were big whooping (male) cheers from the audience. Inevitably, these two girls flashed their boobs to wild response from the crowd. Suffice it to say, my girlfriend was not too pleased with this portion of the program...
Then the show began. Here's where I must point out, I got totally f*cked with seats!! Of the countless concerts I've been to, these were by far the worst seats I have ever had. They were slightly *behind* the stage! (And, as many of you know, they've got this big backdrop for this tour which includes chinese characters and video screens.) TEN YEARS OF WAITING and I'm BEHIND THE FRICKIN' STAGE?!
They had a big screen so you could sort of see the action and a side-view of the stage, but I was watching like half the show and the crowd was totally into it -- but I could barely hear Axl's voice. It sounded all muddy and dull, and the voices of the audience singing along practically drowned him out...
Then, during November Rain, I decided to walk around to the other side of the stage... and I discovered that the reason it sounded like shite is because THE SPEAKERS WERE ALL FACING FORWARD and they hadn't placed speakers to accomodate the people on the sides! It was like a whole different concert! It sounded brilliant, Axl's voice was clear as a bell, the band was tight...
I fetched my friends and we all got out of our seats and walked around to the other side of the stage and just stood by the railing along with all these other people who knew better. Some security guards cleared us away a few times, telling us we had to go back to our seats, but people just kept moving and after a while the guards didn't bother.
It was sublime. It sounded incredible. The band was brilliant -- they had the presence that so many new bands these days DON'T have. (And I like that they don't all just come out in t-shirts and jeans -- rock stars should be larger than life...)
I was also taken by the makeup of the crowd. Well, okay, I was one of the few minorities there -- I'm accustomed to that by now. But what impressed me was that it was a mix of older people and *younger* people. A *lot* of younger people.
Now, I don't want to go on a rant here -- but Guns N' Roses was the first band that I ever really got into seriously. Before i got into them, frankly I thought they were just a big, overrated, jock/cock-rock joke. Their videos cast them as big rock stars with supermodel girlfriends, singing about pain and suffering -- it had no resonance to me. (Sort of like the trend in hip-hop, where people brag and bemoan the problems and luxuries of loads of money and girls and fame... how does a regular person on the street relate to that?) But then, I started to listen to the music and I saw the deeper values. The poetry. The sound. The passion. The fury. On the albums and in the performances I saw on tape. They were like the epitome of what a rock band could be. And I think the public moved on because the public is fickle. (And GnR disappeared for a good long while.) I just hope that another generation will ! find them and appreciate them sufficiently.
Bonnie Marko's Review
Following the MSG show I went home to nj instead of back to Boston so I didn't get to write a review, but now that I'm back at my computer I figured I'd add some more observations:
Del was there, I shook his hand.
Axl's Yankee jersey was a big improvement over that ugly Red Sox jersey he was wearing in Boston ;-)
Axl thanked the crowd for selling out MSG, saying it was especially great or important that they did that. I forgot his actual words, but the way he said it reminded me of how Jeff always tells us that GN'R is a business. That's also why I figured they went on so early (I was just hoping people didn't intentionally plan on arriving to the venue at 10:30) - the had to be on their best behavior tonight.
Does Buckethead play the same solo every night? Either way, really liking the guy. Still confused about Chris though. And does he really need a keyboard stand that bends?!?
It was awesome looking around a sold-out MSG and seeing everyone standing up & singing along and cheering to the old songs.
I heard Eva got on the big screen, but I coulda sworn I saw Izabel up there during SCOM.
Ok, off to watch Conan to see if he says anything.
Izabel Oliviera's Review
Ok, so this won't be much of a review, because there has been many on the list...I'll write down my experience... I know this will be long enough, although I'm sure it'll be worth reading ;)
It all started the day of the show, when I talked to Mark. He said he'd be there for the MSG All Access tour at 3pm. Since I was by myself, I decided to go too. Got there 20 mins late, but I made it to the best part of the tour. Mark wasn't there... So, at the end of the tour I was with those kids, and after having heard it all about the best tickets being released at the last minute, we decided to check it out at the box office. Well, I ended up getting Row C, Section 3, seat 14 (aisle between sections 2 and 3). The thing is (and I didn't know that when I bought the ticket) rows A and B were only on the sides, so the fact was that I was FRONT ROW right in the middle of the stage!!! I couldn't believe how lucky I got! I hardly knew it was just starting :)
So, then I finally met the guys, and we hung out for a while. It was really cool to meet some of the hardcore GN'R fans :) We went to Mustang Sally's but it was too crowded, so we ended up at Mustang Harry's (me and my soaking wet feet) ;)
When I finally got to my seat I couldn't believe it. I swear, it was *THE BEST* seat in the place. Not one to the left, not one to the right. This was the one. It was awesome!! I had taken a brazilian flag, and the other side said "I came from Brazil JUST to see GN'R"
So, when GN'R finally took the stage, I could notice that the first thing Axl took a glimpse of was my sign!! :) Although I could tell he hadn't read it, it was cool. Then, at the end of Think About You, I showed him the flag, and he looked and smiled. I turned it around and then I could see he read my sign :) During the show I could see the guys checking it out, it was great.
At the end of SCOM, at the "oh no no no no no..." part (when Axl always does the same gesture), he saw me doing it at the same time he was and kinda pointed at me and smiled.
Also, I don't know if you guys noticed this for I haven't seen anyone mention it, but during Out ta Get Me, on the "I'm fuckin' innocent" part, Axl hit his chest really hard, it was moving.
After this, he came in with the box of Donuts and ranted about O'Brien and stuff (I love those rants!). Then he walks to the middle of the stage, opens the box, gets the first donut, throws it DIRECTLY into my hands and said "Here, have a donut". :))
Then, during Chinese Democracy, Tommy saw me singing the lyrics and lifted his eyebrows and smiled. When he saw me singing again during Madagascar and said "Wow".
Then Bucket did his thing and I thought it was really cool. And it got even better when I got TWO of the toys he gave the crowd. :)) One was a Bendable Gumby and the other one a Terminator 2 that I ended up giving to John M.
So, after Paradise City, still BLOWN AWAY by the show, I saw John M had found an After Show pass!! Talk about luck!! Jan and I tried to sneak in too, but we couldn't. So, after a while, John comes out and he has decided to leave. I asked him if I could have the pass, promising to give it back to him the next day. He agreed :) So, I went it.
Apparently it was just an open bar party. I could see why John left, everyone knew each other and I was totally out of place. But I saw Earl there, so I got some drink and decided to stay for a while.
Then, Robin showed up. Then Tommy. I just said hi to both of them... they were really excited talking to some people... family and friends I guess. Then, when Dizzy came, he looked at me and said an exciting hi. I somehow thought he remembered me from Rio and asked. He said he resembled me. I told him the concert had been great and all and he said he had loved it too. Pretty cool. By the way, he looks great.
Richard was also there, and when I got a chance I came over and told him how amazing the show was. He said: "Thank you. You're brazilian, right?" :) PS: I just have to say it (once more) how much this guy looks like Izzy!! It's amazing.
So, I sat down and then this guy Jason came up to me and we started talking. He was friends with Michael Barbiero, that worked in Appetite. He introduced me to Michael and then we talked until like 1:30. Then he said he was leaving, but I decided to stay when I saw Del James. I went over to say hi and, sweet as usual, he remembered me and gave me a big smile and a hug. He also gave me a shirt. It wasn't one of the ones for sale, so it was pretty cool. It has the logo on the front and under GN'R it has the skyline of NYC. In the back it has a big clock and it says "Madison Square Garden SOLD OUT 15 MINUTES Motha Fuckaz" :)
Anyway... I was going to leave but as I was asking the security guard at the door where I could find a pay phone, I saw Axl coming. Needless to say I turned around and stayed :) I was a little high (the only thing I had eaten the whole day was the donut ;)) and didn't even get nervous. As soon as he came in, people started to approach. I told him I had come from Brazil to see them and he said "Yeah, that was a great sign" :) He also said he'd be in Brazil next Spring and gave me a handshake. :)
After that he kind of (tried to) walk around the place. He moved really slowly though, for people were always around him. I wanted to hear what he was talking about, but I couldn't hear much.
About 30 minutes later, he sat on a chair. And many people had left already, so there were like 8 people around his table talking to him. At first I was only listening, but he stayed there for so long it gave me time to sober up completely :) So, here are some cool things:
He was smoking some cuban cigar. He said he doesn't smoke cigarretes anymore, but those cigars (he said the name, but I forgot) make him relax. He was wearing a white long sleeve shirt, khaki pants and brown shoes. And I could see his braids really close, they're a mix of blond, white and red. By the way, he does look great.
Anyway, someone asked him if he was going to keep on wearing the jerseys and he said yes, because those are pretty cool (I forgot to mention that Mike Piasa (sp?) was there too) and he likes the way people have been responding to it.
He talked a bit about Izzy. He said that him composing with the old members is just a way of making some extra bucks, because he isn't touring with them. He talked about the Chicago review and that he just HAD to say something about it, because he knows they SMOKED. He said that Robin was pretty pissed at the review.
Again he mentioned how happy he is with the new band and that it's cool to see how these guys really take pleasure in playing with GN'R. He said that back when Appetite was recorded he had this vibe with the old band, but that the Illusions were pretty tough to put together and that he had to work really hard to make it. He said the old guys never wanted to be that big. At this point he said "if yoy're happy playing with AC/Dc or Michael Jackson good for you, but that's not what I wanted to do".
Of course he talked about Slash. He said Slash is really good at what he does but he wouldn't bring in any good material. Axl said he'd be more than happy to record something from Slash if he thought that was good, but that he just "couldn't see the GN'R name in something like Be The Ball". Can't blame him....
I asked him if it didn't bother him to see all those bad thing being said about him, and why he doesn't speak out, and say the truth. He said he's been speaking out a little more and that we'll know it all when it's time. But he says he won't be giving out interviews about what happened because that would be promoting the old members and he doesn't want to do that. He's kinda tired of the press... I mentioned the radio interviews and he talked about that Rolling Stone piece and how RS has a competent staff... and if you won't cooperate they'll do a piece on you like that. He also talked about some crap that people said about his interview on gnronline.com (maybe that's why it hasn't been updated for so long...)
He also said they weren't recording a video in China, he was only writing there.. but that there will be videos coming out.
Axl also mentioned that Catcher in the Rye will be on the third record. He said that CD will be a very intense record and the second one will be more of introspective. He said they'll keep on touring and that he really enphasized they'd be back in the summer at the end of the show because this is going to happen (which makes me wonder about these cancellations...) At this point someone asked if CD was coming out in 2002, and he said no (kinda obvious, but....)
He also mentioned how happy he was to see people supporting him, and that selling out the Garden meant a lot.
Anyway... there was more, but I can't remember everything now. At around 3am he stood up and sat at another table. I took it as a hint and left. But before leaving I went up to him and told him how much I loved his rants and that he should speak out more. He smiled and said "Thanks". I told him I'd see him in Philly the next day, he nodded and I left. He did too not too long after this, for I saw he wasn't there anymore after I had called my friend.
On a side note, I couldn't really tell if Axl was sick. Of course it can happen all of a sudden, but he looked ok to me. He looked tired, but ok. I can't wait to know what happened in Philly. I had made it to 10th row in section 2! :( The people that started the riot were really into trashing the place down, it sucked. My first reaction was like "I knew it". I had had a strange feeling the whole day. Then I got pissed, and then just let down. So, after having wasted a whole day in NY because of that (it was my first time there), I came back and got drunk. lol.
Wow, that's enough. Gotta go :)