Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY
May 15th 2006

Matt G.'s Review

So, Hammerstein, night 3... I managed to get right up against the railing this time and stay there for the entire show...

After the band broke into ANOTHER spontaneous jam, this time with Axl humming along, he commented "We can't help it, we're starting to become a band... and it only took eight years."

But he's right. I don't have much new to report; yes, Baz showed up, yes, they made some mistakes, most noticeably during IRS, but that's rock n' roll. But the band just gels more and more each night. Bumblefoot has gotten so much better in just three performances I'm dying to see where the guy is in a few months (assuming he's still in the band, or Axl doesn't cancel the tour, or whatever other crap constantly happens in GN'R).

During November Rain, Richard watched Robin solo from the side of the stage; then he pointed and screamed out to the audience, "That's Robin!" These guys really like one another, they're really proud of one another, and if no one knew that they had been assembled by Axl, you'd think they were all old pals who just got together and decided to form a band.

3 quick things:

1) While the band's repertoire is definately limited, there is definately NO SET LIST anymore. For one thing, some songs got swapped back in and out (Madagascar and IRS are back, TWAT is still absent) and the order got all mixed up (Nightrain BEFORE Patience BEFORE CD BEFORE Paradise City, for example). But after Axl again took time to emphasize that Robin wrote the music for Better (and joke about the implications of calling it Better), he then introduced Robin for his pre-SCOM solo, which clearly caught Robin off-guard, as he was standing on stage, having a drink, with no guitar; he had to quickly run off stage and grab one.

2) The cries for "Slash!" seem to be getting fewer and fewer. There was one drunken idiot calling it repeatedly tonight (Why would you spend that much for a ticket, wait on line for so long, and then bitch and moan about Slash? Is it possible this guy really did think Slash would be present?), but it's pretty quiet. At one point about 50 people or so started chanting for the band to play THERE WAS A TIME. These are obviously die hards, but still, it's a good sign; also, most of the crowd was able to sing along with MADAGASCAR as easily as any of the old material.

3) Here's the bit of trivia we can now discuss and use in arguments for years to come: Axl said he had spoken to Izzy earlier in the day on the phone, Izzy wished him a good show, etc. Then, introducing a song, Axl said "This has always been known as the Axl paranoia song... but there's one problem." He explained that while he wrote most of the words, Izzy contributed the following key phrase: "THEY'RE OUT TA GET ME!"

I'm sad it's almost over...