GUNS' BLAST-OFF WASN'T WORTH THE WAIT
- Steve Morse, Boston Globe, 12.6.91
WORCESTER -- Guns N' Roses have shown a snotty, kiss-off attitude that's made mincemeat of the Establishment. And last night their fans -- a sellout 14,000 of them -- got a nasty little dose of that meanness, when they were forced to wait a ridiculous 90 minutes between sets for Guns to appear.
Anticipation ran high, but it was almost an anticlimax when the band finally went on at 10:15. To kill time, the group's video crew got their jollies by projecting various female fans' cleavages onto huge overhead screens. "Hey, why don't they ever show any men?" asked a woman sitting down the row. A humble enough question.
Such is life waiting, waiting and waiting some more for one of the world's -- at least the Hollywood world's -- greatest rock 'n' roll bands.
Yes, when they finally did appear, Guns blasted off with a generally torrid shot of hyper-maniacal hard rock, though it wasn't so earth-shaking as to merit the wait.
Maybe it was because Guns were breaking in a new guitarist (Gilby Clarke, who last played with Kill for Thrills) and a new trio of horn players -- three women in skimpy halter tops, who furthered the macho mood. Or maybe it was because the band is back after a monthlong layoff (they rehearsed at the Centrum the last two nights) and didn't quite have all their ammunition in place.
Deadline restraints made it impossible to catch the whole show, but enough was heard to conclude that this particular show would not make you forget Aerosmith or AC/DC. Maybe Guns were in that league during their summer stadium tour, and maybe they'll be in it again soon enough, but last night was a definite hiatus.
Guns burst out with the appropriately nasty "Welcome to the Jungle," as singer Axl Rose, in a red tux coat, red mini-shorts and black combat boots, threw a mike stand across the stage. A Bo Diddley-beat intro to "Mr. Brownstone" (a heroin song) followed, giving way to another retro feel in a cover of Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die," as mammoth strobe lights belted the crowd and spotlights shone up through wire-chain floor ramps, giving the band a would-be "Silence of the Lambs" menace.
A decent, adrenalized cover of the Misfits' "Attitude" (sung by bassist Duff McKagan) was next. Rose, who gave mini-lectures between most songs, then launched a "Get in the Ring" diatribe against editor Bob Guccione of Spin Magazine, a longtime nemesis of the group. Rose declared that Guns plans to file a lawsuit against the magazine for its "double-talking jive."
Fortunately, lead guitarist Slash kept the show together, firing off rifle- shot leads often laced with mind-splitting feedback and occasional quotes from Jimi Hendrix and the Stones. Slash represents a state-of-the-art synthesis between classic rock and punk -- and it's no surprise he's dubbed as the heart of soul of this band.
Slash thankfully stole the song "Bad Obsession" (the infamous ditty where Axl calls his own mother a four-letter word) and nearly salvaged a fairly saddlebroke version of the Stones' "Wild Horses."
Rose, however, continued his cartoon antics. He changed outfits more often than Stevie Nicks, doffing a red "Rebel"-inscribed jacket emblazoned with a Confederate flag for "Civil War," one of the night's better efforts, at least.
Seattle's Soundgarden opened with a powerful, sludgy Zeppelinesque set that scored highly with the crowd before they were nearly put to sleep by the 90- minute wait for the headliner.