Rock City, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
January 15th 2001

Guns N' Roses Use Classics, Commentary To Impress At Rock In Rio
-- from

The amassed crowd of 200,000 at the Rock in Rio on Sunday (Jan. 14), which waited until the late hour of 2 a.m. for confirmation that reclusive Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose is indeed among the living, got more than it bargained for.

Not only did Rose appear, but throughout the two-hour and fifteen-minute, 22-song set, he quite possibly reclaimed the rock and roll crown he abandoned eight years ago as well as used the time to make several speeches. "Welcome to the Jngle" commenced the band's triumphant return to Rock in Rio, a festival they also played in 1991, sparking a crowd eruption rarely rivaled in rock and roll today. Clad in trainer pants and an open shirt, Rose didn't skip a beat from his control-freak Use Your Illusion days.

Midway through the song, Rose demanded of security, "Get that guy out of here. Are you listening to me Mr. Security guard? That guy. Out." It wasn't clear what sparked the outburst, but clearly one man's Guns N' Roses dream ended after a mere two minutes. For the rest of us, it went on until nearly sunrise. Rose's revolving-door band -- currently consisting of Buckethead, Robin Finck, Tommy Stinson, Paul Tobias, Dizzy Reed, Chris Pittman, and Brain -- was spot-on musically, proving that the band's triumphant Las Vegas show was not a fluke.

After "Mr. Brownstone," Rose enlisted the use of a translator for first of many speeches on the evening in which he addressed his former bandmates, the Internet, his new band, and his life in general for most of the '90s. "I know that many of you are disappointed that some of the people that you came to know and love could not be here with us here today," said Rose.

"Regardless of what you have heard or read," he continued, "people worked very hard -- meaning my former friends -- to do everything they could so I could not be here today. I say fuck that. I am as hurt and disappointed as you that unlike Oasis, we could not find a way to all just get along... so much for the past. This is "Live and Let Die."

Guns played five new tracks on the night, one of which was not included in their New Year's Eve warm-up show in Vegas ("Madagascar"). The first, "Oh My God," appeared five songs into the set. The live version scaled back the industrial feel of the recorded version and featured a heavy, crunching guitar line courtesy of Buckethead. After "Think About You" and "You Could Be Mine," Finck took center stage, addressing the crowd in Portuguese, and grinding through a take on Brazilian funk-soul legend Tim Maia's "Sossego." As Finck wreaked funky havoc on the guitar, his vocals on the song were overshadowed by the crowd's own singing. It was a gesture much appreciated by the band's Brazilian fans.

The highlight of the set came next, as "Sweet Child O' Mine" sounded as fantastic as it did the day it was recorded. "Madagascar" followed, the best of the new tracks. A subtle electronic backbeat and keyboard-produced horn section propelled the mid-tempo ballad, which featured Rose lamenting, "I can't find my way back anymore..." before succumbing to a flood of movie and speech samples. If the new tracks maintain this level of aptitude, he won't need to go back anywhere.

Before another new track, "Chinese Democracy," Rose explained the band's stance on the old material. "We've done one show before this and already we have been criticized for playing old songs," he said. "But I have no intention and I never did of denying you all something you enjoyed. And I thought it was only fair for you to see that this new band can play the fuck out of these songs. It's very hard to ask a musician to learn to play the part or parts played by other musicians before that. These guys here have worked very hard."

As the set winded down, "The Blues," another new track (the closest of the new efforts to the Use Your Illusion era), saw Rose hop on top of the piano where he sang the respectable rock ballad. Before "Nightrain," Rose lashed out at the Internet. "I used to go on the Internet but the Internet seems to be the big garbage can so I don't read the things that they say on the Internet anymore," he said. Rose's vocals faded in and out of the mix during the song, which ended the main set.

The band returned for "My Michelle" and another new track, "Silkworms." An unworthy electro-funk jam featuring a near-rap by Rose, the song fell flat and is probably a good example of the kind of electronic rock Rose has been working on for the past eight years. Altered from the version played in Vegas on New Year's, the song did not work in the context of an encore for a show of this magnitude.

As the band departed once more, fans were oddly treated with a Brazilian dance interlude courtesy of several traditionally dressed rump shakers. Now pushing past the 4 a.m. mark, Rose and Co. appeared for one last song, "Paradise City," which began with onstage pyrotechnic explosions and fireworks and followed suit sonically.

When it was over, Rose introduced his Brazilian assistant, who he credited with holding down the Axl Rose fort for the last seven years. In tears as his assistant translated the speech into Portuguese, the moment was a truly genuine streak of humbleness for the singer, as the weight on his shoulders throughout the '90s had surely, after his reception in Rio, been lifted.

"Peace," said Rose in closing. "I love you. I will be back here next summer with a whole bunch of new songs. Be good to each other and we'll see you later."

Extraordinary performance by Guns n' Roses until dawn
-- from

Despite being late, Axl Rose (see photo), singer and leader of Guns n' Roses, once again, led his audience to a state of total excitement. The almost 200 thousand people gathered at “City of the Rock” this Sunday watched the recreated group open their performance with three old successes from the album "Appetite for destruction", namely, "Welcome to the jungle", "It's so easy", and "Mr. Brownstone ".

The singer explained the group’s absence of almost eight years.

"Despite what you have read and heard, we are working very hard," he said with the help of a translator.

About his old friends from the group, Axl said simply that "it is over." He also made a not very pleasant comment that our readers will forgive us for not wanting to publish in “” About the quote that Liam Gallagher had made in the previous show during "Rock n' roll to star", the singer was philosophical:

"As Oasis said, we couldn’t all be happy." The show continued with "Live and let die" and other hits such as "You could be mine," "Sweet child o’ mine," and "Knocking on heaven's door."

Between the last two songs, a version of "Sossego” (Calmness), a song by Tim Maia, a Brazilian composer, by the guitarist Robin Finck, former member of Nine Inch Nails. The group is also introducing its new repertoire, with emphasis on "Madagascar," also sung in Portuguese.

At that point, the show had become complete. At 3 a.m., the guitarist Paul Tobias, known internationally as Buckethead (see picture to understand why), gave the public a little taste of his talents as “ninja”. At the background, projections and special smoke effects. It was like an apotheosis. And another batch of hits from the past featuring "November Rain" with Axl at the piano, and "Rocket Queen," among others.

"It is very difficult for a musician to learn how to play like another one," said Axl. "These guys worked very hard."

But it was worthwhile. An unforgettable dawn.

Guns N' Roses Kick Out The Jams At Rock In Rio
-- from

By Kurt Loder

The capstone of the third night of the big Rock in Rio festival – which is being held in a huge lot in the sun-baked suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, filled with state-of-the-art stages, grandstands, and all the usual festival midway attractions – was the world debut of the newly resuscitated Guns N’ Roses. The already legendary L.A. band had been mysteriously missing-in-action since the release of its last album, an inconsequential compilation of punk-metal covers called The Spaghetti Incident?, way back in 1993, following which the group had noisily fallen apart amid a welter of interpersonal recriminations and endless lawsuits. Mercurial frontman Axl Rose had emerged from these wranglings with legal rights to all further use of the GN’R name, and for years he’d been rumored to be working on a new album, with new musicians, in a Los Angeles studio that was said to have been booked around the clock for his personal use. No album ever appeared, however, and as the sediment of wasted years settled around him, Rose became a figure of rock & roll myth. It was asserted as fact within the industry that he’d become a complete recluse, keeping vampire hours in the studio to monitor the daytime labors of his newly hired players, but otherwise remaining hidden in his mansion, where he hosted endless dinner parties, grew fat, and started losing his hair.

But now Guns N’ Roses were back – or at least Rose and the previously under-heralded keyboard/conga player Dizzy Reed were – and had even played a well-received warm-up gig at the House of Blues in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve. The new group was scheduled to take the Rock in Rio stage in the early hours of Monday morning – 1:40 a.m., to be precise – but by 1:35, there was still no sight of them backstage (punctuality was never a GN’R hallmark), and out front, a sprawling crowd of 190,000 people, earlier primed by two powerful sets by Papa Roach and Oasis, but weary after an hour-long wait in darkness and silence, was beginning to grow restive. Then, in the backstage area – essentially a jerry-built clapboard dressing-room complex fronting a gravel parking lot still lightly puddled by an afternoon rain shower – a tribe of burly security guards began sweeping away un-credentialed idlers with a snarling insistence rarely seen since the heyday of such pre-show prima donnas as Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.

Down at the end of a long road leading from a nearby helicopter landing pad, a constellation of headlights suddenly blossomed in the tropical night. Three dark vans, attended by a swarm of motorcycle-mounted Brazilian cops, pulled into the parking lot, disgorging the unmistakable, lanky figure of Axl Rose (not fat, not bald), who marched straight up some steps and into a dressing room. He was followed by a very strange figure in a white, Jason-style hockey mask, wearing an inverted cardboard fried-chicken bucket on his head, and by an equally surreal Goth-type character who looked somewhat the way Marilyn Manson might, if Manson’s lifeless corpse had been left overnight in a roomful of famished rats. The four other members of the band followed them into the dressing room and closed the door.

At 1:55, the dimmed lights on the airplane-hangar-size Rock in Rio stage died down completely, and a giant video screen on the back wall flickered to life, bearing the words "W. Axl Rose in ‘A Sorta Kinda Wonderful Life.’" There followed an extremely weird animated film depicting a cartoon Axl – his toe- and fingernails grown to eccentric length, apparently on the model of the late, whacked-out billionaire Howard Hughes. He appeared to be confined to a sanitarium of some sort, and was seen to be peeing into a plastic urine-sample cup, calling for a bedpan, and then wiping his nether parts with a page ripped from a copy of "Rolling Drone" magazine. A cartoon night nurse appeared, straight out of an ancient porn scenario, complete with big breasts and black fishnet stockings, bearing a syringe the size of a bazooka, at which point the cartoon Axl (or "Uncle Axl," as he called himself, in a voice that could only have been Rose’s own) advised the no-doubt-puzzled Brazilian crowd that "Things go better with Diet Coke."

The bizarre minifilm ended, and all across the stage, howling pyro fireballs suddenly erupted into the pitch-black night, accompanied by a soaring, air-raid-siren guitar note. The stage lights slammed on, and there they all were – the new Guns N’ Roses – ripping into "Welcome to the Jungle" as if they’d just written it a little earlier in the day.

About 10 minutes into their set, it became clear that the new GN’R is a rock & roll event of the sort that a lot of people (well, me, anyway) have been waiting for for a long, long time. Where the reigning rap-metal acts of the moment – Korn and Limp Bizkit and their ilk – get over quite successfully on murk and muscle and pure sonic wallop, the new GN’R – with only one-month’s worth of rehearsal (this was their second gig) – already played with a passion and precision that’s unlikely to be matched in any other quarter anytime soon. The band’s three lead guitarists were individually exhilarating, and perfectly balanced in their divergent styles. The underground avant-fusion virtuoso Buckethead (the guy in the disturbing Jason mask and the KFC container – he claims to have been raised by chickens), churned out everything from screaming blues leads to orchestrally echoplexed art-rock excursions to Chet Atkins-style chicken-picking forays (while film footage of doomed chickens flashed across the video screen behind him). Across the stage, Robin Finck (the Manson-gnawed-by-rats figure, late of Nine Inch Nails and – a subject that remains to be explored – Cirque du Soleil) more than held his own in the noise-and-curious-charisma department. Between the two of them, normal-guy Paul Tobias – a childhood friend of Rose’s from back in Indiana – anchored the guitar onslaught with a complementary style that was generally modest and accommodating, but very much his own. Solos never slipped into hard-rock cliché, but were instead constructed and deployed with a taste and level of invention rarely heard in this sort of music anymore. Rock guitar has a long and well-mined tradition by now, of course; but this trio of players, to their considerable credit, were often able to make all the old thrills seem new again.

Most of the rampaging, 90-minute set, however, was filled with old GN’R material: "Sweet Child o’ Mine," "Mr. Brownstone," the famous Axl-at-the-piano opus "November Rain," the still-lilting Dylan cover "Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door," and the sledge-hammer set-ender, "Paradise City." This was no oldies show, though; as Rose himself proudly noted at one point: "This new band can play the f*** out of these songs." Indeed they could. Former Primus drummer Brian "Brain" Mantia and ex-Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson (adding possible teen appeal in red knee pants and suspenders) shoveled out truckloads of bottom, and two keyboardists -- Dizzy Reed and Tool associate Chris Pittman -- slathered the sound with rich layers of electronic detail.

The unmistakable center of the show, though, was Axl Rose. At 38, he remains one of the great can’t-take-your-eyes off him rock stars, twirling back and forth across the stage (and, rather uncharacteristically, racing out into the audience, too), pausing only to lean back and emit a proverbial banshee wail of the sort that probably occurs to such past masters as Robert Plant these days only in their dreams. He was also extremely talkative, taking time out to berate his long-gone former Guns N’ Roses colleagues (for trying to derail his dream or something, apparently), to gently chide local Latin American rock critics (by name!) for not knowing what the f*** they were talking about, and – totally out of the blue – to quietly urge a non-violent resolution of the soccer violence that has long plagued relations between Brazil and its equally sports-mad neighbor, Argentina. Judging by some of the images flashing across the onstage screen, he also retains a knowing eye for vintage (and fairly hard-core) bondage and S&M footage.

So it was an exciting show – not only for the unusually high level of musicianship, but for the unflagging spirit and intelligence of the music itself, and what that seems to promise for the future. There really is a new Guns N’ Roses album in the pipeline. (Really.) It’s called "Chinese Democracy," and it should be out in the spring, summer, something like that. The band played four songs from it at Rio. One of them, a gorgeous piece called "Madagascar," recalled nothing so much as the mid-period Beatles, with all their quaint little horn ornamentations. It also sampled the voice of the great, slain civil rights hero Martin Luther King. (Rose, who definitely runs this show, further illustrated the song’s intentions onstage with footage of King, and of the turbulent civil-rights protests of the 1960s.)

When the album comes out, pray for a tour. And definitely don’t miss it.

Rock in Rio Festival: For Fun and a Better World
-- from the New York Times

By Neil Strauss

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan. 16 - The third installment of Brazil's huge Rock in Rio festival began on Friday with the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira playing "Also Sprach Zarathustra" as drummers pounded out samba-style breakbeats and a D.J. scratched in rhythm. At the height of the pomp, three fighter planes, leaving a ceiling of smoke in their wake, dived over the heads of the audience of 85,000 (which grew to more than 200,000 by the end of the weekend).

Then the music abruptly stopped while the crowd (along with some Brazilian radio and television stations) fell silent for three minutes to meditate on the theme of the festival: a better world. As it did so, the throng lifted white handkerchiefs given out at the entrance gate, waving them silently from side to side above their heads. It was a beautiful moment marred only by the America Online logo emblazoned on every one of those handkerchiefs.

And so it went for the first weekend of the two-weekend festival, which ends on Sunday: the moments of beauty (and there were plenty of them) came blemished. If one were to sit down and make a list, for every item of praise for the festival, which in Week One featured a mix of American stars (R.E.M., Oasis, Sting, Guns 'n' Roses), Brazilian favorites (Gilberto Gil, Milton Nascimento, Daniela Mercury, Barão Vermelho) and international acts (from Finland's Varttina to Cameroon's Henri Dikongue), there would be a complaint. Rock in Rio III was at once impressively organized and a complete mess; a music-booking triumph and a musical insult; a social-improvement project and a giant corporate advertisement.

The contradictions of the festival were perhaps best epitomized by the many stations where representatives for America Online spritzed hair spray in the colors of the Brazilian flag on the heads of thousands of acquiescent audience members who became symbols of national patriotism and advertisements for American corporate imperialism. As Oasis overcame sound problems to blast its enjoyably derivative pop, even speaking a few words of Portuguese (an effort, for them, equivalent to that of Sting speaking almost entirely in Portuguese during his set), a different scene was unfolding nearby on a world-music stage. "Can you hear me? Can you hear the band?" the Zairian soukous innovator Ray Lema asked over and over as the British siblings, on a main stage set far too close to the festival's world-music and Brazilian-music stages, threatened to drown him out. Finally, unable to hear himself play, he groused: "In Congo, when we invite someone, we let them speak. And the big stage is crowding me."

As at most American festivals (the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival being a notable exception), audience members griped about difficult circumnavigation, expensive yet inedible food, oceans of litter and messy portable toilets. Ticket buyers who came in from all over the country also felt slighted that every night was headlined by three American or British acts while the Brazilian musicians, many of whom outsell the headliners, were stuck playing early in the day. Yet the Brazilian acts are familiar faces while many of the North American acts, including R.E.M., Beck, Oasis and even Neil Young, had never played in the country before.

The first Rock in Rio, in 1985, made waves as South America's largest rock festival, opening up pop promoters' eyes to a new continent on which to book international tours. The festival galvanized Brazil's metal scene with Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne and AC/DC, and then, in the midst of the noise, threw James Taylor into the mix with surprising success. This year was in some ways a rerun: Iron Maiden and Guns 'n' Roses (from Rock in Rio's 1991 sequel) were back, as was Mr. Taylor, who performed the song he wrote after his 1985 experience, "Only a Dream in Rio." In 2001 the best way to replicate the cultural impact of the 1985 heavy-metal show would have been to bring leading rappers like Dr. Dre and DMX into the country for the first time. Yet outside a booty mix by original-school DJ Kool Herc in the dance tent, the rap and rhythm-and- blues that is fast becoming America's most passionately embraced musical export was not represented at the festival.

Nonetheless, there was still plenty to remember from Week One. Mr. Taylor was practically weeping tears of gratitude as the crowd sang along with "You've Got a Friend." The audience members were not so friendly to the multitalented syncretist Carlinhos Brown, pelting him with garbage when he asked them to take it easy and then growing even more outraged when he added that a crowd in northeastern Brazil would not respond in this manner. Mr. Gil and Mr. Nascimento were greeted more warmly when, segueing between their sets, they shared the stage for subtle, powerful duets of their hits from their new soul-churning "Gil e Milton" album.

R.E.M., jubilantly speaking of beautiful Rio, the night sky and sugar cane-alcohol cocktails, previewed uptempo new songs from a record due this summer. Liminha, the former bassist in the seminal psychedelic band Os Mutantes, showed up in a faithful surf-rock band the Silvas, joined by the rapper Gabriel o Pensador (Gabriel the Thinker) and the rock singer Branco Mello. And Rio's breast-baring tomboy agitator Cassia Eller snarled versions of songs by everyone from the late Chico Science (whose backing band Nacão Zumbi also performed) to Nirvana, with a "Smells Like Teen Spirit" that sent the crowd into a frenzy that wasn't matched until Nirvana's former drummer, Dave Grohl, took the stage with his band the Foo Fighters later that night.

By far, the most anticipated act of last weekend was Guns 'n' Roses, which took the stage at 2 a.m. for a two-hour-plus set. With his Brazilian assistant Elizabeta Lebeis translating his speeches into Portuguese, Axl Rose tentatively and then confidently returned to controlling the beast that, outside a New Year's Eve warmup show in Las Vegas, he hasn't seen in more than seven years: an audience.

The band's recorded audio opening strayed slightly from the "better world" festival theme, praising hate and ugliness and infidelity, but the band's new guitarist, Robin Finck (formerly of Nine Inch Nails), put the message back on course by humoring the crowd with a metal version of the Brazilian soul standard "Sossego" ("Tranquillity").

Mr. Rose had few kind words for his former band mates (whom he accused of having "worked very hard to make sure that I could not be here tonight"); for the battling brothers of Oasis, which snidely dedicated its song "Rock and Roll Star" to him ("I am hurt and disappointed that unlike Oasis we could not all find a way to get along," Mr. Rose said of his former band); and for the review of his Las Vegas show in The New York Times, which he interpreted as criticizing him for playing his old songs.

The truth is that Guns 'n' Roses is now two bands in one. The first is a very effective Guns 'n' Roses cover band that happens to feature the original singer and keyboardist; the second is a very eclectic new band that if judged on its own merits would be one of rock's most interesting current acts.

Featuring the nimble, flawless leads of the science-fiction funk guitarist Buckethead, Guns 'n' Roses unveiled one of its best new songs, "Madagascar," which with strains of classical, metal and sampling sounded like a Big Audio Dynamite remix of Iron Butterfly's "Ball" album. Coming on like rock's Odysseus, Mr. Rose sang, "I can't find my way back anymore."

Flush from the success of more than 200,000 fans' enthusiastically embracing versions of classic Guns 'n' Roses material like "My Michelle" and "Sweet Child O' Mine," Mr. Rose even held court with fans and press at his hotel swimming pool after the show, where he took the opportunity to further disparage his old band mates.

-- from

Over 200,000 people swelled the crowd at ROCK IN RIO to its biggest yet yesterday (January 14) for the third day of the Brazilian extravaganza, which was headlined by GUNS N' ROSES.

Fans who had queued since Saturday (January 13) were kept waiting an extra hour because Axl Rose demanded that the VIP area, reserved backstage for performers, was emptied before his arrival. He also banned all photographers.

From the stage, Rose slammed the Internet, calling it "a load of crap". He also said that he regretted not being able to patch up differences with his former band members, "unlike Oasis", who were also performing yesterday. Rose is the only remaining member of the original Guns N' Roses line-up.

The band's set lasted over two hours and 20 minutes, and they played a Brazilian song, 'Sossego', by Tim Maia.

The festival now takes a break until Thursday (January 18), when Britney Spears, Five, *N Sync and Aaron Carter will perform. More artists are due to arrive in the city today.

Guns N'Roses/Oasis/Papa Roach: Rock In Rio
-- from

The third night of the Rock In Rio festival was one of the most anticipated by the Brazilian audience - and, not surprisingly, it was also bound to disappoint. The first international band to get onstage is Papa Roach or, as the Brazilians might put it, "Papa who?" The band is hardly known in this country and, making conclusions from the name, many thought they were some kind of reggae act. Anyway, it's not totally bad, and putting in a lot of effort Papa Roach manage to lift the audience with songs such as 'Broken Home' and 'Last Resort'. It's not enough, though.

And matters only get worse when Oasis follow with a completely workmanlike performance, showing clearly that the only bit of fun the band are going to have will be when getting the cheque from the Rock In Rio organizers. They play the usual, 'Wonderwall', 'Don't Look Back In Anger', 'Live Forever', 'Champagne Supernova' and 'Cigarettes & Alcohol' - but the Gallaghers are boringly well-behaved, and what good is there in Oasis without a bit of brotherly rivalry? 'Rock 'N' Roll Star', the last song, is dedicated to "Mr. Rose". With a note of sarcasm? Maybe, but it's definitely not enough to cheer up an audience of 200,000 people with a bit of heat exhaustion.

The main attraction, of course, is the previously mentioned Mr. Rose. It's almost 2 am, one hour later than scheduled, when the helicopter transporting Axl Rose and his band lands backstage at the City Of Rock. By then, the atmosphere of expectation is so dense you could cut it with a knife, and when Rose and his troupe finally make onstage, Rock In Rio holds its breath and comes to a standstill. Even the shops close to see the Guns' performance.

But first we have to endure an animation and then a long pause (the first of many). When finally the frontman of the Guns comes onstage, he looks like, well, Ozzy Osbourne: shades, a few more pounds, Adidas trousers and open shirt. However, in all other aspects he remains, thankfully, pretty much himself: potent voice, energy, funny dances and arrogance. He starts with 'Welcome To The Jungle', followed by 'Easy', 'Mr Brown Stone' and 'Live And Let Die'. During the set, other old-time classics such as 'Sweet Child O' Mine' and 'Paradise City' are also included.

With the help of an interpreter, the singer talks many times to the audience about former members of the band, the internet ("a load of crap"), and his love for the fans: "I know many of you are disappointed that some of the members that you learned to love could not be here tonight. Regardless of what you have heard or read, me and my friends have worked very hard to be here tonight. I am as disappointed in this as you that, unlike Oasis, we could not find a way to get along", he says.

It's the lengthiest performance of Rock In Rio so far - two hours and twenty minutes. And that's probably one of its faults. Everyone would have benefited from a shorter set, especially when local percussionist from Escola do Samba Viradouro comes onstage to pay homage, for the longest minutes of the night.

Rose works fans into thrilled frenzy at ‘Rock in Rio'
-- from Reuters

Other musical acts fail to get positive response from crowd

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Jan. 15 - More than 200,000 frenzied fans rocked into the early hours Monday as heavy metal favorite Guns N’ Roses fired up the third night of a mega-music festival gripping Rio de Janeiro. But earlier acts Oasis of Britain and Brazilian pop star Carlinhos Brown received a cooler welcome as restless onlookers launched plastic bottles and cups at bands that failed to live up to their heavy metal expectations.

A PAUNCHY Axl Rose exploded onto the stage amid fireballs and big-screen images of naked women for a mammoth show that closed a night of hard rock during this seven-day extravagaza, called “Rock in Rio for a Better World.”

Rose’s shrieking rendition of old favorites “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine” stirred the exhausted crowd to life after Oasis left some unexcited onlookers dozing to all but the most popular songs, like “Champagne Super Nova.”

Guns N’ Roses thrilled fans with a new lineup and new releases in its first big stage concert in seven years. The group played at a smaller gig in Las Vegas.

But local act Brown suffered a similar fate to Oasis as his Afro-Brazilian percussion and reggae mix failed to stir up the adolescent crowd and his calls for “Peace in the world and vibrations for a better world!” fell on deaf ears.

“This doesn’t even seem like a rock festival,” one disgruntled fan shouted. “Everybody is playing here; they’ve even got some Indian up there dancing,” he said, referring to Brown, who wore a straw headdress.

Critics had warned that the mish-mash of musical styles at the event that started Friday could spark conflicts. The concert booked 159 bands including some of the world’s top recording stars in a bid to draw 1.5 million fans from Brazil and abroad, which would make it the biggest music event ever.

Acts range from Britney Spears to Iron Maiden and old-favorite Sting. Organizers pledged, however, to organize the lineup to avoid a teen pop idol back-to-back with heavy metal.

But the intended mix at the so-called “Brazilian Woodstock” went awry on the third night. Tens of thousands of teens, many in black heavy metal T-shirts, booed and hissed as a traditional Rio samba school took the stage in the wake of Rose’s more than two-hour steamy show.

The Viradouro Samba School was forced to sidestep a shower of flying bottles.

Promoters have gone to great lengths to ensure that Rock in Rio 3 is not a repeat of Woodstock III, the 30th anniversary show in 1999 that ended in riots and looting. Despite fans’ impatience, the event has gone relatively smoothly. Thus far transport chaos and sunstroke have been the major complaints.

But after a three-day respite, promoters could face their biggest challenge yet when the festival resumes on Thursday with teen sensations Britney Spears and ’N Sync - the most popular night of the event.

There are also two more nights of heavy rock headlined by Iron Maiden and Red Hot Chili Peppers.