Fargodome, Fargo, ND
November 15th 2002

Waiting for the jungle
- John Lamb, The Forum

Just a little patience.

That’s what fans needed at Friday night’s Guns N’ Roses concert at the Fargodome.

After opening sets by the heavy metal band CKY and a hard rock hip-hop lesson by Mixmaster Mike, the crowd estimated at 6,000 waited more than an hour for Axl Rose and company to take the stage.

The controversial heavy metal band seems to be living by the credo: “Live fast, die young and show up late.”

The show was the third of four scheduled dates to kick off the band’s first tour in nine years. The first concert in Vancouver, B.C., was canceled when lead singer Rose failed to show up.

As of press time the band had just taken the stage. A full review of the concert will appear in Sunday’s Forum.

GN’R has energy, but not personality
- John Lamb, The Forum

When Axl Rose finally appeared on the Fargodome stage at 10:15 Friday night and asked, “Do you know where you are,” it seemed many in the crowd were ready to ask in response, “Do you know what time it is?”

The lead singer and a new version of Guns N’ Roses made the crowd of 6,575 wait nearly an hour after warm-up sets by CKY and Mix Master Mike.

Fans made good use of the wait to pack beer lines and loosen up limbs and vocal chords for the ensuing two-hour set of fist-pumping rock.

Despite being backed by all new Gunners (the sole exception being keyboardist Dizzy Reed) Axl led the group through a faithful set of GN’R classics.

The group exploded onto the stage with “Welcome to the Jungle,” then launched into “It’s so Easy” and “Mister Brownstone” from 1987’s debut, “Appetite for Destruction.”

Though packing the same firepower as the original lineup, the new gunslingers lacked the same sleazy cohesiveness.

When GN’R charged out of L.A. in ’87 they were the antithesis of pretty boy glam bands. Schooled in the blues and punk, the founding five rolled through boozy romps like a musical gutter.

The old tunes still carry the same electric charge, but the band’s personality is non-existent.

Gone is the cigarette dangling guitar tandem of Slash and Izzy Stradlin, replaced by the gothic Richard Fortus, the Klingon-like Robin Finck and Buckethead – a man who wears a KFC bucket on his head and a plain white mask.

Adding even starker contrast to the set was a checkered-suited Tommy Stinson, who looked downright over-dressed.

Buckethead was the real revelation to the crowd and delivered the most entertaining moments of the concert. He played Slash’s solos with blistering, note-for-note accuracy, then gave a nunchucks demonstration before kicking into a robot dance.

With his guitar strapped on again, he played some wickedly funky solos before blasting into a “Star Wars” medley, then threw out toys to the crowd.

A mystery man wrapped in a cape with a bucket on his head, proficient in martial arts and guitar playing, Buckethead appears to be Maxim magazine’s idea of a renaissance man.

Not to be outdone, Axl never let his faltering vocals get the best of him. He ran from one end of the stage to the other, wailing lyrics off TelePrompTers.

He only seemed to rest when he sat behind a piano for versions of “November Rain” and “Madagascar.”

The latter song, expected to be on “Chinese Democracy,” the first album from the band in a decade, played with video clips from civil rights demonstrations.

In a way it’s nice to see that Axl has matured and developed a sense of social consciousness. In his prime, the one-time bad boy of rock was notorious for spouting politically incorrect epithets in sin-soaked songs.

Now at 40, he seems to have mellowed and subsequently lost his edge. The most controversial part of the show was Axl appearing in a UND Fighting Sioux hockey jersey.

Thankfully, the classic songs haven’t changed, no matter who is playing them.

The show at the Fargodome was probably the best GN’R tribute show most people will ever see.

Holtz's Review

Ok I just got back from Fargo and can't sleep, too many Red Bulls and Mountain Dew on the ride back. A few quick notes before the review, Fargo sucks! I got lost there for over an hour trying to get out of that town. John M has a fan club, people were waiting at my seat, I scanned my ticket for John's site, they thought I did that site and they wanted to tell me thanks for doing it. Anyway they were cool and they just wanted to tell John thanks for the site. Security was a bitch, metal detectors at the door, luckily they didn't use it on me, haha, and there was a ton of security on the floor.

Heres the setlist-
10:08 PM
Its So Easy
Think About You
SCOM, Robin didn't do an intro for this, seemed to surprise the band.
Out Ta get Me
Buckethead Solo
Piano Solo
November Rain
JAM > Rocket Queen
The Blues
Chinese Democracy
My Michelle
Robin Solo
Paradise City

Good show, the crowd was kinda lame the second half of the show, Axl mentioned after The Blues how it was past some people's bedtime. Buckethead's guitar didn't work at the end of NR, so no guitar solo. Axl mentioned how YCBM was written about Izzy's girlfriend Angela, strange to hear him mention Izzy's name two nights in a row. They did a jam as an intro to RQ, Axl called it the "improv funk jam", it was very cool and hopefully they do more of it. During Patience Tommy played part of the song on his back. Overall a good show but I think the Mpls show was better.

Lee Morris' Review

Fargo Review
12:55 am right now. A friend and I met Smeagol2124 and we went to eat at McDonald's. Smeagol and I ended up sitting right next to each other.

Checked it all out before the show, here's what you can get:
Gray Star with bullet holes-$35*
Black World Tour 2002-2003 w/world logo-$35*
Gray Shirt with Red/White/Blue striped banner-$35
Black Buckethead on front, small gnr logo on back-$35
Black Dog eat world-$35*
3 Just for girl t-shirts, one white, one black, one blue-All $35
GN'R logo baseball cap-$35
GN'R logo winter hat-$30
Purple/Yellow Basketball jersey, #8, Rose on back-$60
Red/Yellow Soccer jersey, #8, Rose on back-$100
Stickers (with really cool dragon)-$10
*All stuff I got

Tight as fuck. The person I had recording this could not do it. They fucking metal detect your ass then pat you down like your fucking Britney Spears. I asked a girl checking if they check buckets, and she said they do.

*If you don't have a ticket for a certain section, you will not get there
*I found out there was no GN'R soundcheck
*Doors open a little bit after 6:00
*The first house music: Rage Against The Machine's self-titled debut

CKY: (7:35-8:07)
Played 8 songs. The fourth was from Tony Hawk Pro Skater III. They had microphone troubles here. The fifth was their first single. They talked a lot. Especially about Guns. Here are some quotes:

"This is the first fucking rock and roll show you've seen in 10 years."
"Rock and roll is a fucking religion, its all we fuckin' need."
Someone was taunting them, they said: "Fuck you Garth you cock suckin' pussy
face motherfucker. You bring your mommy? Too bad little bitch."
"What was the last album you bought? Appetite For Destruction? Use Your Illusion? 'Cause I know there hasn't been cock-sucking shit out for the past ten years."

CKY is nothing brilliant. Green Day meets Black Sabbath is the way smeagol2124 described them.

*The next house music: DMX's latest album, The Great Depression

Because It's been a long time since you've had your ass kicked properly!!!

Mix Master Mike: (8:25-9:00)
*DJ from outer-space intro to start, takes forever.
1. White Zombie's "Thunderkiss 65" 2. ? 3. Rush "Tom Sawyer" 4. Disturbed song with Rage Against The Machine's "Bulls On Parade" 5. Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker" 6. ? 7. P. Diddy feat. Busta Rhymes "Jump" 8. Jam Master Jay Tribute 9. ? 10. Jane's Addiction's "Been Caught Stealing" 11. ? 12. More RATM 13. Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" 14. ? 15. Rob Bass 16. House Of Pain's "Jump Around" 17. Beastie Boys "Intergalactic" 18. ?

*The next house music: Mix of a whole bunch of popular rock

Guns N' Roses: (10:12-12:20)

I. Dress
Axl: University of North Dakota white Sioux jersey, black nylon pants, white tennis shoes. For November Rain Axl switched to a green North Dakota State University Bison jersey. It had yellow writing, word "Bison" on it. For those of you who don't know, UND and NDSU have a long-standing rivalry. And Axl showed up supporting them both. It was great.
Buckethead: Black shirt, with a black cape. Khakis for pants.
Robin Finck: Black jumpsuit. He started out with his hair tightly tied up. For LALD, he wore a black motorcycle helmet and black sunglasses. After LALD, he put his hair down. Finck would put his hair back up for Rocket Queen, and the rest of the show.
Tommy Stinson: Plad blue suit. Light blue with dark blue big stripes and thin red stripes. Tommy would lose the coat at the band introductions.
Dizzy Reed: The same shirt as at the VMA's, with black leather pants.
Brain: Black shirt, black backwards baseball hat, and shorts.
Chris Pitman: Black pants, blue jean coat, and white shirt, with a black winter hat. Maybe he was cold.
Richard Fortus: Blue and white striped jeans, white shirt with a red skull and cross bones, with a black mesh shirt over it.

II. Stage Setup
As the audience looks at it, their angles. There are 8 long vertical banners with three pairs of Chinese writing on them a piece. Brain's Drum kit is elevated. To the left of him is Dizzy, with bongos, synthesizer, piano, and microphone. Opposite Dizzy, to the right of Brain, is Pitman. He has three different types of piano/synthesizers and a microphone. From left to right on the main stage, is where Buckethead, Fortus, Stinson, and Finck usually are. And of course, Axl is all over the place. Axl had a telemprompter on the left side of the stage.

III. Setlist and highlights
Welcome To The Jungle (Sparks)
It's So Easy
Mr. Brownstone

Because It's been a long time since you've had your ass kicked properly!!!

Axl said: "So, look at all these front rowers. We'd like to thank you all for coming out tonight, all that's been said, I'd say you have the right to be skeptical.

Live And Let Die (Pyro)
Think About You
Knockin' On Heaven's Door (Axl had microphone problems until the first verse. He couldn't hit high notes especially. The second verse had cool synth in it.)

Now this is surprising, Axl said: "This is a song Dizzy wrote about his girlfriend Angela" I was expecting something new, or maybe even Silk Worms, and then the play:

You Could Be Mine (Pyro. There were shots of a KFC in china with people on bikes and in cars. It was sped up.)

Someone tried to take a picture, and Axl said: "I'm sorry.I apologize.I apologize.I should have stood still." Then he changed the subject when he said this: "You can't tell people what you mean, because they already know what you feel on the inside of you." Then he said something I didn't understand, and mentioned Slash, whom the whole schpiel may have been about. Then Axl said: "Ladies and Gentlemen.Mr. Robin Finck"

Sweet Child O' Mine (Buckethead left stage before the guitar solo.)

A fat sheriff came on the video screens. He had a nightstick and was chewing tobacco.

Out Ta Get Me (Pyro)

Axl talked about how "A couple of individuals need to correct the lighting gear."

Band Introductions, in this order: Finck, "Thomas Veenideen Stinson," as Axl so eloquently put it, Pitman, Dizzy, Fortus "bang for your bucks," Brain (who when introduced took a bite out of a big green apple and a banana), and then Axl said: "Long ago aliens left it to itself, in a chicken coop, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Buckethead"

Buckethead nunchucka, robot dance, Solo/Star Wars Theme/The Empire Strikes Back/A Pirate's Life For Me (APLFM keeps playing, pre-recorded, as BH goes to get a Target bag. He throws out gifts to the crowd.)

After BH was done, Axl said: "Now wasn't that fun boys and girls, now thank Uncle Axl for bringing it along."

Piano Solo, which included a beautiful piano part. It flows much too well to not be a new song.

November Rain (No Buckethead. After awhile, he came back, tried to play his guitar, but no sound came. He got pissed, threw it down, and walked offstage.) Finck had exactly the same guitar in this song as Slash used in the video. Talk about "replacements." The second half of the song had spark showers.

Because It's been a long time since you've had your ass kicked properly!!!

Then Axl said: "Before we get into this song, we actually have a.how 'bout a lil' intro?"

The band jammed. It was fucking awesome.
Rocket Queen

Start Madagascar, then stop quickly. Axl asked "Are we okay?" Then they went back into the song.

Madagascar (With the same beautiful images. Spark shower.and it was Pitman who sang the background vocals) Then Axl said: "Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Dizzy Reed."

The Blues

Axl said: "I guess this might be people's bedtime. I see some people falling asleep.tsk tsk tsk.let's see.where are we? Give me some marshmallows."

Chinese Democracy (Pyro) Axl said afterwards: "Well.we do hope to see you again. We hope you see us again.and if you tell a friend and they tell a friend and they tell a friend and they tell a friend and they tell a friend."

Patience (Tommy laid down on his back for part of the song, which was real cool. Fortus and BH had acoustic guitars, Finck played the solo with the electric.)

My Michelle

Finck Solo/Paradise City (American flag on screen at beginning of PC. Pyro, spark shower, and confetti everywhere.)

Well that's it. Nothing new new. It was an excellent show, and Axl was perfect the entire night. I was twelve rows back from him, on the right side of the stage, so I saw Finck most of the night. It was an incredible show. I 'm not sure if this is a band or some lumbering juggernaut that has yet to be awaken. Attendance was between 5500-6500.