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As a huge fan, and someone who regrets not being old enough to ever see this band live when they were in their prime, I'm sure you can imagine my excitement when Guns 'n' Roses were announced as performers a few years back on MTV Video Awards.
Though it was clear Axl Rose was the only original member left, there was still much anticipation as I felt even with the new band members, it would still have that old Guns 'n' Roses feel to it, due to the fact that I know Axl Rose made a great deal of the decisions and chose the direction music wise, in the days when Guns 'n' Roses were truly on top. This was going to be amazing. Although I would not be able to see them live at the MTV Video Awards, them performing there surely meant there would be a tour.... perhaps even another album...
However. Excitement quickly turned to disappointment when the band hit the stage to close out the awards ceremony. Axl Rose was almost unrecognisable, with his dreadlocked hair, and awful plastic surgery. As he ran around the stage he could barley hit the notes he used to, and he was clearly out of breath, out of shape, and out of tune.
The once forthcoming Guns 'N Roses album, Chinese Democracy has been plagued by constantly changing release dates and has become something more of an urban legend in the music world, as fans have lost all hope of it ever being released. Judging by the performance on the MTV Video Awards though, perhaps this is maybe for the best, and fans should be left with the great music (and videos) they once made...
Guns 'n' Roses - Welcome To The Videos DVD, has a collection of 13 music videos.
'Welcome to the Jungle', the first song to be released by the band. In the beginning of the video Axl steps off a bus, and Slash (the guitarist) is seen sitting in front of a store drinking. The video goes on to show flashing images of war and riots etc, and Axl Rose in a straitjacket (ironic really, when you think of some of the things Axl did later on that made a lot of people believe he really did belong in a straitjacket).
'Sweet Child o' Mine', one of the bands more 'well known' songs/videos is of course included in the DVD. This one is very simple, just a film crew, filming a film crew filming the band in a studio...see, simple? With Axl Rose doing his strange little dance that men still try to do any time this song is played in a bar. They always fail miserably though, don't they? Straight men can't move their hips like Axl could, but it's damn hilarious watching them try. 'Paradise City', shows Guns 'n' Roses performing the song during a couple of stadium shows, cut and put together (Axl Rose looking incredibly camp, stomping around the stage). 'Patience', has another simple video to it. It shows parts of Axl Rose in what appears to be a recording studio and another part of the video also shows Axl watching the TV in a hotel room. Not very exciting stuff, I'll admit.
'Don't Cry', is in my opinion one of the best videos they ever made, it starts off with Axl (looking very strange I might add) walking through snow, clutching a bottle of what I can only guess to be the famous Jack Daniels. It then shows Axl sweeping through the door (looking gorgeous. Don't laugh, I used to have a serious crush on him). Next thing it shows is Axl with a gun to his head, and his girlfriend (wife?) wrestling the gun off him. It then shows him at his own funeral.
'Live and Let Die', shows the band performing on stage, and also shows photos of the band when they were younger.
'November Rain'. I'm sure a lot of people have seen this video, of a beautiful fairytale wedding, (Axl rose and a leggy Model). It all goes wrong somehow, and it ends with Stephanie Seymour (the leggy model) in a coffin. In my opinion, the best part of the November Rain video is when Slash walks out into a field and starts playing guitar. Very nice. Yes, I have a thing for musicians. 'Yesterdays', is simply Axl Rose and very little of the rest of the band singing the song, not much else happens to be honest. 'Estranged' is another Interesting one. I'm not sure what sort of message, if any, they were trying to get across with this. It is mostly Axl Rose at his mansion and people coming in wearing white coats......
Aaahh, now I get it.
'Since I Don't Have You' is a weird one, you have loads of models all over the band (and each other), topped off with a funny looking character who looks like a mime artist. Watch carefully, and you will see Slash trying really hard not to laugh.
The disappointing thing about this DVD is there are no extras....no Interviews with the band, commentary....nothing. I also think it would be better if 'The Garden', 'Dead Horse' and 'Garden of Eden' had been replaced with 'Civil War', 'It's So Easy', and the fantastic video - 'You Could Be Mine'. It still deserves four stars from me though, as a fan, I'm happy enough with what is here.
Thanks for reading.
Welcome to the Videos provides a baker's dozen of Guns 'n' Roses' most explosive and memorable music videos from 1987 to 1993, and what a lesson they provide in the early evolution of visual style on MTV. Looking back, it seems Guns n' Roses embraced almost every type of music-video setting: "Welcome to the Jungle", for instance, finds rapid images of the band's stage performance interspersed with a semi-narrative featuring Axle Rose as a newcomer to the big bad city; "Paradise City" is set against an arena sound check, while "Sweet Child O' Mine" is structured around the now-threadbare idea of a video documentary about a video production. A couple of obsessive themes emerge from this anthology, the starkest involving love and watery deaths ("Don't Cry" and "November Rain"). Most interesting are the opiate-like distortions of "The Garden" and the surreal "Since I Don't Have You", starring Gary Oldman as a grinning devil. --Tom Keogh