“ Concerts in UK „
Guns N Roses My Opinion:
A few years ago, I bought a mop. I've changed the handle three times and the head twice. Is it still the same mop?
Many people would say no, it isn't. And they would be right. However, if you apply this theory to the legendary rock band Guns N Roses, then people might say the opposite.
Guns N Roses were one of the bands who, back in the day, came along and diluted down the gash hair metal music with their own brand of rock n' roll. A revolution at the time, their debut album Appetite for Destruction still remains one of the most prolific records in history. Practically every song on there is a hit, many of which are household tunes.
After a few years of touring, drinking, inhaling various powders and fighting their own fans, Guns N Roses released a few more albums, most of which dealt with such subjects as touring, drinking, inhaling powders and fighting their own fans. Albums by the name of Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, these are also considered classic albums today, although not as profound as their debut release. Their live show remained a major part of the Guns N Roses experience. The partnership of vocalist Axl Rose and guitarist Slash made for epic performances. At the time, they were considered one of the greatest pairings in music.
But now, 20 years on, the classic Guns N Roses is all but forgotten. They disbanded somewhere around the mid 90's, each member went their separate ways and GNR was hung up in its rightful place in the rock n' roll hall of fame.
Guns N Roses Live @ the NEC Birmingham:
'And then someone had to go and ruin it'
Since then, Axl has continued on with GNR, being the only original member still left in the band. He has continued to hire some of the best musicians available, but he has got through so many I can't even remember who was playing with him on this tour. One incarnation of GNR he hired the amazing Buckethead, and then fired the amazing Buckethead, despite him being the best guitarist on the planet. And now, according to research, the band lineup is as follows:
Axl Rose - Vocalist
Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal - Guitarist
DJ Ashba - Guitarist
Richard Fortus - Guitarist
Tommy Stinson - Bassist
Dizzy Reed - Keyboardist
Chris Pitman - Keyboardist
Frank Ferrer - Drummer
As always, GNR took to the Birmingham NEC stage an hour later than expected. Being late is apparently their 'thing'. By then, the crowd were already outspoken with boos and jeers. But GNR eventually arrived and opened with 'Chinese Democracy', and all was apparently forgiven.
Following that, several classics off Appetite were played, Welcome To The Jungle, Mr Brownstone and It's So Easy. Followed by a few off the new album, and then back to Rocket Queen and Out To Get Me, then a few more off the new album. Apparently I wasn't the only one who noticed a pattern. The setlist on a whole was basically Chinese Democracy and Appetite for Destruction mixed with the 'hits' off other albums (November Rain, Live and Let Die, Knockin On Heaven's Door). I'm fairly certain the entirety of Appetite was played to keep the old timers pleased, whilst still promoting their new record (despite being released two years ago).
Make no mistake; the live show was very spectacular. Pyrotechnics all round and big screen backdrops for each song. The band sounded good, but how hard can it be with three guitarists and two keyboard players? Joking aside, the musicians are clearly world class, Ron Thal (Bumblefoot) being one of the players whose techniques I studied during music college, and the other two showing off their skills with solos which lasted around 10 minutes each. But one can't help wonder, if they perhaps ditched these vain displays of showmanship, they could have included some lesser known songs which are generally considered much better than the filler off the new album. Neglected songs like Civil War, Garden of Eden, Shotgun Blues, Right Next Door To Hell, etc, all of which I believe have never been performed live. But then again, who wants to hear these when we can hear the James Bond theme? Looking at the setlists from recent shows, it would seem that they have played the same songs every night for a long time.
Along with 50% of the venue, we had to leave three songs from the end due to GNR's late arrival. To sum it up, it would seem that Axl Rose is still living in the year when 'anarchy' was considered cool. Anarchy in this case, would be arriving onstage late, forcing half your fans to miss your show due to public transport and charging the maximum ticket price possible. Also, guitar players can wear as many top hats and smoke as many cigarettes as they want, it does not make you Slash. It makes you a guy with a top hat and cigarette, playing a Les Paul and trying to look like Slash. This was my second time seeing GNR, they do hold many memories for me of my younger days, but I don't think I'll be seeing them again (short of a reunion with the classic line-up - which would play neglected album tracks). I expected a little more overall, but what we got was a nostalgia act seemingly going through the motions.
The Set List:
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
IT'S SO EASY
JAMES BOND THEME
LIVE AND LET DIE PLAY
THIS I LOVE PLAY
STREET OF DREAMS
YOU COULD BE MINE
SWEET CHILD O' MINE
ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL PART 2
PINK PANTHER THEME
KNOCKIN' ON HEAVEN'S DOOR
WHOLE LOTTA ROSIE
The Support Act:
Well we had no other than Sebastian Bach for me an icon of the 1980's; better known for being ex front man for a band called Skid Row. Sebastian is a true crowd pleaser, on time, great performance and his voice was amazing. Personally for me on the night his voice sounded much better than his friend Axl, but still not taking anything away from Axl.
Sebastian performed classics such as Slave to the Grind, Remember Me, Youth Gone Wild and a few more of older and newer hits. I would defiantly pay to see him again, he was amazing!
Apart from having to miss the last few tracks from Axl due to his lateness (otherwise missing the train back Birmingham International) it was a great night. His stage ops were spectacular and I enjoyed his little dances on and around stage.
Making the night start off with a bang was the awesome Sebastian Bach which well and truly made my night.
If you haven't this them perform live I would recommend you give it a go if you can, on the hold I find this rather hard to score.
Sebastian would be 5 out of 5 stars (some may disagree)
Axl and band 4 out of 5 stars, due to rushing some parts of the songs.
Thanks for reading :o)
Axl Rose real name used to be William Bruce Rose however the name change to Axl Rose had a lot people thinking that this was an anagram for Oral Sex. But the name Axl actually came from his first band.
The hottest day since records began in England brought Guns N Roses to the Newcastle Arena and an eventful night with trademark highs and lows.
Coming to the stage two hours later than billed and with a restless and baking hot throng of a crowd baying for them, the band tore through Welcome to the Jungle, It's So Easy and Mr Brownstone flawlessly. With an all new line up bar Axl Rose and Dizzy Reed, the band sounded tight and polished. Everyone looked happy to be there, particularly new guitarist Bumblefoot who was tearing all over the place and in jovial mood with Axl.
A pyro-filled Live and Let Die, Knocking on Heaven's Door and Sweet Child were lapped up and Axl was quick to observe the increase in the arenas temperature when he mentioned, Were cooking now!.
Then we got the solo spots. The bone of consternation for most people since Guns became a stadium band and lets be honest, in a two hour show we could do without a Robin, Ron, Dizzy and then Robin and Richard solo spot. Does Axl need to rest his voice? Does he want the rest of the show to be so memorable he lets everyone in the band tart about like Joe Satriani and Elton John for five minutes by themselves? Either way, tonight its welcome so the crowd can cool down for a few minutes.
The only new song aired tonight is The Blues, pitched note perfect to a sea of blank faces. Im the only person I can hear singing along. As in Sheffield, this is also the only new song we get tonight, caused by the bands late arrival.
Seb Bach comes out for My Michelle and builds on the energy he started with his own bands support slot and then Izzy Stradlin' is brought out for the last few songs Think About You, Patience, Nightrain and a run through a Stones song which also features some guy from the crowd on backing vocals! Izzy was looking good and sporting the flat black cap he used to wear back in the day when Guns were breaking throughout the world.
Then the fun started. I was up against the barrier right in front of Axl when something, the size of a coin, was thrown at him. The band tore into Nightrain, but Axl was distracted by this. He carried on singing whilst looking down at the object then picked it up and started mumbling to himself. He ordered stand-in drummer Frank Ferrer to stop playing and the band walked off. From off stage Axl asked the crowd to chop anyone seen throwing objects to security and the band came on to play Nightrain in its entirety.
Then they were gone as Axl spat out the words Thats the end of the show. Presumably we missed Paradise City due to this idiot, but with the band being late for the second consecutive night it appears the only staples of the setlist that went missing were new tunes I.R.S, Madagascar, Better and Chinese Democracy.
A fun night up in tha Toon. Far too hot, but hugely entertaining, if not slightly subdued.
We have been promised Chinese Democracy, the most expensive album never made by the end of the year. After several sold out shows in the UK people will be waiting with baited breath.
UK Guns N Roses.
The Wharf, Tavistock, Devon. 04/03/06.
£9.00 advance/£10 on the door.
Another tribute band. This time, surprise surprise, to Guns N Roses. Formerly known as Bad Obsession, UK Guns N' Roses changed their name to reinforce the perception that they are the best GNR cover band in the UK. Try telling that to Addlers Appetite. This was the first time Id seen an outfit taking off another band that still has all its members alive and kicking. Just, it has to be said, but living none-the-less.
Let me tell you a little story.
I had the pleasure of catching Aerosmith on their first full UK tour many years ago. Provisionally, they had booked in to only play the super-sheds around the country; I saw them at the Birmingham NEC. They were good, but the enormity of the venue made things a little sterile. Watching a band from half a mile away whilst stuck up near the rafters on the left hand side of the auditorium isnt exactly intimate is it. But, Id waited long enough, so it was good enough for me.
Then the Gods smiled upon Farting Weasel, and lo, it came to pass that Aerosmith announced some dates at smaller venues.
And oh joy; one of these was Newcastle City Hall. And what a night that turned out to be. They were awesome; the dogs bollocks. Seating less than 2000 people, the City Halls walls ran with sweat. And better still, the band bowed to the audiences wishes and played a set predominantly made up of the classic toxic years (i.e. the best) stuff. It was a night where I got a chance to be up close and personal with one of my favourite outfits.
And the Gods saw that Farting Weasel was most pleased. So the bastards have made him pay for it ever since. That gig was more expensive than I can ever tell you. Believe me. Worth every penny, scar and tear though.
And thats the difference between the arenas and the hellholes. Intimacy.
My point being: even when enormous, bands love to play the smaller, tighter venues when they get the chance. Its a good way to get back to their roots and play a stripped down show, where there is nowhere to hide. When they have to look their audience straight in the eye and work. Especially when the place is full of proper fans rather than the usual motley crew of music biz hangers-on. Just like the good ol bad ol days, maaaaan!
And Im pretty sure the original line up of GNR would love to be able to do the same. However, UK Guns N Roses seem to have a different idea. And here we have one of their main problems.
Tavistock is not an enormodrome. Its just a little room with a stage. Enough room for, say, 2 or 300 people at most. A good tight club sized venue in other words. But UK GNR prefers to try and give us the big stage show. Or at least, thats how it seemed to me. Theyve certainly been watching the videos and stuff, but its the videos from the monster arenas. They would be better off catching some of the earlier stuff. Its out there, I know, Ive seen it. Caught the real thing too, again at Newcastle. Its a pity none of UK GNR hadnt.
So what you get is a band trying to be an arena-filling outfit, whilst playing a stage thirty odd feet wide. Does it works? I suppose it does in its own way. They play all the stuff youd expect, Welcome To The Jungle, Live And Let Die, Sweet Child O Mine, Paradise City, November Rain and the infernal sing along yawn that is Knocking On Heavens Door (God I hate that song. For that alone Dylan should be shot). Mr Brownstone especially seemed to give the more drug aware members of the audience something to smile at.
We also got the naked torsos, the dangling fags, low slung axes (Gibsons too), the singing whilst sat on speaker stacks, the kilts and the hats. In fact we got GNRs arena show interpreted on a small stage to (almost) perfection. They even used a different guitarist for the later, Gilby Clark stuff. The super slickness was all there. And UK G N R did a pretty good job too. Though it seemed odd listening to a cover band covering cover songs. Eh? Yes, precisely.
But what we didnt get was the chaotic sleaze and sheer power of the early live Guns N Roses. The bourbon and H fuelled monster that brought us Appetite For Destruction and then stalked stages all over the place trying to out do the original Toxic Twins. Those days were when Guns N Roses were by no means perfect, but this made their shows all the better for it. Rock n Roll at its most cynical, raw and vicious. In other words, what we didnt get was the classic G N R.
This disappointed me. Im not saying they should get themselves a booze and horse problem, but they could at least try to catch a little of the essence of those special days. If there is one thing that Guns N Roses were not, it was perfect. UK Guns N Roses, on the other hand, were. At least, as much as they could be. Faithful renditions aplenty, even the way Axle runs off the stage to get a quick hat change was copied perfectly.
And I think this contributed to their other big problem. There just wasnt a spark; that certain something that makes a band and crowd gel to turn just another gig into an event. Yknow what I mean, that special bond that ignites into a party where the boundaries between stage and stalls becomes hazy. It all went a bit flat. Sure, the audience tonight lapped it up. For a change, they were predominantly under thirty. I even saw some hair heads that had crawled out the woodwork. I didnt know Tavistock had any. Yes, the audience seemed pleased with what they got. Pleased being the operative word. Not blasted, or blown away. Just, well, smugly satisfied.
Tribute bands can do better. T-Rextacy did.
There was no encore. They did their set and then the lights came on. No messing about. And strangely, the crowd let them do it. The band gave us a cheery bow at the end. However, I for one was pleased the proceedings were over. Id had enough after half an hour. After an hour, I just found UK GNR plain irritating, especially the singer.
And they werent loud enough. I want my ears to bleed, dude!!!!
Apparently they have some of their own original material due to be released sometime mid 2006. I hope they get away completely from the whole Guns & Roses thing. After all, Bad Obsession isnt a bad name for a band, is it?