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Guns N' Roses: "Welcome to the Awesome" -- Florida Review

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DATE: Wednesday, October 25, 2006

TITLE: Guns N' Roses: Welcome to the Awesome

TEXT:

Before we commence to embarrasingly gushing over last night's Guns N' Roses "Chinese Democracy" tour opener at Sunrise's BankAtlantic Center, it is necessary to grant Axl Rose a strict finger-wagging. It is completely inexusable to make your fans wait more than an hour after the last opening act for you to deign to come onstage at 11:20 p.m. Especially since the bulk of your demographic is in their late 20s and early 30s, have jobs and/or families, and are going to be completely wiped out and useless at work this morning because your portion of the show didn't end until 1:30 a.m. So, shame, shame, shame.

However, the show was pretty much the most exciting, gut-pumping, lighter-flicking thing seen so far this year in South Florida. Yes, it's true - long the butt of jokes for his stage shennagins, band line-up shuffling, creative hairdo and long-delayed pet project, frontman Axl Rose and his reconstituted Guns delivered a more than two-hour set that covered most of their older hits and at least one newer number.

The relaxed, friendly and cheerfully profane Rose admitted to being a little worse for wear following some debauched evenings in Miami ("I'd like to know where I was in the wee hours of this morning"), which may have explained his many departures from the stage to allow various bandmembers solos that occassionally slowed the evening down.

But those solos, including a strong guitar jam by former Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck and an almost Jim Brickman-esque piano piece by longtime keyboardist Dizzy Reed, were mostly started, and they couldn't zap the energy of Capt. Axl and his still-seductive stage snakiness.

The story started strong and mostly stayed that way. After the hideous wait (and there's still no excuse for that) the lights went down on a stage flanked by the letters G N'R in Chinese-like characters. Ominous storm trooper-type music began to play as the restless fans began yelling things like "Come on!" And BOOM!, just like that, the staccato strains of "Welcome To The Jungle" greeted geysers of pyrotechnic flare-ups and the appearance of the strutting Rose, his multi-colored braids tied back behind his head.

"You know where you are?" Rose screamed along with the crowd. "You're in the junnn-gal, bay-BAYY!"

Why, yes we are. Grab that pith helmet and a stun gun and elaborate, my friend.

Rose's voice has always been something of a contridiction - completely comfortable with twisting his pleasant raspiness into a seducticely dangerous shriek. It was in evidence during "Jungle," as well as the intense "You Could Be Mine," "Mr. Brownstone" and "It's So Easy." By the end of the show, he sounded like he'd over-extended himself, but he stopped throwing himself into it, even with the probable hangover pounding on his cornrows.

The band did pretty much everything you'd think they would - the strongest bits included the expert bombast of Wings' "Live And Let Die" (and did you remember how good that thing was?), the welcome whistle of "Patience" and a gleeful "Sweet Child O' Mine."

Oddly, for a tour named "Chinese Democracy," there was very little evidence of the still-unreleased album that lends it its name. Toward the end, before the stomping encore of "Paradise City," Axl and company did the title song, a loud and solid number that invokes the importance of thinking for yourself and not letting them fool ya and what-not. It's OK, although it's no "November Rain." However, it blended seamlessly into the rest of the Guns N' Roses canon, and the modern Guns N'Roses blends seamlessly into the band's legend.

SOURCE: Palm Beach Post

RELATED DISCUSSION: http://www.mygnrforum.com/index.php?showtopic=82426

Thanks to snooze72! rock3

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