Jump to content

The bloom is off this Rose


Recommended Posts

DATE: Jan. 29 2010

SOURCE: The Globe & Mail

The bloom is off this Rose

No riots, no pasta mishaps, and a simmering feud with his former guitarist, but at least his voice gets better with time

by Brad Wheeler

‘Sorry about the delay,” said Axl Rose, a late riser. Guns N' Roses, on the Toronto date of its Canadian tour, took the stage at 11:24 p.m. Salvos of flames, starburst fountains and ear-bombing firecrackers accompanied Chinese Democracy, a chugging, iron-riffed rocker with the line “all we've got is precious time.” Later in the 180-minute, got-better-as-it-went-along concert, Rose noted a local DJ had predicted that GNR would hit the stage sometime around 2 a.m. “So,” Rose rationalized, “I'm early.”

Welcome to Guns N' Roses, they've still got fun and games.

In 1988, Rose, singing affectingly about wanting to get it right, asked for “just a little patience.” His fans gave it, and the volatile enigma has been testing it ever since. The album Chinese Democracy, released late in 2008, was nearly a decade and a half in the making – whole empires rose and fell, and mystifying cornrows appeared and disappeared on Rose's head in the meantime.

At Air Canada Centre, the 47-year-old front man was fiddle-fit and seemingly fine of mind. I have no idea why he ran off stage during every 12-bar guitar solo, but he always did come back. Rose had the Kid Rock/Mickey Rourke thing working for him, especially with the handlebar mustache, shades and dark leather trilby.

Inconsistent would be the word to describe Rose's shrill scowling vocals. He was weak of throat on Welcome to the Jungle and Live and Let Die, and his band of B-actors – Rose is the sole remaining member of the original Los Angeles crew – seemed to play to the level of their leader.

There were no riots, nor were there spaghetti incidents. Rose, who feuds with iconic former guitarist Slash, was chatty: we learned that Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page is a fan of Trailer Park Boys, and that Mike Smith, the actor who plays Bubbles, regularly sends Rose texts.

Rose's voice improved as the show moved along. On the wistful November Rain, the reclusive rock star sang “everybody needs some time all alone.” The band picked up steam on the cowbell KISS knockoff Nightrain, and a four-song encore ended with the satisfied crowd taken back to Paradise City.

The common complaint after the show was the surprising omission of one graceful, sweeping beauty. At two o'clock in the morning, Axl Rose, a man never in a hurry, had no time for Patience.

Guns N' Roses continues its tour in Ottawa tomorrow, Feb. 1 in Quebec City, Feb. 3 in Moncton and Feb. 4 in Halifax.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

DATE: Jan. 28, 2010

SOURCE: ChartAttack.com

Guns N' Roses Prove Sometimes You Can't Go Back Home Again

Air Canada Centre

Toronto, ON

on Jan 28 2010

Ian Gormely (CHARTattack)

I've wanted to see Guns N' Roses since I was 12 years old.

I came close once. In 2002, I had a ticket to see them in Vancouver, but Axl never showed up. People rioted.

Two years ago, I even saw a Guns N' Roses cover band called Gunts N' Roses, with an Axl stand-in that looked more like Vince Neil from Motley Crue. It was one of the rowdiest shows I've ever seen.

These are the trials and tribulations Guns N' Roses fans are willing to endure — cancelled gigs, 15-year gaps between (bad) albums and yes, a group of hired guns playing our favourite songs — all because 20-some-odd years ago, this band made a record called Appetite For Destruction.

It's how a band that are a shadow of what they once were managed to pack the Air Canada Centre, and it's how a hardened, cynical 28-year old reviewer can time-warp back into his idealistic young self.

Hitting the stage at 11:30 p.m., a mere two hours after their scheduled start time, Rose and company managed to drop seven tracks of that immortal LP. Unfortunately, they also played nine off of the bloated turd that was Chinese Democracy, including three during a four-song encore that pushed the night up to the 2 a.m. mark.

Given this was billed as the "Chinese Democracy Tour," the glut of new material was to be expected. Freed from the claustrophobic production of the record, songs like "Better," "Shackler's Revenge" and opener "Chinese Democracy" sounded pretty great. But ballads like "Street Of Dreams," "Sorry" and "Madagascar" felt increasingly grating as the night progressed with the knowledge that I was going to miss the last subway home.

Appetite's trifecta of hits — "Welcome To The Jungle," "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Paradise City" — were sprinkled throughout the set, but the band seemed sluggish during these tracks, perhaps due to their "hafta play them" nature. Deeper cuts from the album fared better, especially "Rocket Queen."

But the night's highlight came from a pair of tracks from the too often ignored Use Your Illusion albums. "November Rain" and the still menacing "You Could Be Mine" were where the band seemed to really pull it all together and proved worthy of the ridiculous adulation their fans still bestow upon them.

Rose seemed in incredibly good spirits, joking that the group were, essentially, hungover from partying the night before, and telling stories, a stark contrast to the public perception of the reclusive singer who was too temperamental for the guy that wore the KFC bucket on his head.

Rose's voice hasn't deteriorated at all, and between frequent trips to a little black hut on the side of the stage, he rarely stopped moving around the stage. The band, which now includes long-time bass player and ex-Replacement Tommy Stinson, guitarists Bumble Foot, Richard Fortus and DJ Ashba, drummer Frank Ferrer and sole-early '90s hold-over Dizzy Reed on keyboards, were equally as animated.

Guns N' Roses circa 2010 can definitely cut it in technical proficiency — all are talented musicians. They're not exactly left in the background while Rose takes the spotlight (all three guitarists got their own instrumental solos). But the sense of menace and seething anger is missing from the current incarnation. It's what drew me to them as an impressionable 12-year-old.

While Rose still carries these qualities with him everywhere he goes, the rest of the band seem subservient to his whims. It's not that the original line-up didn't have to deal with his antics; they put up with quite a lot, in fact. But the group always felt like a unit who had lived the nihilistic lyrics of their songs and had come together to take on the world. It's a quality that you can't replicate and no matter how good this band gets, Guns N' Roses will never have that again.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...