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07/31/21 - Hershey, PA - Hersheypark Stadium


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1 hour ago, Powerage5 said:

I kept quiet about it, but I decided to go down for the Hershey gig at the last minute. I had previously said I wouldn't go see GN'R again until things really change after Montreal 2017, but I decided to break down and give them another shot on Saturday. In 2017 it was really just a case of, I'd seen four NITL shows that were all nearly identical over two years, I couldn't see shelling out that kind of money continually for largely the same show. Truth be told, GN'R wasn't even really the reason I went - I was just looking for a good excuse to go beer shopping/hunting in the Harrisburg area :lol: That, and I was really keen to see WVH. When the tickets dropped to $29, it was hard to say no.

As I said above, I had my personal reasons to stop going to GN'R gigs after 2017. It just wasn't for me anymore, plain and simple. If they came back with a new album or a significantly revamped setlist, I'd be the first in line to go to another gig or gigs. The gigs in 2016 and 2017 were good, the band was tight, energized, and yet professional. But after the other night, I can definitively say I am done with this band in any financial sense until things seriously change. What I saw Saturday night was a trainwreck in nearly every sense. 

First things first - the schedule for the gig was a joke. The venue sends out an email the day before the gig saying the show time has been pushed forward from 7 PM to 6 PM, and the doors time from 6 PM to 5 PM. Great! That means more time for GN'R, right? Wrong. The show starts late - Wolfgang goes on at 6:45, just fifteen minutes ahead of his originally scheduled start time. After his (perfectly reasonable length) set, there is an astounding 55 minute set change between WVH and GN'R - putting GN'R onstage at roughly 8:25. Which, because of the strict 11 PM curfew at Hershey, gave us a roughly 2 hour 20 minute set, which I believe is one of the shortest yet from the NITL lineup. Now, I get it - production delays happen, particularly on the first night. But, something should give somewhere to make up some time; cut Wolfie down to 35 minutes, work double-time for the set change...something to try and buy back any of the time lost. 

All of that rolls into my next point - the setlist. I'm not going to try and judge too harshly on the setlist itself, as it's likely we didn't get the full, intended setlist. But the pacing was all over the place, and the set was somehow both still bloated and rushed at the same time. They powered through a good number of shorter songs early on, but the end of the set was a massive drag. The last hour of the set literally consisted of Slash's solo and five songs. That's it. It's like they got to 10 PM and collectively said "Oh fuck, we have all these songs left we have to play, and they all long. Cut down the jams in the songs, are you insane?!?". And that's one of the baffling things to me - there's so many songs that just turn into jams that they refused to tighten up because of the shorter set. It's not like we're talking about cutting down what they've rehearsed so much as refusing to keep the pace moving. Double Talking Jive felt longer than usual (I didn't pay attention to the exact length on that one), Rocket Queen still came in at 12 minutes, KOHD still came in at 12 minutes, they're drawing out the endings of every single song - SCOM doesn't need to turn into a 7 minute song because they refuse to just end it. KOHD can easily get cut down from 12 minutes to 9 minutes literally on the fly, and still have some of the crowd interaction. Slash's solo clocked in around 10 minutes and it was a fucking 12 bar blues. It takes zero effort to cut that down to be as short as you want. At one point, when Axl was doing the band intros he was sort of building up the crowd before Slash and he literally said "In the business, this is what we call milking it"; a show that is running well over an hour behind schedule is not the time to milk it, and certainly not to joke about milking it. On the plus side, it was nice to see Dead Horse and You're Crazy. 

On a technical level there were sound problems galore. I've never heard such an inconsistent sound across a gig as I did on Saturday night. At any given time, anyone could suddenly spike in the mix, or disappear altogether. I lost count of the number of times Axl was visibly singing powerfully when he was completely inaudible in the mix - the one that is stuck in my mind is the bridge of Better. Duff's bass would suddenly dominate the mix. Melissa would come out of nowhere for two or three words of backing vocals, and then disappear as quickly as she appeared. There was at least one solo where Slash was just missing from the mix. Whoever is on the mix nowadays should be ashamed, because to call that mix shambolic would be an understatement. 

On the topic of the actual performance, it was the worst I've ever seen from GN'R by a considerable margin. In 2017 the band still sounded like they had some fire, they were still energized. The other night was the sound of a band going through the motions. I know a lot of folks on here were keen to have the tempos pulled back, and it works on some songs but there's others where it just sucks the energy out of the song. Rocket Queen in particular comes to mind, it was painfully slow, it just seemed to plod along. I can't even really say the band was loose or sloppy, just...boring. They sounded, and to an extent, looked, disinterested. Nobody impressed me on an individual level either. I suppose, gun to my head, I'd say Slash was the MVP of the night, but even then he sounded so much less inspired than he did in 2017 when I remember him really shining (And I say that as someone who is not particularly a huge fan of Slash). Nobody had any energy - Slash, Duff, and Fortus all mostly stayed in the same spot for the entire gig, while Axl moved around the stage (Rather gingerly even by his more recent standards). Speaking of Axl...his voice. I'm not going to sit here and shit on him saying that he needs to stop being lazy, lose weight, rehearse more, etc. Truth be told, he really looked like he was putting in the effort vocally to me. He didn't have the mannerisms of someone just going through the motions. But his voice just wasn't working. I hate to say this, but I just don't know if he's physically able to control his voice anymore the way that his vocals demand. I felt sorry for him because he did look to be working hard, and he looked dejected to me at times that he wasn't able to deliver - I remember during November Rain you could see Axl just sitting there shaking his head and looking disappointed. There were songs where he'd skip every other line for whole verses, Better and YCBM come to mind. It was not a pretty sight. 

The whole gig ended on an incredibly bizarre note when Axl said his usual "Good. Fucking. Night!" (Albeit in a midrange speaking voice as opposed to his usual banshee howl on it), threw his mic into the crowd...and that was it. No additional thank you's from anyone in the band, no group or individual bows - I'm not even sure any of them threw picks, sticks, etc. into the crowd. Just very odd. 

I was hoping I would walk away from this gig happy with the night, and remorseful that I'd shunned them for the last four years. Neither was the case in actuality. I am relieved I haven't wasted my time and money on this band for the last four years, and they won't be getting any more from me unless there's significant changes in the organization from top to bottom. Do I regret going? Not really. WVH was great, and the beer shopping/hunting part of my day was excellent, so it wasn't a wasted day in either of those regards. But I'm also not really happy I saw GN'R. If I'm being brutally honest, they themselves were not worth the $29 I spent to see them. 

So the real question is... what type of beer did you get mate?

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2 minutes ago, Jw224 said:

Axl sounded like he did because he has not bothered to sing or train at all. He had a full year to get a vocal coach and get himself back in order. What happened instead is he walked on having not sang for a year and sounded like shit. They slowed the songs down and he sounded the worst he has ever sounded trying to sing them. I really refuse to believe he is putting any effort into it and is still sounding like that. 

This wasn't just his usual Mickey the way throw the show though. Sitting on his ass for a year or not, this is the sound of permanent vocal damage. He's done.

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34 minutes ago, James Bond said:

In the absence of the forum I spent the last couple of days trying to process this disastrous show.

I can see what Powerage5 is saying about Axl just from the videos. I don't see a man who is lazing about or phoning it in. Instead, I see a man who just can't do it anymore. There were bits in You Could Be Mine where he was struggling to get a sound out or his voice would drop entirely. That's not even counting the skipped lines. He was literally gurgling his way through it and it did not sound healthy for his voice.

I thought he was going to pass out during the ending phrases of Jungle. He was definitely trying and it just wasn't happening. I really thought the slowed tempos would help him. I actually thought the final "it's gonna bring you down" sounded kind of mean in his natural voice, but I don't think that was intentional. His voice seemed to drop out like that several times.

Nightrain wasn't even the usual Mickey - it sounded like he was literally whispering his way through the verses.

It just seemed that anytime he tried anything other than his natural voice it was extremely marble mouth or it just didn't happen at all. I can't even crap on him. He really did look like he was trying, but I'm fearing the worst for his voice. This wasn't the usual first show weak performance. I honestly think there is some permanent damage and it's time to explore new arrangements of the songs that fit his natural voice and leave the highs for the biggest of hits only (mainly Jungle, SCOM, and Paradise City). I think he could get away with only using the "signature Axl voice" on those three.

he needs a voice lift surgery  to start.

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3 minutes ago, Jw224 said:

Axl sounded like he did because he has not bothered to sing or train at all. He had a full year to get a vocal coach and get himself back in order. What happened instead is he walked on having not sang for a year and sounded like shit. They slowed the songs down and he sounded the worst he has ever sounded trying to sing them. I really refuse to believe he is putting any effort into it and is still sounding like that. 

idk.. man is nearly 60 and his voice isn't sounding healthy. I think it's time to accept, that maybe, this is it. That is what is left of his voice. And I wasn't at the show, but it looks that he really tried, but it wasn't there. Maybe a vocal coach would help, i really don't know...

3 minutes ago, Gordon Comstock said:

 

Another name for Silkworms, judging from the demo with Bumblefoot on it.

Ahhh, tks. I'm sad to see that neither PTU or TAY made the final setlist.

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1 minute ago, ChrisMaciel said:

Good note: Axl was slimmer.

Bad note: Axl needs a vocal coach immediately. 

Every video of this gig deserves a strike. Where’s team Brazil when we most need them?

Probably busy editing the footage for the next round of Selects.

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On 7/31/2021 at 8:23 PM, prez said:

If this stadium has a hard 11PM curfew then prepare for a 22-song setlist. Sorry guys, it might be better than Mexico City but not by much.

Sorry for anyone I disappointed with my optimism. :facepalm:

Given the weak setlist and performance I'm not sure if I want to go to Metlife. If COVID wasn't a thing I still would probably just grab a cheap seat and go but not sure if this is worth the risk. Were a lot of people masking at Hershey?

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5 minutes ago, DownUnderScott said:

So the real question is... what type of beer did you get mate?

Real question indeed! Appalachian Brewing in Harrisburg is one of the only breweries in the US which does an incredibly niche German style called a Zoigl, and it’s only a seasonal beer at that. So I was really keen to check that one off my list of beer styles I haven’t tried before. Also had a decent maibock as well as an excellent barleywine at Appalachian. Then I hit a couple beer stores in the area that looked interesting. Stocked up on some stuff I can’t get in NY - some of the regional offerings from Yuengling and Yards, as well as some stuff from Einstök in Iceland and some excellent fruit beers from Hokkaido Brewing in Japan. So a very successful day trip on the beer front :) 

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Slash & Duff are the driving factors of this band now and I'm saying that as someone who ALWAYS defended Axl in the 2000s. 

I don't know if the show in Boston will have more songs or a better performance. I just wouldn't take any bets on it. 

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Wow. It seems that this could really be the end of the line for Axl, or at least for Axl as we know him since 2011. It's been downhill since 2016, to be honest. His voice sounds absolutely fried, he has no control, no power.

I honestly think he overdid it with AC/DC and the endless touring. I hope he has the clarity to take a step back and consider tuning down or reworking his approach to his songs.

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Just now, Pedrolg said:

Wow. It seems that this could really be the end of the line for Axl, or at least for Axl as we know him since 2011. It's been downhill since 2016, to be honest. His voice sounds absolutely fried, he has no control, no power.

I honestly think he overdid it with AC/DC and the endless touring. I hope he has the clarity to take a step back and consider tuning down or reworking his approach to his songs.

Giving his best for AC/DC + being lazy for GN'R + firing his vocal coach. 

Just now, RussTCB said:

I say this with zero sarcasm but I REALLY wanted to be wrong :(

Yeah, me too. I was so positive because of the Hard School soundcheck. 

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wasnt able to access this site so figured surely something cool happened... found the set list somewhere else and saw it was the same with one new cover (surprise) and when i finally get to log on.. this lol fan f'n tastic 

just set up a permanent greatest hits residency in vegas or call it quits already

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It really hurts to say this, but I think he should retire to a studio. I'd gladly purchase instrumental soundtracks composed by him, or any endeavour he chose to pursue thereafter. It just really sounds like live music is hurting him, and hurting him bad. We had some cool comebacks, 2006, 2010, 2016, but we can't expect that every time. His singing style is, and always has been, dangerous for the vocal chords. We should be happy we got this long with them all.

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Here’s the thing: I’ll give Axl the benefit of the doubt that it was the first show, the mix/mics were bad etc.

But after being a fan of the band for 30+ years and seeing them many times…I can’t take the repetition of the shows.

Not just the setlists, but for me it’s the fucking solos. People can say all they want “I love the solos!” But just look around at a show. 90% of the crowd sits down. They always did, even during the peak years of the band. They were ALWAYS the worst part of the show. I love RQ. Love NT. The fucking solos are torture and kill the momentum. I can’t deal with that anymore. Especially in RQ when it’s the SAME GODDAMN SOLO with the mouth harp!

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38 minutes ago, Jw224 said:

Axl sounded like he did because he has not bothered to sing or train at all. He had a full year to get a vocal coach and get himself back in order. What happened instead is he walked on having not sang for a year and sounded like shit. They slowed the songs down and he sounded the worst he has ever sounded trying to sing them. I really refuse to believe he is putting any effort into it and is still sounding like that. If he really is training and putting effort in (which I think is highly unlikely) then it's probably time to stop. 

I realize they have different vocal styles but Rob Halford was nearly a decade older in 2018/19 with Judas Priest and he sounded the best he has in decades.

They played a good mix of new material, the hits, and even stuff deep in their catalog that hadn't been performed in 30/40 years or sometimes ever.

That band is a model for how you should go about things while being active for 50 years. And yeah it sucks that some of the classic members aren't there but they still rock.

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Bruce Dickinson is another. He literally sounds better after throat cancer than a couple of the preceding tours (which were still performed at a high level anyways).

Brian Johnson was crazy pitchy when he performed with the Foo Fighters a couple months ago but he still sounded like Brian Johnson, and that's a 73 year old deaf guy.

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