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Toronto Star Review


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I thought this review in the Toronto Star was kinda funny -- especially the comments about Buckethead.

Here's the link:  http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentSe...ol=969483191630

Dec. 1, 2002. 01:00 AM


A bucket of sad nostalgia

GNR a cover band of its former self


A white-trash rock 'n' roll howler nonpareil, the mercurial — and, by many reports, raving mad — W. Axl Rose once had the most respected, successful and feared American rock band on the planet behind him.

Guns n' Roses' savagely dissolute 1987 debut, Appetite For Destruction, was a modern-day classic with an unexpected mainstream impact comparable to that which Nirvana's Nevermind would have four years later. And even though the whirlwind of booze, drugs, violence and Caligulan debauchery that clung to the Gunners wherever they went established them as an all-too-real embodiment of rock mythology and speedily ushered in their ruin, they were also a far more complex and ambitious unit than the outward shambles suggested.

Axl's single-minded drive to turn everything he does into an indelible statement for the ages, however, lent 1991's perfectly decent Use Your Illusion twin-pack just a bit too much pomp and bloat, eventually sent the entire original membership packing and is generally considered the reason why GNR hasn't made a proper album in more than a decade. It's also why, after nine years off the road — seven of those spent in the studio with an unstable rogues' gallery of collaborators — Rose has mounted a new Guns n' Roses tour named for a missing-in-action new record, Chinese Democracy, that no one ever really expects to hear.

There wasn't much progress on that front evident in Friday night's GNR performance at the Air Canada Centre, anyway. All the time spent prepping Chinese Democracy and drafting the perfect 21st-century Guns n' Roses lineup — a seven-man affair that includes former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, avant-guitar freak Buckethead, drummer Brian "Brain" Mantia, irksomely showboating Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck and Use Your Illusion-era vet Dizzy Reed on keyboards — has apparently culminated in three new tunes Rose deems fit for public airing and the world's most proficient Appetite For Destruction cover band.

Setting an appropriately old-school tone, Rose and Co. took the stage 45 minutes behind schedule after placating 14,000-plus potential rioters — steeled for a no-show like Vancouver's ill-fated Nov.7 tour opener — with a parade of bare breasts (and one brawl) on the big screens. And from the first jagged chords of "Welcome To The Jungle" to the consummate arena-rocking anthemics of "Paradise City" two hours later, in the past they remained.

Quite competently, it must be said. All but two Appetite standards made the cut, with "Nightrain" and "Out Ta Get Me" attaining most of their old ferocity and "Sweet Child O' Mine" its rough-hewn sensitivity. "November Rain" was an epic mimic, with all three guitarists contributing to a reasonable facsimile of Slash's mighty guitar solo. "Patience" had banger couples swaying and holding hands. And the stout, 40-ish Rose could still hit most of the high notes between mad dashes to the Teleprompters, even if he often relied on Stinson to hold the notes.

More evidence of forward momentum, though, might silence the critics Axl derided from the stage for calling his material "dated." Or maybe not: The new "Chinese Democracy" was sub-"You Could Be Mine" riffing scrabbling for a hook, while two endless slow numbers in the Use Your Illusion vein — one unveiled at this year's MTV Music Awards and accompanied Friday by footage of Martin Luther King, Jr. — silenced the otherwise supportive crowd during fruitless quests for melodic direction and A Deeper Meaning. Perhaps Rose is right. Perhaps the new stuff isn't ready yet.

Either way, Axl's failure to come in hard with a solid barrage of fresh material left Guns n' Roses, Mk. II looking a waste of potential.

For all the new band's lofty credentials, only the John Zorn-approved Buckethead bothered to do anything more than energetically emulate the source material.

He's a bizarre, masked entity who was given license to mangle Star Wars scores, pass out toys and canter about the stage like the offspring of Jason Voorhees and Billy Bob Thornton's character in Sling Blade during a surreal mid-show guitar-solo/performance-art segment. His impossibly incongruous presence onstage beside Rose and his mismatched band mates consistently lent the night a kind of tragic weirdness that reached a fever pitch when his ghoulish image was superimposed over King's on the video screens, and made the whole affair far more interesting than it probably should have been.

Probably not what Rose had in mind. No frontman, after all, wants to be upstaged on his own "comeback" tour by a guy wearing an overturned KFC bucket on his head.

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The guy that wrote this review is obviously not able to read between the lines :'(  GNR could not tour with all new stuff after not having anything for 11 years.

Axl is smart taking the tour in stages. I am almost sure that the new album will be out early 2003 with a bang.

This tour is about getting the hype up for "Chinese Democracy" - the album

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Axl is smart taking the tour in stages. I am almost sure that the new album will be out early 2003 with a bang.

This tour is about getting the hype up for "Chinese Democracy" - the album

I totally agree with that. Or at least I hope...........

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