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Albany Newspaper Review


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For what it's worth, here's a review that appeared Thursday in the Times-Union newspaper in Albany, N.Y.

The link:    http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=77507&category=POPREVIEWS&BCCode=REV&newsdate=11/29/2002

By GREG HAYMES, Staff writer

First published: Thursday, November 28, 2002

Pop/Rock music review

ALBANY -- Welcome back to the jungle.

Or at least the back yard badly in need of mowing.

Guns N' Roses are back -- sort of. On this comeback tour -- their first in about a decade -- vocalist Axl Rose is back with a whole new army of hired Guns. His new crew features mysterioso gonzo guitarist Buckethead (who does indeed sport a KFC bucket on his head over a white mask), as well as ex-members of Nine Inch Nails, the Replacements, Primus and the Psychedelic Furs.

The band -- bulging with the excess of three guitarists as well as a pair of keyboardists, launched into their Pepsi Arena show on Wednesday night with the predictable anthem, "Welcome to the Jungle," as Rose roared through his fierce call to action.

The crowd, which had waited impatiently for more than 75 minutes after the second of two opening acts wrapped up their performance, finally had something to cheer about at 10:30 p.m., but let's face it, the current GNR incarnation bears little resemblance to the old powerhouse.

GNR was once a ferocious rock 'n' roll machine, seething with raw, primal energy. But the lineup that took the stage on Wednesday was a far cry from the band's heyday.

Clad in baggy pants and an oversized New York Rangers hockey jersey to offset his long braids, Rose unleashed his trademark howl on old favorites like "It's So Easy" and "Mr. Brownstone" as the lyrics scrolled by on his TelePrompTer amid a seemingly endless barrage of videos, special effects lighting and nonstop pyrotechnics.

This wasn't rock 'n' roll. It was, in fact, a parody of rock 'n' roll, and the pompous, overblown rendition of Paul McCartney's James Bond theme, "Live and Let Die," cinched the deal.

Maverick hip-hop DJ Mixmaster Mike -- best known as turntablist for the Beastie Boys -- manned the wheels of steel for a 45-minute set that careened from Led Zeppelin to Gary Numan, keeping the beat pumping hard. Sporting a blue "Tableist" T-shirt and -- of course -- numerous chains around his neck, MMM was bookended by a pair of inflatable alien robots with constantly flailing arms. Close-ups of his ever-in-motion hands were psychedlicized on the big overhead video screens, but still failed to generate much excitement. In fact, most GNR fans took advantage of his performance to visit the concession stands.

Openers CKY plowed through a half-hour of nu-metal sonic sludge to warm up the evening, belching and plugging MTV's "Jackass." While the Pennsylvania quartet cranked up the requisite volume, they failed to generate much heat, hitting their high-water mark with the gurgling "Inhuman Creation Station," as guitarist Chad I. Ginsburg whipped through Pete Townshend windmills clad in a G.G. Allin T-shirt.


With Mixmaster Mike and CKY

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday Where: Pepsi Arena, South Pearl Street, Albany

Musical highlights: The opening "Welcome to the Jungle"

The crowd: Approximately 10,000 fans, more than most of the shows on GNR's comeback tour

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