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Here's a review that appeared in the Chicago Tribune today. I know some of you aren't thrilled about reading critics' reviews, but the Trib is a reputable paper.

Guns N' Roses lacks old swagger

By Greg Kot, Tribune rock critic.

20 November 2002

Chicago Tribune

Copyright 2002, Chicago Tribune. All Rights Reserved.

When last seen on a Chicago stage more than 10 years ago, Guns N' Roses was the biggest rock band in the world. But they slinked out of town like fugitives, blowing off a second show the next night so singer Axl Rose could outrun an arrest warrant in connection with instigating a riot at a St. Louis concert the year before.

Some fans might have considered Monday's concert in Allstate Arena as an overdue makeup, though Guns N' Roses is a much different band. Long gone are Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, who had replaced original drummer Steven Adler. All that's left from the famed lineup is Rose and keyboardist Dizzy Reed.

Otherwise this was a patchwork of the semi-famous: bassist Tommy Stinson, in his plaid Replacements get-up, and guitarist Robin Finck, looking every inch the fashionably post-industrial Nine Inch Nails refugee, plus Richard Fortus (Love Spit Love), Chris Pitman (Replicants) and Brian Mantia (Primus). The most unlikely addition had to be guitarist Buckethead, who looked like he was discovered in a fast-food trash bin, with his "Halloween"-style mask and headgear large enough to accommodate a family-size serving of extra crispy chicken.

Certainly the octet couldn't be faulted for its instrumental chops; Buckethead in particular is a marvel of nimble finger-work, a fluid guitarist who took a run at everything from mutant bluegrass to intergalactic surf during his solo.

But the new GNR isn't yet a band so much as a committee on retainer, lacking the Gunners' unifying slouch and swagger. The original band sent the arena-rock lovin' world into a tizzy with their merger of Aerosmith's bluesy, bawdy boogie and the New York Dolls' glammed-up recklessness. They were the last gasp for a bankrupt concept: boozing, brawling, womanizing and main-lining themselves into rock-star oblivion.

It couldn't last, and it didn't.

By 1993, after one landmark album ("Appetite for Destruction"), the Gunners fell apart and Rose all but disappeared, an alienated Midwestern kid who had managed to alienate everyone in his band. Under Rose's direction, GNR embraced show-biz excess with female backing singers, horns, power ballads and high-concept videos. The once raunchy Sunset Strip interlopers had gone pro.

It was this bloated version of GNR that the reclusive Rose tried to revive Monday, long on fireworks and gaudy visuals. The sound was huge, and sometimes the dreadlocked singer's voice lacked sufficient power to cut through it. Rose sprinted from side to side on the two-tiered stage or broke into his undulating snake dance while grasping the microphone stand, and his Wicked Witch of the West shriek occasionally melted away the years.

The set list was heavy on the band's standards, from the opening "Welcome to the Jungle" to the confetti-coated encore "Paradise City," with the 10-minute "November Rain" as the midset centerpiece. "Rain" remains an iconic song in the band's repertoire, Rose at the grand piano fighting for a doomed love, but it now sounds like a melodramatic stab at mimicking the multi-part epics of '70s rock.

It was impossible to argue with the signature Slash riffs and solos in "Sweet Child O' Mine," expertly replicated by Buckethead and Finck. A handful of songs from the years-in-the-making comeback album, "Chinese Democracy" (tentatively set for release next year), revealed few new wrinkles; the only concession to the '90s was a drum loop pumping beneath one tune, otherwise Rose's head was still swimming in classic-rock grandeur.

Missing from the new mix was the punchy songwriting of the Gunners' secret weapon, Stradlin, the pithy riff-rock of "Dust N' Bones" and "Double Talkin' Jive." Slash's penchant for excessive solos was once balanced by Stradlin's concise riffs. The current band has no such give-and-take. It more resembles an efficient arena-rock machine or well-rehearsed corporation. But can the control freak who runs the show keep his act together? Rose offered only one hint as to the fragile state of his psyche:

"Psychologically, you could consider this a reunion tour," he told the audience. "Because I've managed to find enough pieces of my mind in order to be with you here tonight."

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If ya think the Trib review was tough, you should have seen the Sun Times garbage review >:(.

Here is my view on the show. Keep in mind, mine is the perspective of a 44YO fan. One who has been waiting and watching 8).

Here is my take on the good, the bad and the ugly. 1st, let's get the weeny awards out of the way. How about that guy in CKWhatever. Sorry, that mouth and band did not deserve to share the stage with GNR. The mouthy guy with the mic gets the 1st weeny award :P.

Next weeny award goes to some of the fans. I can only imagine that some of the KO's were justified with the weenies that were pissing on the seats, throwing garbage to the main floor, they deserved what they got. If those were the ones that got b@#ch slapped around. I guess I can only hope for that kinda justice ;D.

Mixmaster Mike: What can I say? The best I can do is to say he is not my style. I really don't see how he fits the GNR profile either, but that is not my call. I really think Axel could have picked a better warmup. Hmmm! Perhaps Aerosmith could have opened the show (dreamer).

I don't understand all the BS about GNR not being GNR cus of four walkaways. I heard them, watched them and as far as I'm concerned it was GNR. Rose and company kicked tail on all bases. To bad the Arena acoustics suck so bad. It has always been a reverb chamber. Nothing can sound great in that venue. If perfect sound is what you want, fire up your box and stay home. The visuals and the sound was amazing. The new G-men WERE F-ING AMAZING as well 8).

Who cares if one of the G-men wants to wear a chicken bucket and mask. Nobody cared when Kiss did it. If I don't have a problem with the bucket, why should the Trib and Times. I guess thats why both those papers turn yellow so fast. It's the byass evident in all their reporting. I call it yellow journalism. It's rampant in Chi Town :P.

More BS was written about Axel's voice not being the same. Who cares? It's still a great voice and he still brings amazing energy to GNR's performance. Steven Tylers Voice is not the same, Mick's voice is not the same, Robert Plants voice is not the same. Bottom line is that age changes physical characteristics in everyone. Axels voice is still great. I say Bravo! ;D

Here's the wrap-up

Trib and Sun Times- Yellow journalism at it's finest.

CKWhatever-Thumbs down (grow the f@#*k up)

MMM- Neutral

Allstate Arena-Sucks (we knew it going in)

Fans- Weenies(not all but it only takes a few)

GNR- Great, Stupendous, fantastic, memorable!

I hope GNR can hold it togather. 15 years ago I was certain this band was destined for greatness. They achieved it. There is much more left for them to do. My advice is "let go of the past and create new greatness" Don't let the naysayers hold you back!

Axel, YOU DA MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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... I hope GNR can hold it togather. 15 years ago I was certain this band was destined for greatness. They achieved it. There is much more left for them to do. My advice is "let go of the past and create new greatness" Don't let the naysayers hold you back!

Axel, YOU DA MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Great finale Kevin.  8)

I have to agree.  I'm looking forward to Axl and his band ripping up the charts and bringing REAL rock back to the music world again. And I hope they continue making music for us for years to come.

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Not many papers want to give these guys a positive review , what gives  ???  They are a quality band with great players and songs  , maybe not as much stage presence as the old guys ( take that for whatever you want cause I haven't seen em live yet ) is it because they start late or maybe beause they are so strange I don't know maybe the stiffs who work at these Newspapers just don't get it like we do . If it's technical problems well then how in the hell can they possibly say the band put on a bad show that's not their fault .

 Peace GnR Nation  8)

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