Jump to content

Guns N' Roses concert review


Recommended Posts

Hammerstein Ballroom

5/12/06, 5/14/06

Rocky. Lance Armstrong. The 2004 Boston Red Sox. Colonial America. They all had their detractors; they all triumphed over them. Perhaps the same can be said for a long-dormant rock band that, save for a handful of one-off shows, an ill-fated tour in 2002 and a song on a 2000 movie soundtrack, has not performed or released original material in roughly 13 years. By most counts, their career should be over, but judging from audience reaction at the first two nights of their four-night stint at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom, the final chapter in the GN'R saga remains unwritten.

Sold-out audiences crowded into the mid-size venue to witness the resurrection of the group largely defined by mythic, and now reclusive, frontman Axl Rose. Unearthed at Hammerstein, he appeared to be as comfortable as ever, delivering powerful vocal performances on GN'R classics like "Welcome to the Jungle," "Sweet Child o' Mine" and "Nightrain." It's clear that either Rose had been practicing hard for this moment or he's not lost much of the swagger that earned him such well-deserved notoriety nearly 20 years ago. In fact, if you closed your eyes during these performances, it wasn't hard to imagine that it was 1988 all over again (assuming you weren't in diapers, of course). Upon pointing this out to the concert attendee directly to my right, who happened to be former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach, he succinctly replied, "Yeah, but this is 2006 and this is f*cking rock!"

Guns N' Roses now sport a full lineup with no less than three guitar players, the latest in the rotating cast being Ron Thal, a.k.a. "Bumblefoot." While it wasn't what you might expect to see, these relative unknowns proved capable of integrating new standouts like "Madagascar" and "Better" in with the old classics. Large stretches of shred time were afforded these guitarists not named Slash, but it was the sing-along staples of the GN'R songbook that stole the show — a fact that an impressed Rose acknowledged was keeping him from hearing himself on occasion.

Other highlights include near-flawless vocal performances of "Patience" and well-executed duets with the aforementioned Mr. Bach on both nights. On the second night, Axl thanked Sebastian at length for helping to get his voice in order for the show and went so far as to comment that he's "the man who saved my life."

Support for all four scheduled shows came from rapidly-rising U.K. metal outfit Bullet For My Valentine, a group whose sound is a refreshing, on-point mix of originality and influence from acts like Iron Maiden, Metallica and the headliners themselves.

After a rousing, confetti-laden version of "Paradise City" closed the show to a raucous ovation from the crowd, it became clear that Axl Rose's destiny is to be the frontman of Guns N' Roses. And as with all resurrections, the specter remains: While more improbable band reunions have taken place in the past, die-hard fans will always be checking the wings backstage for a glimpse of that tall black top hat.

In the meantime, if it sounds like Guns N' Roses and rocks like Guns N' Roses…

Link: http://www.blender.com/guide/reviews.aspx?id=3886

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...