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Major review of Roskilde: "Live and Let Live"


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Live and let live

- An exuberant Axl Rose triumphs at Roskilde

* * * * * (5 out of 5)

Roskilde Festival

June 29th 2006

Guns N' Roses

Orange Stage, 21:00

By: Rainfox

While rainclouds had threatened the merry festival goers all day, the sun would finally burn them away just before dusk. Expectations were sky high as Guns N' Roses were set to kick off the famous Roskilde Festival. Not only were they coming across the pond with five years of wild raves from the serious music press in tow, it had been 13 years since they last visited Denmark.

Taking the stage around a quarter to ten, Guns N' Roses 'Version 2.0' were greeted by a roaring 70,000 strong crowd, as the festival lapped up the last rays of an orange-yellow sunset. Guitarist Robin Finck teased with the opening notes of "Welcome to the Jungle" and soon a very familiar wail sliced the evening air: "DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE FUCK YOU ARE?".

The sound was brilliant, crisp and clean, with perfect volume for the massive grounds that almost circle the orange tent of the stage. Frequently, Orange Stage has had sound problems. Not tonight - it was crystal.

And there he was, this mercurial frontman, this Howard Hughes of Hard Rock, this Ayatollah of rock n' rolla. Axl Rose. Looking fit and happy, with pulled back braided hair, a nicely groomed goatee and a rather impressive six-pack for a 44-year old, he started the show in top gear and never let up. Darting across the stage not missing a note, you might have needed to pinch yourself to realize it was 2006 and not 1992. The voice was alive.

Drummer Brian Mantia was home with his pregnant wife and substitute Frank Ferrer let know he meant business. As the band ripped into the punkish "It's So Easy", coupled with bassist Tommy Stinson and guitarist Richard Fortus, they easily (pun intended) made a case for the tightest rhythm section in all of rock n' roll. Straight on to "Mr. Brownstone", that had the audience swaying in unison like a wave.

Ofcourse, there is no Slash in Guns N' Roses these days and there hasn't been for ten years. In fact, this so called 'new' line-up has been together longer now than the old one. Much has been made of Rose keeping the band name and the media unanimously seem to agree that he alone is the bad guy. Because you can't carry an almost new line-up under the same name, see.

What? Okay, let's see then. Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Toto, KISS, Marillion, Iron Maiden, Mötorhead, AC/DC. To name but a few. There's even a new guitarist and bass player in The Rolling Stones for those that really know their trivia. Hell, Black Sabbath made albums and toured without Ozzy. Remember?

Most people don't want to.

They want to give Axl Rose a hard time.

That's headlines, that's easy street in journalism and that's money in the bank. This however also fueled by the main man happily living under the papparazzi radar for the last 13 years, and not giving interviews, not allowing photographers up front at gigs and not - basically - giving a single whistle. They hate that. They really do hate that.

There's a lot of dumbfounded and blatantly ignorant malice involved. On the path to some kind of constructive critisism the Danish media veered off course, with lame and laughable reviews not only getting songs and technicalities wrong, but focusing on Rose's attire (and getting it wrong even), and some accusing him of having no voice anymore. That's hateful, mindboggling lies. Idiocy. Beyond stupidity.

Well, isn't it fabulous that Rose could care less then?

Amused and in seemingly great spirits this evening, Rose was talkative and made a few (quite hilarious) comments about his recent arrest - and blackmailed confession - for a scuffle with a "rent-a-cop" in Stockholm two days earlier. A situation that began with the Swedish breakfast media claiming Rose was out of his mind and hit a woman - and then, days later in smaller writing, ended on Rose having an altercation with a security guard (no woman suddenly) and being arrested for this alone. Rose then admitted to public disturbance to get out of jail, as the band had shows in Oslo and Roskilde in mere days and the Swedish authorities can hold you for 72 hours. Spin that machine, Reuters. The Danish media naturally drank it up. The first part only.

But Rose was in good spirits tonight. Clearly in awe of playing this historic festival for the first time, he talked a little about its fabled history and charity proceeds. He also managed to display some lighthearted and needed self-irony. His mesmerizing voice intact, all eyes followed Axl's every move. But it was clear from the very beginning that he proudly also wanted to showcase his new comrades.

That brought both highs and lows. Keyboardist Dizzy Reed ran elegantly and passionately through a wonderful rendition of David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" that had the crowd joining in. Even though Reed was wearing a Danish national team soccer jersey. Denmark didn't qualify for the World Cup.

While the band is exquisite rock n' roll to the ears, it's a circus extravaganza to the eyes. This becomes especially apparent when guitarist Ron Thal's introduction (by Rose) is straight out of Star Wars, and his foot-shaped bee guitar (go figure) breaks between his hands mid-solo - a tapping hell - on the left side of the stage. Not intentional. But it could have been. Later, he would redeem himself with a poignant instrumental of "Don't Cry" as 70,000 throats subbed for Rose.

By the sixth song, a refined, bluesy back-to-basics "Knocking on Heavens Door" with a lavish vocal from a game Rose, the crowd hits a frenzy. To constant chants of "Guns! And! Roses!", Axl comments with a shit-eating grin: "Hey, do that at all the other concerts here."

From a distance, the new band looks like a weird bunch of collectible action figures. As a musical unit, they exhibit a rare feel and musicianship. The latter blaringly obvious to anyone who's ever remotely played an instrument. Lead axe-man Finck is the vortex and the Slash-replacement. He's got an unadulterated hard-nosed but soft-souled style of play and nowhere is it more apparent than in the new songs. "Better" is built on a gorgeous, classic GN'R riff and it almost slipped right in alongside the old warhorses tonight. The title song to the upcoming album - "Chinese Democracy" - is a grungy and punchy, little nugget. These tunes went over well.

There were pauses between some songs, as the band either regrouped or - as they're known to do - chose the next song. Setlists are a fluctuating thing in the world of Guns N' Roses. This would sometimes make for some annoying breaks and for more fodder to the media conspiracy theorists - is Axl out of breath? Doing coke? Changing clothes? Yes, all of those things. Now shut up.

The streetwise rocker "Out Ta Get Me", one of many songs tonight from their 1987 debut album "Appetite for Destruction", could have been the highlight if not for the song that followed. On this beautiful Summer evening with a picture-perfect sunset, the best was yet to come. From stage left and on wheels.

In rolls the grand piano and Axl Rose himself, smiling ear to ear, orchestrates a stunning "November Rain". Simply stunning. "This is a really long song... those lighters get really fucking hot don't they?", he acknowledges before the outro, the crowd going delirious.

Hot indeed. What a show. While some of the classics were played with grit and heart, others were stretched and greased a bit. Suited them well. "Nightrain" sounded to its name - a monstrous freight train - and showcloser "Paradise City" was more organic and convivial than in the old band version. This band is as close-knit as they come.

When Fortus and Finck duelled out a brave rendition of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful", it was exactly the kind of both surprising - and intelligent - art-rockeau fun that personifies this new line-up. It also makes any form of reunion with the old members seem irrefragable.

This was a truly triumphant night for Guns N' Roses and the Roskilde Festival. Even more so for the main man, who's constant devilish smile maybe said it best after all.

An anniversary of sorts for this reporter - my tenth Roskilde Festival since 1989 - I have never experienced a greater vibe in front of the ruthless Orange Stage. Not even Metallica in 2003. Not even Aerosmith in 1994. This stage normally eats bands for a living. Guns N' Roses looked right at home there and for just well over 2 hours, they brought their own little rock n' roll jungle to Roskilde.

Set list:

Welcome To The Jungle

It's So Easy

Mr. Brownstone

Live And Let Die

Sweet Child O'Mine

Knockin' On Heavens Door

You Could Be Mine

The Blues

Out Ta Get Me

November Rain


My Michelle




Chinese Democracy

Paradise City

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Nice said. Good review. You said it.

Fuck the moron media. Fucked up wanna be and like in the Get in the Ring song, this is for the prick of a "reporter" from EkstraBladet Thomas Treo tom@eb.dk:

What you pissed off cuz your dad(and Axl) gets more pussy than you?

Fuck you

Suck my fuckin' dick

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It was a great show!

A couple of long solos, but that's just Guns n' Roses for you. It's always been like that.

Have any of you other Danish guys read the review from Politiken? I've always had a problem with Erik Jensen, but this time he really pissed me off. I don't know if he where actually at the show or if he just got some notes from a guy on acid at the Ballroom Stage (World music etc.).

He claims that he could hear what the person next to him thought, cause the sound was terribly low?! Ahm hello!? I couldn't hear anything on my left ear after the show. Maybe Mr. Erik Jensen has been to too many Manowar concerts?

He bitches about Axl's constant "costume change" and the long solos (he's all about the pore Big Band (as he calls it) just needs to kill some time by jamming cause Axl's not interested in the audience or the band). Also he missed to find out, that they've covered Beautiful before etc. This is another clear example of a reporter who don't know anything about what he's talking about. The costume changes and the long solos are a part of the whole Gn'R thing. Wonder if Mr. Erik Jensen has ever seen the Use Your Illusion Tour video from Tokyo or Paris.

Of course he bitches about Axl being late - Name 1 show where Gn'R showed up and played on time! As a reporter it's of course extra bad to have to wait longer - You have to work a little later and you miss the shrimp buffet back stages :drevil:

There are a number of other things I could mention, but I'm too pissed of to write them :fuckyou: OOh, he also bitches about November Rain - It's was sooo long and sleepy that it sounded like Elton John on sleeping pills.

Also that Axl doesn't care for his audience and stuff. However, Axl was talking and joking and being self-critic all night. A really really great evening!

As I've been saying to all people who asks me if the show was as bad as the reviews claims: "You can't have a reporter who hates Axl Rose and everything he stands for review the show!".

Sorry, just had to blow of some steam there!


Edited by andefeldt
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It was a fuckin' great show!!! It was like multiple orgasm - for over 2 hours!!! Axl - oh my god! - he's just as eatable as 13 years ago - gotta love him!

The next day when i passed by orange stage - i coldn't help myself - i started cryin'

Can't wait til Oslo rock3


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  • 2 weeks later...

Great review. Best thing I've read in a long time. I couldn't agree more about the "easy street in journalism" part, that really pisses me off.

A lot of my friends were at Roskilde and all of them (even those who're not die hard fans) said it was an amazing show.

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