The Sandman Posted August 12, 2006 Share Posted August 12, 2006 (edited) The Wait Begins… Review of the 30th July 2006 by Chris Hussey. The work contained within this is copyrighted to C.Hussey, and may be used and displayed only with the author’s previous consent.Gunners,This is Sandman's review, sorry it's taken so long, but I went on holiday straight after the gig, and have just got back. The following review will detail my experiences in depth, including song by song breakdown. Starting from somewhere around the time that the European tour was announced… let it commence:I felt nothing but elation learning of the ‘mini-tour’ of America, 4 dates at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Whilst small, it seemed to be a precursor, at least, a warm up before something larger – a full blown tour. The presale for the most part was a success, despite a bunch of touts getting many tickets. On the whole, 4 superb nights of music and merriment went without a hitch, however we did learn that the Gunners were thoroughly unprepared. Sebastian Bach having to advise Axl to see a vocal coach after revealing the explosive frontman had been having vocal problems, and Bumblefoot seemingly appointed merely weeks before the shows. Despite this, the crowd was thoroughly entertained, and the thirst of Gunners quenched – for the time being. Mere days later, European tour speculation arose, and then finally, the announcement that the Gunners were to tour! Dates were added frequently, and with intense desire, people queued and waited for tickets and news of their city being booked. The list of dates grew and grew, and much like Pinocchio’s nose, showed no sign of stopping. All good things came to an end however, and the dates were then ‘finalised’ Gn’R style – selling tickets without a Gn’R member or part of management giving a comprehensive and final ‘Yes’ to the go-ahead. The pre-orders, as with the Ballroom shows, came about for the ‘UK and Europe Tour 2006’ – Something I still find hilarious, the UK being part of Europe and all. I’m not entirely sure whether or not you could pre-order for most European shows, but I’m going by the precident (until otherwise informed) set by the start and end legs of the tour.I’d been devastated when I could not make the Hammersmith (London) show, and Download to boot. I felt I’d missed the boat, and thus missed the chance of seeing Gn’R on home soil. I set about making plans and enquiring about possibly travelling abroad to see them – a risky choice with Axl’s temperament it must be said. Salvation came when the final leg was announced, and I set about pre-ordering tickets for the 30th July, to see Guns N’ Roses live at the Wembley Arena, getting one for myself and my Uncle, a fellow Gn’R fan – thankfully paid for by my parents as a birthday present, so – cheers parents!However, to merely go to the show it required a lot of organisation, as I was supposed to be in France for that date (and the two days before, and many subsequently after). My Grandparents had wanted to come out and join the rest of the family in France for a proper family holiday, but had no idea when they would travel out. I managed to organise it so that after seeing Gn’R, I would travel to France with my Grandparents in the early morning, and touchwood, everything would go to plan. It helped my Grandparents, as it gave them the incentive to both come, and to come with me – and of course it helped me massively, so that I could go on holiday! As all other methods of travel to France were either booked, or closed to me. With the tickets booked, for both France and Gn’R, and everything else in between organised, all I had to do was wait for the tickets to arrive and to enjoy Gn’R Live.Just a quick note, but this was going to be my first ever visual gig (bar Placebo, which I caught an hour of in some silly little English town – but I don’t really count that)The dates, whilst not exactly flying by, ticked over at a leisurely pace. Incidents occurred now and again which did make me very nervous as to whether Gn’R would even make it to the end of the tour: Axl’s arrest; the Newcastle incident; and the various other affrays with crowd and security. But, with no word as to how well (or badly) the tour was going from the Gn’R Camp, the ball kept on rolling.Roughly, a fortnight before the event (give or take a few days) the tickets arrived! The reality of it – me, seeing Gn’R – was drawing ever closer, and though that enthralled and excited the Sandman, and left an eagerness that just waited to be quenched.The day came when the rest of my family travelled to France, and I slept round at mate’s places till the day of the event. My Uncle, and my compatriot for the day, arrived in good time (around 3pm BST), despite managing to miss a couple of turn off’s now and again. He made a safe journey, and the speed at which he arrived allowed us longer to get ready. Equipped with sandwiches (3 ham, and 3 chicken), some cartons of apple juice, a bottle of water, a pair of Debonair Binoculars, the tickets, directions and money, and proudly wearing my only clean (and fitting) Gn’R shirt, we left for the station. We were travelling on the Metropolitan line (although to those not from England, that’ll mean nothing), spending a decent amount on rail tickets (although not as much as some people…) in order to get to the venue. Catching a train at 4:10pm BST, less than 10 minutes after we arrived at the station (not bad for the Met Line I must say), we arrived at the venue at roughly 10 minutes to 5pm BST. Backtrack a little bit, as it didn’t take 40 minutes to actually get to Wembley (factoring walking from the station to venue – although it wasn’t that long), I was overwhelmed at the size of the Arena – even from a distance. Around it is pretty rubbish, but it’s a sprawling light coloured brick metropolis, and I wish I’d brought a camera (which interestingly, was said to be prohibited on the pamphlets and tickets – yet was sold INSIDE the arena – very hypocritical). Actually walking to the arena, there were so many touts, which was sucky in my opinion, whilst it didn’t make that much of a difference inside, as it was basically fully capacity. A chunk was blocked off (S1), probably because no one would want tickets there. Few space here and there, and the standing area was packed (probably as far as health and safety would allow).So, we’re basically standing outside the arena, and watching giant sprinklers fire jets of water several metres into the air, whilst looking for our place of entry, the North-West of the building. We start queuing at about 5pm BST, and were roughly 30th in line in our particular queue. The queue started shifting roughly half an hour later, and we were in Wembley Arena at just past 5:35 BST, where I got the frisking of my lifetime (as did my dinner, escaping with one squashed ham sandwich and my bottle of water poured into a cup.). I was impressed with the extent of the search taken upon my person, so – good job Wembley! Putting the contents of bottles into cups is a good idea too, but a pain in practice for carrying. I was told that they’d just remove the bottle lid (because you cannot then throw it far, and it crushes rather than rolls in an emergency – I do apologise if I now sound like a health and safety officer), but I suppose it just puts them at ease (I mean, I could’ve had a space bottle top lid stashed in my underpants, so these precautions are necessary. [Ed- Not that I did have one, nor anything else stuffed down my pants, just to clarify, some weirdos probably just read this to see if I did actually do that. Anyway, no]Anyway, we were now in Wembley Arena, and what surprised me was how clean, and how large it seemed. And, this is just the outer ring! By our entrance, there was a merchandise stand which we instantly made a beeline for, coming away with: 4 T-shirts; Lanyard (If I even got the name right); and a Wrist Band. Before actually entering the main arena, we went for a quick toilet stop, before we were led to our seats. From Rick’s text, this must’ve been around 5:45 – which made us seriously on time. We were block N10, row E and I was seat number 101. Whilst not particularly interesting, although row E, we were actually the third row, as numbers one and two are disabled seating and there was only one bloke there. Indeed, the first row was empty bar two people to my left, and even on my row and the one in front, it wasn’t really packed. We sat down and started waiting. If video surfaces, or the single picture taken on my Uncle’s camera phone is of a decent quality, you’ll see how the stage looked, but I’ll do my best to describe it. Huge (and I mean huge) speakers, suspended either side of the stage. Typical two tier Gn’R stage, with the drum-kit, Pittman’s gear and Dizzy’s gear (although his Bongos were uncovered. Which was interesting) covered in a black tarp. At the back of the stage was the screen, which was really 3 oddly shaped screens which were only used during Gn’R’s set but the projection onto them meant that the picture was broken slightly – if you understand what I mean. It was like one screen, with mini-dividers to split it into 3 screens with weird shapes – but all straight lines. The dividers and border were in an orangey/light yellow tone which was quite cool with the Gn’R logos plastered over them. I think, and that is if I recall correctly, they had Gn’R banners in the latest weird font on both sides – feel free to correct me, but I thought they had that. Blood red velvet curtains were covering most of the lighting rigs up top, although there were only a few of them to speak of. Back to the actual stage, Bach and Bullet’s gear was in front of the tier of the stage. Drum kit towards stage right, and the amps lining the front tier.During this time, several techies moved across the stage to fiddle with this and that, and at points there were ‘soundchecks’ i.e. techies coming on and playing a few notes on a guitar. Same with drums later – I didn’t note this with Bass however, probably why it kept on going wrong! With the handy binoculars, now connected to the Lanyard, I spotted Beta stage right a few times before anything had even happened. The actual arena is pretty big, but not as big as I imagined it would be. Mostly full too, ‘cept behind the band in S1, but as mentioned earlier, pretty full. After Bach was when people started filling in much more, and after Bullet it was practically full capacity – certainly near the 12,000 that it holds.Sebastian Bach was billed to start at 6:30, however when he actually came on it was closer to 7:30 (and then some). Whilst I can’t do a song by song breakdown, as I’ve got no real knowledge of this dude’s discography (although I recognised a few songs), it was all superb. Marred slightly by technical problems from the start and practically onwards on Bass, and with some problems on one of the guitar’s amps and effects, it was still a superb performance. He really managed to get the crowd going, and was humorous throughout the set. The second song was stopped due to the Bass being screwy and Bach goes something along the lines of ‘I’m really f’n sorry, but I need some f’n bass man’, these and many other witticisms and statements were really appreciated by a crowd brought to life. He had them, and he owned them. He had the crowd jumping at points, punching the air and singing back (no pun intended) to the him, all from his directions – and criticised most people on the floor and told them to ‘wake the f’up London’ on several occasions.He was headbanging constantly, and swinging his microphone round his head - not only visually impressive, but a superb feat when you are like 7 foot tall. He openly criticised the Iraq war, claiming ‘Tony Bush and George Blair – same person right?’ which got a lot of laughs, and claimed that Wembley was the best place he’d played so far: ‘We’ve played a lot of hams and a lot of f’n fields, but you guys f’n rock’. He alone was worth the entrance fee, and the band were superb. Slightly cramped towards the front of the stage as earlier described, but it made it even more electric. A guitarist either side of the stage (the guitarist on stage right roamed quite a bit though), with Bach roaming free (although with a microphone with cord) and the Bassist usually roaming behind Bach and the guitarists. Usually for solo’s, the guitarists based on the right came to the little bit that jutted out of the stage, and played on there. As aforementioned too, the screen wasn’t used, and thus the binoculars were very handy. During one song, the guitarist on the right (and I do apologise for not knowing their names, but something I now will endeavour to do – learn them) had an acoustic guitar which was attached to a stand and microphone – an interesting arrangement which I’ve never seen before. Especially since a techie had to keep on giving him back his electric every so often. Anyway, Bach absolutely ruled. I was incredibly impressed, and I’m now going to delve into his music (and he said that they were working on their new album). His admiration for Axl is intense, he thanked him several times during the set and said how awesome he was and how happy he was to open for them. Superb performance, a real showman. Bach’s group played for about an hour, finishing just before half 8 (pm and BST). Another wait then began, for the second warm up group, Bullet, with my right ear quite deaf. Whilst no-one really cares, unless you do surveys for ‘Picnics at Guns N’ Roses Concerts Monthly’, we ate a couple of sandwiches each (and found to my delight some mustard in the Ham Sandwiches), and drank a carton of apple juice each. During the hour long wait for Bullet, techies changed the drum kit and moved this and that for the Bullet boys. Before they came on at 9:30pm BST, the techies unrolled a ‘Bullet For My Valentine’ backdrop – presumably to cover the screen that wasn’t in use at this moment in time. If anyone wants to know, the BFMV backdrop was their name (in the handwriting-esque scrawl) with the title of their new album (The Poison) intertwined. It may even be the cover of their album, but up until that point the only bullets that I was interested in were how many I had left in my weapon in most first person shooters. Bullet For My Valentine were a surprise, a friend I trusted said that they were pretty good, and went in believing that. They did surpass expectations, but performing admirably. I admit it, I’m converted – another fan for the Bullet Army. They must’ve played for about forty-five minutes, but the problem was for the most part you couldn’t tell where one song started and another ended, because they lead into one another for the most part. It was played very fast for effect, but sadly an effect that didn’t work. Their latest single, the one about tears or whatever it was, was played well. That was one of, if not the only one introduced. Only problem was that you could hardly hear the bass at all. The bassist also sort of positioned himself in a half-crouch reminiscent of someone relieving themselves behind a bush, whilst rocking from time to time. It didn’t look good. The singer spoke now and again, and seemed to say ‘f**k’ every other word, so it was hard to grasp what he was saying, something like: “We’re just a f’n small f’n band from f’n Britain so w’re so f’n happy to be playing f’n here for f’n Guns and f’n Roses” which did get very tiring. He also said something about how well the album had done, or perhaps it was their latest single – I don’t honestly remember. Still, a good performance, and they did thank Gn’R for the chance to tour with them (although with a few more expletives). I’m not against swearing or whatever, because for effect, it can be extremely powerful. However, in this case, it was just dumb. They used it too frequently – and whatever effect they wanted to achieve (like with playing fast) failed. They were quite technically skilled guitarwise, which is a major plus for me, and thus swayed me. The songs (that I could hear or make out) were relatively good, so do give them a look if you can. When these guys were done, the stage was cleared (including the drum kit which had been more central for Bullet), so it was practically empty space wise. In terms of how long we waited from then on, it was about an hour, during this time finishing our picnic, and I went to the toilet a few minutes before Gn’R started – finding loads of people smoking in there, and I noticed later many people lighting up on the floor. Wembley is a non-smoking Arena, and although the habit doesn’t exactly bother me, I don’t particularly like smelling like a bonfire. The Staff didn’t seem to do much about it though. Again, during the waiting time, there were cheers when techies came on. A few “Guns N’ Roses!” cheers now and again, and for about 10 minutes, there were Mexican Waves going round the arena (although mostly from the seated area, the people standing just had to stand up and shout and wave their arms really). Bullet’s backdrop was removed too, I don’t think I mentioned that. By this time, my ears were practically useless, but I’d seen some awesome music, and the wait began again…Anyway, around 10:30pm BST the house lights went down. I have never seen such a common desire, and eagerness and enthusiasm from so many people in such a place. The atmosphere was absolutely electric, and crowd jubilant. A cry, as one went up. It was actually quite moving (I didn’t break down and cry however as some people have!), and I intended to savour every last minute of it. Everyone was on their feet cheering, enthusiastic to the last. The spotlights came on and played upon the people whilst the Exorcist intro (or what sounded like it) played. I couldn’t honestly tell you how long it lasted, as it felt a lot longer, but it was probably only for a few mere minutes. Then, the opening, something I cannot express in words, but will try: ‘Dun dun dun dun dun’, over and over. Ok, exaggeration, only a few times. Green spotlight on Finck while he was doing it, but just enough light to see Frank Ferrer (I was disappointed not to see Brain, but he did admirably), Chris Pittman and Dizzy getting into place. Then, ‘DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE F**K YOU ARE?” and the whole place erupted. I thought when the Exorcist intro hit the atmosphere was amazing, but wow, this blew it out of the water. Everyone was screaming, and the light comes on, Axl walking across stage, sunglasses and all, that non-chalant look upon his face, Bumblefoot stage-right in a grey-suit and red cape, Robin clad in white pumping out the chords, Fortus leaning towards stage right in his secluded sort of way with his dark colour sense of dress, Stinson in an awesome black and white chequered suit with black rimmed glasses – Doctor Who-esque. Dizzy dressed in his sleeveless leather jacket and his usual attire, Frank looking like an egg with his polished bald head and huge beard avec sideburns; dressed in black, Pittman wearing a denim dress with black waist coat and boots and the Ax-man himself attired in a dark coloured shirt, suede waistcoat, jeans and mocca coloured shoes. Wow, it was electric. Most people were singing along, including myself for about a verse before stopping (Hammerstein recordings…) and enjoying it for what it was. And what it was, was amazing. Superb rendition of jungle, complete with snake dance.Jungle soon ended, and was followed by It’s So Easy, once more performed with superb gusto. I’m sorry, I’m probably using adjectives over and over again, but it’s so hard to adequately describe how powerful, and how well it all went. If I throw in awkward sounding adjectives, it’s for your benefit. Superb rendition, Ron was running everywhere, and Finck was roaming around frequently too. Axl’s vocals were top notch, although throughout the show, there were at least 3 people – at least! – providing backing vocals. Still, very good.Mr.Brownstone was well done, Dizzy playing his bongos to perfection. Frank did very well too, as with Jungle. He’s a good choice for an understudy, and maybe even as a replacement should Brain head to pastures new.Then, Live and Let Die. This song was intense. One of the best songs on the night, and more pyros than you can shake a stick at. Fantastic.Now, the next number on the setlist surprised me. It was not a Dizzy Reed solo, it was a solo however – performed by a Mister Robin Finck. This man does not get enough praise, jamming on ‘God Save The Queen’ with loads of people singing along, hands over heart. Wow, was all I could think. Once more, the whole place erupted and there people were screaming as if on fire when Robin played the opening chords of Sweet Child O’ Mine. The whole band was top notch, you’d really have to hear it to believe it. Axl seemed boyant, as did the rest of the band. Solo was superb too. The next song will be considered the highlight of the night for most people, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door. Axl got the crowd to sing along with him towards the end (indeed jokingly scolding them early during it ‘You’ll get your turn’), with practically everyone doing backing vocals. Stinson wasn’t moving all that much I noted, he was practically glued to the microphone. Very well done anyway, and that followed into a little jam which everyone participated in whilst Dizzy’s piano was brought out, which he then soloed on for several minutes. Really impressive playing actually, I’ve always been appreciative of his work, and this really cemented in my mind what an integral part, and what a superb individual musician he is. The, at the end of his solo, came ‘The Blues’. I don’t think this song was all that good, but the band seemingly enjoyed it. I think this was the song where Axl got up on the Piano to sing a verse, and later Fortus sat down with Dizzy whilst playing. Perhaps I was too critical, it was a good performance of it, but one of the weaker on the night – which really does go to show how amazing the band really was that night.Fortus then did a solo, introduced by Axl as ‘Tokyo City’. I’ve never really liked Fortus, but it wasn’t a bad solo. After his solo and a bit of bumming around, he was joined by Robin in the spotlight to duet on Beautiful by Christina Aguilera, which did have a few people singing along.After that, came You Could Be Mine. My God, the pyros were amazing. Lots of pyro explosions, and you could feel the heat from where I was sitting, and I was about 30 metres from the stage. I felt sorry for Pittman, Dizzy and Frank, and I hoped they’d put on their Sun-tan Cream. Another sterling performance. I’m pretty sure this is the song where a techie brought on another guitar for the solo in the song, which Bumblefoot kept to play his solo, which came next. I’m a huge fan of the guy, and his solo did not disappoint. It was technically sound, and very well played. He was soloing whilst rolling around on the floor which was greeted by cheers and general admiration, and was rolling round in a circle soloing which was just fantastic. He got up and was more serious, continuing playing but with less horsing around, and then started jamming on Don’t Cry. That too got the crowd singing, and was very good. I loved the way he jammed on it, as he played it to the letter, although occasionly using his skill to add so much more to the song. Slash, I love you man, but you have nothing on Ron’s skill. Everyone’s favourite song came next, Out Ta Get Me! Well done, strong vocal and musical performances throughout. Whilst many may disagree about it’s place or placement in the setlist, it’s a good song. Axl had changed some of his clothes, although I can’t honestly remember what. After this came another little jam while the piano came out again, and then a little solo by Axl on the piano was both visually and musically impressive. Then, perhaps the best song on the night, and my favourite song – November Rain. Bumblefoot and Robin played superb solos, I didn’t think all that much of Fortus’ though. It was sketchy in places. But, aside from that, it was amazing. Everyone and everything came together. I hated it when that song ended, but all good things come to an end.A band intro followed, with Axl introducing the band (as the name would suggest) and bringing out Izzy Stradlin’. In his typical black beret, suede jacket, black trousers and sunglasses, it’s as if nothing ever changed. They all jammed whilst Axl went off. Then, Chris Pittman came down, as did a bald guy that I didn’t recognise (thought it looked like Bach’s guitarist who occupied stage-left, it wasn’t Frank as he had a different shaped beard) with a beard and sunglasses for ‘You Gotta Move’. I think Pittman was wearing a wimple (Nun’s headdress). It was interesting to say the least, good performance, with Izzy, Pittman and the bald dude sharing vocals. Pittman was doing the arm-movements like the backup singers do in the November Rain video. It was well received though, which I suppose is the important thing. After the song, Pittman and the bald guy (whom I assume is a technie) returned to their places.Axl came back to perform Patience, where almost EVERYONE was doing back up vocals. It was pretty well done, although I don’t think it was one of the best of the night. However, Axl then left after Patience, but Nightrain followed, sans Axl. Bach sung instead of him, but it was a really good performance. Ron was on fire (not literally), and Bach was interacting with everyone, headbanging and swinging the mic. I think he screwed up the words a few times, but it was a damn good rendition. I wish Axl had sung it though, but Bach put on a great performance in his stead.Sebastian also sung Paradise City, with Izzy who had remained on stage since being introduced. Solid performance, but trimmed a little timewise. When they were all soloing at the end it was awesome, but that wasn’t the best bit. When the solos started, pyros were going off everywhere, confetti was falling everywhere, and then people came out dressed in Gn’R shirts and were dancing. My Uncle thought they were children, and commented on how nice it was that they were getting children to do something like that, but then realised they didn’t look like children, and thought they must just be short adults, especially compared to the stooping Bach. But, it hit us both, and we haven’t stopped laughing since – that they were midgets, dressed in Gn’R shirts, waving Union Jack flags dancing. It was hilarious. Bach was ushering them to the front of the stage, and that too was worth the entrance fee alone. I loved that, hilarious. But then, the show ended. It was all over. I was knackered, and it was about 12:30am BST. The lights came on and everyone started to leave. The band (well, Stinson), thanked Bach and everyone, and then Merck Merciuardis came out to address the fans. He thanked them for their patience, and apologised that due to high blood pressure, Axl didn’t sing the last two songs. He said Axl was very ill this morning, but said he wouldn’t cancel as it’d be unfair. He thanked us again, and said that he and the band would see us all next year.The concert over, we left, ears ringing – which had luckily cleared just before Gn’R and then did a few minutes after leaving the venue. Now, after seeing the touts on the way in, we saw the merchandise (fakes) being sold on the way out. All the way to the train station everything imaginable was being sold. My Uncle and I got onto the train after a massive detour, and were luckily, as we weren’t travelling into London, because those trains had been cancelled due to maintenance or strikes. There were Police in the station keeping out hoards of angry people, who’d have to catch a bus for a long way just to get a train to take them home. Boy, people were pissed off. We hopped on the train, after about waiting for a little over five minutes, and the made our way home, arriving back at home at 1:30am BST. My uncle set off for home, and I went to finish getting my stuff ready for going to France. I went to bed at 2am BST after seeing such an amazing event, and woke up at 6am to go to France. Thoroughly tired, but it was well worth it to see Gn’R live.The show was intense, and despite waiting for about 4 hours and seeing about the same length of music, it was so worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Superb show, one of the best ever, even with Axl not doing those last two songs. The ‘new’ band kicks some serious ass, and in my opinion, have surpassed the old band in live performances – even if Chinese Democracy is still a way off yet. You must see this guys, they together are the single best group – live or otherwise – at this moment in time. No-one even comes close, and I’ve seen lots of performances of many artists on television or over the internet. The world is Gn’R oyster, and it’s time that they reclaimed their crown at the top of the world once again.I would like to extend my thanks to Rick (x_Estranged_x of http://www.mygnrforum.com) for posting the updates sent to him on the forums. It’s greatly appreaciated!Final Setlist:07.30.06 - Wembley Arena, London, Englandopening act: Sebastian Bach, Bullet For My Valentineattendance: 12,000 +/setlist: Welcome To The Jungle, It’s So Easy, Mr.Brownstone, Live and Let Die, Guitar Solo [Robin], Sweet Child O’ Mine, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Jam, Piano Solo (Dizzy), The Blues, Tokyo City [Fortus Solo], Beautiful [Robin and Richard Duet], You Could Be Mine, Guitar Solo inc. Don’t Cry [Ron], Out Ta Get Me, Jam, Piano Solo [Axl], November Rain, Band Intro, Jam, You Gotta Move, Patience, Nightain, Paradise Citynotes: Pending.Ticket, T-shirt and Rail tickets scans to come.Thanks for reading,Sandman. Edited August 12, 2006 by The Sandman Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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