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a positive review of saturdays concert.


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rock3 enjoy.

By Paul Gargano

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The KROQ Inland Invasion in the desert east of Los Angeles may have been an all-day affair Saturday, but by the time the dust settled early Sunday morning, there was only one band that mattered.

Yes, the summer-ending festival hosted by America's trend-setting rock radio station featured many of the boldest and brashest bands of the modern rock movement, but when headliner Guns N' Roses took the stage shortly before 11 p.m. at the Hyundai Pavilion, everything old became new again -- and everything new on the bill, well, just couldn't hold a candle in comparison.

Make no mistake, Axl Rose knew the magnitude of the night's show, and few in attendance could argue that the iconic Guns N' Roses frontman didn't rise to the occasion. No, his vocals weren't pristine, but they never were. And topping a bill that featured as much screaming as it did singing, they didn't have to be.

With the pacing of the show impacted by the at-times illogical progression of bands, the day's preliminary highlights had been scattered. Buckcherry's gritty, glam-rock explosion would have been better suited prior to Papa Roach's punk-powered, radio rock riffs, as opposed to working between the hardcore screaming and emo teasing of Atreyu and the punk rock uprising of Rise Against. Muse benefited from playing after the sun had set, but other bands would have benefited more, as the back-to-back billing of the unassuming, prog-flavored U.K. power trio and the dark and dreary (though well-received) return of Alice in Chains resulted in a notable letdown in energy prior to the night's marquee attraction.

It would have been fitting for Avenged Sevenfold to have taken the stage immediately before Guns N' Roses, but the spacing between the Orange County heavy metal revivalists and their heroes served them well, as it gave the crowd ample time to forget just how similar its latest single "Seize the Day" was to Guns classic "November Rain." Papa Roach boasted the daylight's most anthem-heavy return to arena-rock splendor, frontman Jacoby Shaddix's over-the-top charisma offering a power-packed counterpunch to the memorable set of 30 Seconds to Mars, whose art house approach to hard rock opened with the band -- fronted by actor Jared Leto -- marching through the crowd with an army of flag-waving fans before taking the stage in China doll masks and ninja-white get-ups.

But the night belonged to Guns N' Roses. When the house lights dimmed a scant 45 minutes later than the scheduled set time and the opening shards of "Welcome to the Jungle" pierced the packed pavilion and shoulder-to-shoulder lawn section, the mood became manic.

The 19-song, 130-minute set featured all but three of the tracks from Guns N' Roses' classic debut "Appetite for Destruction," as well as four new songs. While Rose's ever-evolving band has become a punching bag for cynics, tonight they lived up to the band's storied past.

Lead guitarist Robin Finck injected a personality to rival Slash, even if his guitar tones sometimes strayed slightly from the originals (most notably during "Patience"), and keyboardist Dizzy Reed jazzed up "Night Train." One of the night's most memorable performances was "November Rain," which featured Rose on piano at center stage and Finck and guitarist Richard Fortus trading leads.

Former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach joined Rose onstage to tear through "My Michelle," and received a notably louder ovation upon his introduction than Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, who joined Alice in Chains for their signature "Man in the Box." The Inland Invasion may have been a long way from the Sunset Strip, but the rock stars still ruled. Even the almighty KROQ couldn't have planned that.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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