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Concert Review


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What an utterly amazing and spectacular performance that was both captivating and grab you by the balls exciting. This is my first review of a show, but I have attended 4 previous concerts in the past to include the Ames, Iowa show on Friday the 1st. First off, I would like to say hello again to Asian Styles and Funky Monkey who sat to either side of me in Section 111 Row A. It was very nice to meet the both of you and I am happy that your first GN'R concert was so damn awesome and by want I have read about other reviews from previous shows on this tour, undoubtedly the best show of the TOUR!!

First off, Sebastian Bach (SKID ROW) did a very good job of opening the show. Sebastian is a very good singer with a very clear and powerful voice. He give a very good performance and really interacts with the crowd and gets the place primed for the rest of the night. He sang all of his biggest hits from back in the day and sang some new songs that he told us about which he has on his myspace webpage or are otherwise are on YouTube.

I didn't watch Helmet's set as I was up and walking around the Target Center and talking with other concert attendees. In my opinion, you could probably do away with Helmet's portion of the concert or any third musical act. I understand the Axl and the band like to go on late, but just start the show say at 9 instead of 8 and let Sebastian Bach and Skid Row have a longer setlist. This is just my opinion and I guess it wasn't a big deal and 2 openers (3 if you include Suicide girls) just gives you more bang for the buck for your ticket purchase.

Now on to the MAIN EVENT:

The Target Center was overall about 75 percent full. The General Admission floor was very full, the lower level reserved seats were about 95% full, and the upper level was about 30-40% full. After Helmet finished their set (Done at 11:15) there was only a 30 minute wait until you heard the first chords for Welcome to the Jungle.

First let my talk about Axl and his performance. He seemed to be in a very good mood through out the show and talked to the crowd a couple of times. He talked about it being cold outside and how that we were a bunch of "Tough Motherfuckers" for being able to handle the cold weather and how that he was from Indiana and how back in the day he had to get the "Fuck out of Dodge" becasue partly of the cold weather. It was great to see that he still is so dynamic in his performance. He has awesome stage presence and ran back and forth across the stage several times during the concert and jumped, danced, spun, swayed, and grooved all night long. For being 44 years old and doing what he does is breathtaking. In my opinion and a lot of people would agree me, he is one of, if not the the best frontman of a Rock N' Roll band.

Axl's voice was very, very powerful. The sound and mix of the band was spot on. Axl's singing was awesome and there weren't any technical problems that I could tell. Axl's voice held up through the entire concert and was very clear. He didn't have a lot of the gravelly or gritty style to his voice nor did his voice sound like he was on Helium.

Now on to the some of the Highlights from the show. Obviously, tingles went down my spine when you heard "Do you know were the Fuck you are?"!! Welcome to the Jungle is such a great opening song the crowd went apeshit. WTTJ was followed in succesion by It's So Easy and Mr. Brownstone. These 3 songs at the beginning just electrify the crowd and create so much energy. The band played these in Rapid fire and after the third song is when Axl talked for the first time to the Crowd. The next song was Live and Let Die. This song was done very well and the use of the PYRO was insane. The explosions and the fireballs were syched for great affect.

The first new song to be played was "Better". The band really nailed this song and Axl's singing was incredible. Watching a bootleg of this song doesn't do it justice. Axl gave 110% percent on this one. He was singing like a screaming Banshee especially during the verses of: I never wanted you to be so full of Anger, I never wanted you to be somebody else, I never wanted you to be someone to be afraid to know themselves, I only wanted you to see things for yourself. Axl absolutely crushed this song. I was in awe. He sang with such power and feeling. One of many highlights. My only gripe about this and all of the other leaked songs was that he didn't tell the audience the names of the songs. I know it isn't a big deal, but you would think that saying the song name would help give a more lasting impression of the song for those that were hearing them for the first time.

ROBIN FINCK: He was very impressive and my favorite of the 3 guitarist (4 if you count base guitar). Robin's solo was very passionate and you can tell that he really gets into his playing. His solo was bluesy and very well done. He also handled most of the guitard leads for most of the Appetite songs during the show and you all know that he does a huge portion of the Lead stuff for the new songs. I really liked his style and he is more than capable at what he does. His sole led into Sweet Child O' Mine. The crowd really sang along to this one and once again Robin handled the lions share of guitar on this song.

Next came Knockin on Heavens Door. This song was done o.k. This newer arrangement is not my favorite. It is slowed down some from the Use Your Illusion version. The song has a more mellow groove now and the Audience sing along portion seemed out of place or in the wrong spot of the song in my opinion. Instead of being in the middle portion of the song it was towards the end. During this portion there were hints of the Freddie Mecury benefit concert Reggae style but also a kind of physcadelic vibe as well. Also the sing along portion just didnt have that intensity that I was accustome too, but like I said it was a different version than Use Your Illusion recording and it was still good, but just different.

YOU COULD BE MINE: What a kick ass song. One of the all time G&R greats. Having seen several bootlegs of this song, I knew what to expect but was still amazed. All of the layers of synthesizers and sound affects at the beginning of the song by Chris Pittman just add a extra helping of Spectacular. You can really tell that this is one of the Band's favorite songs to play and for Axl to sing. The band was just awesome during this song (and for the whole show) and played with extra intensity. Ron Thal a.k.a Bumblefoot did a few of the leads on this song. I also if I saw correctly came to the rescue of Robin Finck. It looked as if that Robin broke a string during this song and went back stage to get a different guitar. Upon seeing this Bumblefoot ran from the left side of the stage over to the far right side to take over on lead guitar for a solo. I am not exactly sure if this is want happened, but anyways all 3 guitarist were awesome on this one. Axl also just was ear peircing on this one. Such intensity and passion. Of course I was singing along and tried to hold the notes as long as Axl. Tried being the optimum word. I don't know how he can run back and forth and still hit all of the notes and hold them for so long. SIMPLY AMAZING!!!

DIZZY REED: His solo followed YCBM and Funky Monkey told be it was a song title "Angie". He can play the piano very well and I think his playing adds a lot to the overall sound of G&R. Just one of many reasons that I like G&R so much is the key addition of the piano in some of their songs. Yesterdays, Estranged, November Rain, Pretty Tied Up to name just a few. Of course Dizzy's solo segwayed into "The Blues".

THE BLUES: This is also a very awesome song and nobody does power ballads better than AXL and company. The lyrics to this song are awesome and Robin's guitar style add so much to this song. Of course Axl's singing and point of view for this song are vital. This is the only song were Axl had problems. He was back stage during Dizzy's solo and when he came back out to sing this song his voice seemed off. It was only for about the first 1/3 of the song. His kind of sounded like he had a frog in his voice. It was kind of going from high to low and back up again at weird times. It only lasted for the first third of the song and from then on his Voice got very powerful again and the last 1/3 of the song was awesome and some of his better singing of the night.

Axl and the Band next played "Down here on the Farm". This is one of the better songs for me from "The Spaghetti Incident". Axl was having a lot of fun on this one and commented at the end of the song on how they had to something different.

RICHARD FORTUS SOLO: His solo was okay and then Robin came back out and they did a combined guitar solo. I have seen some other reviews and it was said that the combined guitar solo was "Beautiful" by Christina Aquilera. I have seen a bootleg video of them doing this before, but to me it didn't seem to like they did this. I guess I am not sure. This slow solo led into OUT TO GET ME. Needless to say the transition to this song was a little akward.

"Out to Get Me" is a very hard hitting song and they played the hell out of this song. Axl's voice was spectacular. The Pyro also was kick-ass for this song. Overall if I remember the setlist correctly this song came between the Solo and followed by November Rain.

Of course everyone sang along to November Rain and Axl played the piano for this song as per usual. The cool part about this song was that each of the 3 guitarist played a different guitar solo. The crowd really got into this song. I enjoyed it as well but I would have much preferred to hear "Estranged". November Rain was followed by Used to Lover Her.

I.R.S. was the 3rd of the 5 leaked tracks to play. This song was also done very well. It did seem thought that compared to some other versions of the song I have seen bootlegs of that Axl might have changed the order of some of the lyrics.

BUMBLEFOOT SOLO: His solo was his tapping and shredding followed by him doing the guitar portion of "Don't Cry". Several in the audience really got into his freaky fingerwork and yelled and screamed. I liked the "Don't Cry" portion more than the other portion. Overall, Ron was very engaged with audience the whole show and his contribution to the new songs was very good.

MY MICHELLE: Sebastian came out for this song to sing with Axl. This song is one of my least favorites off of Appetite for Destruction, but seeing it live the song was much better. Sebastian did a very good job singing his parts and it made Axl step up the intensity when he sang. Overall, this song was very heavy and the live version is much better than the studio version.

Next was a song that my brother and I both wanted to hear as well as Funky Monkey from this forum sitting next to me wanted to hear as well. When the first few notes of this song were played and everyone realizes what song it was, the place went crazy. Of course I am talking about "ROCKET QUEEN". This song is amazing. Axl owned this one and the guitar solo by Richard Fortus was spot on. The crowd was signing every word to this song and the last part of the song is extraordinary. This song was followed by "Patience".

Last but not least:

NIGHTRAIN: The live version of this song is one of the best live songs by G&R. The opening with the cow bell is just cooler than shit. The entire song just rocks from beginning to end and the extended instrumental jam of several minutes with everyone playing their combined asses off creates a crescendo of energy and frenzy. This is a great song to end with used to dramatic affect to set up the encore.


Chinese Democracy


Paradise City

The 2 new/leaked songs were better live than any previous bootlegs I have seen. The band was very tight for both songs and Axl put a lot of effort into them. The bad part was that most of the crowd didn' know what they were and after the playing of Nightrain, the crowd seemed confused and/or unsure of what it was they were getting. Once again as stated earlier, it would have been beneficial in my eyes if Axl would have told the crowd the names of these songs and made mention of the fact that these were potential songs for the new album "Chinese Democracy".

PARADISE CITY: This song is an absolute killer song to end a show. The band and Axl went bonkers on this and the pyro and confetti brought absolute pandomonium to the Target Center. This song was custom made to be performed live and the musical gymnastics was awesome. Everyone in the band was running around during this and the energy in the place was astronomical. I was on cloud nine and in euphoria.

All in all this show was undoubtedly the BEST G&R show that I have been to. The crowd was captivated and Axl gave a top notch performance. To be able to give a performance like this at the age of 44 and run around and sing with such pure unadulterated passion and control is highly impressive. Axl's stage presence, singing abiity, and overall charisma are a huge reason G&R became so damn succesful and the new line-up of muscians more than hold their own. The 5 leaked/new songs are current and original and if and when Chinese Democracy hits the stores the album will be a huge success.

Judging by the response of the crowds reactions and the overall energy of the night, the concert was more than a success, but a triumph of live performance.

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Great review yankeeman31- I was going to post one but yours was dead on. The St Paul paper critic (Ross Raihala) whined about the late time & Axl's voice ("delivery felt clipped & strained"). We thought he sounded great considering his recent ear/throat trouble, & despite the arena's rep of crappy acoustics. AFA late shows go, Axl's notorious for that- it's almost a trademark & should be expected.

One thing Raihala got right was suggesting dumping Helmet & Modern Day Zero, they really killed the mood. They should go Suicide Girls, Baz, then GnR. I dont even recall MDZ playing, & I stayed sober & present. Luckily some of the drunker fans kept me amused.

I'm always entranced by the pictures onscreen behind the band. I hear/listen to the music, but the imagery is fascinating. Who picks those? Does Axl decide what's shown? Did they dig thru tons of footage? The stuff shown during "It's So Easy" was an obvious homage/tribute to Bettie Page/1950's sex, & on "Madagascar" I recognized some shots from El Morro Fortress in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

All in all, a great show, probably the best of the 4 I've seen in the past 15 yrs.

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