Jump to content



Recommended Posts

Apparently GN'R didn't even hit the stage until 12:30AM!!! WTF???

Guns N' Roses / Helmet / Sebastian Bach / Suicide Girls Live Review - 12.01.06 - Hilton Coliseum - Ames, IA

Posted by James Munson on 12.07.2006

Axl & company return with a second arena tour preceding the long-awaited Chinese Democracy. The accompanying stage show is a visual feast and the eight-piece all-star line-up sounds tighter than ever. Unfortunately, the overblown seven-hour concert turned away many fans before the main act even appeared on stage.

When it comes time for a band to heavily promote its newest album, which – in this case- is thirteen years in the making, it would probably be considered an ill-fated move for this band to charge exorbitant prices for concert tickets, force their fans to wait for hours in anticipation, and then mock them. Then again, when you’re talking about Guns N’ Roses, this kind of behavior isn’t so shocking. Tonight’s train-wreck of a concert at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, IA (start time: 8:00 PM, end time: 3:00 AM) affirmed what GN’R fans have known for years: Axl’s attitude hasn’t changed and neither has his contempt for punctuality.

The Suicide Girls burlesque show began around 8:15 and featured lots of leather, fire-laced hula hoops, and nipples covered in electrical tape. The five Suicide Girls on this tour frolicked across the stage to the tunes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The White Stripes, and Prince. Even though their punk/goth-tinged performances could have been significantly more effective in a club setting, the irony of their art was lost on most of the two-thirds full arena (predominantly the thirty-something males commanding the ladies to, “Show your tits!”).

Primary opening act Sebastian Bach served stormed the stage with his four-piece band to a standing ovation. Out of everyone who preceded GN’R, Bach commanded the most audience attention. This was somewhat unforeseen because his set of newer lukewarm metal throwaways and Skid Row covers were surely less than impressive. He gave numerous shout-outs to Iowa (“Iowa, I’ll remember you!”), bashed Simon Cowell and American Idol in a ridiculous manner (“Shouldn’t the real American Idol be chosen by Americans?” It is.), and called out to the troops “fighting over in Iraq for our right to rock tonight” before introducing “American Metalhead”. Donning a tight black leather jacket and pants combo (sans shirt), Bach came off like a former high school classmate who was never really all that funny to begin with and never shut his mouth. Unremarkably, his set outlasted every other opening act at an hour and ten minutes.

Helmet’s first-night appearance agitated the already restless crowd. Taking the stage at 10:30 for a fifty-five minute performance book ended by “Unsung” and “In the Meantime” from their 1992 peak album Meantime, they were greeted with middle fingers. After several lineup changes, this version of Helmet (led by sole founding member Page Hamilton) mixed more recent sub par material, from Monochrome and Size Matters, with older tunes from post grunge-era albums Betty and Aftertaste. Titanic slabs of rock like “I Know” came off as sluggish and monotonous. Hamilton’s voice, once omnipotent and wavering, sounded stale and lifeless.

Following Helmet, the Suicide Girls performed three more skits while the flustered, impatient crowd derided them. Before Guns N’ Roses took the stage at 12:30 AM., a sufficient number of people left the venue and others booed in unison flipped middle fingers to the stage. One concertgoer noted, “This better be one hell of a show for them to keep us waiting this long.” Amidst darkness and smoke, former Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck appeared in the shadows strumming the opening notes (complete with pauses, for dramatic effect) to “Welcome to the Jungle”. When a piercing voice shrieked, “Do you know where the fuck you are?” a spotlight beamed down on Axl Rose, sporting a braided ponytail with a button-up black dress shirt and denim jeans. At the song’s opening climax, six massive explosions shot out from the drum riser to expose the juggernaut eight-piece band playing in flawless syncopation. Rose danced his trademark side-to-side sway and paraded across the stage and risers while stomping his foot; moves he perfected years ago with the original GN’R lineup.

As a whole, the performance was an exercise in bloated excess and offered a complete larger-than-life rock show package. Too bad the audience wasn’t livelier, but this was solely due to the band’s late start. Although the first four songs (“Welcome to the Jungle”, “It’s So Easy”, “Mr. Brownstone”, and “Live and Let Die”) bedazzled the remaining spectators with explosions and pyrotechnics, many continued to hold up defiant middle fingers. Axl responded with a weak explanation, “We apologize for our tardiness, but in the words of the great David Lee Roth, ‘I don’t feel tardy!’” Individual solos before crowd-pleasers like “Sweet Child ‘O’ Mine” and “November Rain” also dragged on the performance. Furthermore, GN’R previewed four Chinese Democracy cuts like the rave-up rocker “Better” and new ballad “There Was a Time”. The new material wasn’t half-bad, but hardly the brilliance one expects from one of the longest-delayed albums since Zach De La Rocha’s yet-to-be-released solo debut.

Midway through, Rose asked the audience if they were awake because they weren’t close to being finished. This prompted most of the crowd on the floor to leave and the lower level seats also emptied significantly. Sebastian Bach made a brief cameo onstage with GN’R for “My Michelle” and, shortly thereafter, they closed with the one-two punch of “Patience” and “Nightrain”. GN’R concluded with “Paradise City” around 3:00 AM and, by this time, a third of the main attendees remained to witness streams of confetti and smoke filter through Hilton. Ultimately, Axl and his band may feel shameless about forcing their fans wait for them, but those same fans might not feel the need wait around much longer for Chinese Democracy.

The 411: This could have easily been called the "Tour of the Has-beens". With the exception of Helmet's disappointing metal-by-numbers set, each act satiated the appetites of those who paid to see a rock show. However, the only point proven by tonight's headliners and Sebastian Bach is that people will willingly shell out $75 to experience a piece of nostalgia, no matter how bland or turgid it is.

Final Score: 5.0 [ Not So Good ] legend


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...