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12/19 Semi-Quick Review


Partyslammer

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Surprisingly good show. Not great, but much better than I expected going in seeing the new lineup for the first time post Illusions tour. I didn't get out until 2:15 in the morning and got home around 3am. Bear in mind the last time I saw GnR was in '93 during the co-headlining tour with Metallica. On the other hand, I've seen them 7 times total going back to a support gig in '86 with The Lords of the New Church at fenders Ballroom so I've been lucky enough to see the band from the beginning. The only new song I've given a prior listen to has been "Better" so I was probably in the same boat as about 70% of the rest of the audience when it came to the new tunes. I honestly haven't been that interested in the new album so far and I'd like to hear finished versions, not shitty low-res demos or live cuts.

GnR actually came on "early," at least for them (about 11:45). Parts of the show including the 1st 3 or 4 songs were outstanding, mostly anything from the Appetite For Destruction album which I think they played 10 of 12 songs from. A really generous show songwise, probably close to 25 songs. We got most if not all the occasionally played tunes at most other shows, including Down on the Farm, Used to Love Her, Rocket Queen and Chinese Democracy. We even got "Think About You."

Of the 5 songs from the unreleased CDalbum they played, the only one I really liked as well as most of the audience judging by the responses was "Better" which was early in the set. One of the highlights was Izzy joining the band for most of the old songs for the last hour of the show including "Used To Love Me" which has always been one of my favorite GnR tunes. Interestingly, Izzy looks like he's aged into a well heeled middle aged Englishman. He really looks like he'd fit in age-wise with The Stones or The Who now. He certainly came off as a well grounded guy onstage. It seemed he was supposed to join the band earlier in the set but someone told Axl "he left" which left Axl a bit flustered after he introduced him ("welcome to my world"). Axl looks pretty fit and decent even if it appears that corn row hairstyle is a one piece thing cemented to his head like a helmet. However, his voice was *very* strong and impressive the entire show.

The downsides were all three guitarists got solo spots that ranged from ok, to a bit stupid and would kill the momentum. The newest guitarist, Ron Thall did a nearly note perfect version of Eddie's "Eruption" for his spot. The band is really bloated and could lose a guitarist and a keyboard player, imo. It reminds me of Iron Maiden's current lineup were you have each guitarist take a piece of a solo in every song. It was kind of funny when Izzy and Bach were onstage with the band during "My Michelle," there was 4 guitarists, 2 singers, a bass player, two keyboard guys and a drummer all playing this relatively simple, straight ahead rock tune.

Aside from "Better," I have to say the other 4 new songs come off as bloated, overdone tunes like a cross of the worst elements of "Cival War"and "Estranged" by way of Meatloaf. The only "classic" song that surprisingly didn't work for me was "You Could Be Mine," mainly due to the beginning which Frank the drummer just didn't play very well as the guitar intro by Frink which didn't capture the feel of the original version.

And when the roadies moved a grand piano to the middle of the stage for a few songs, the band would play what I'd almost call rock n' roll cocktail music while this was going on. Axl would duck offstage any chance he could get, probably for a hit off an oxygen tank.

I missed most of Helmet's set and walked out on Sebastian Bach's set by the 2nd song and roamed around the upper levels killing time. Bach has a really strong voice and still looks like he did 15 years ago (which is kinda like a hot chick) but the guy is just obnoxious onstage to the point I wanna hit him. And his mediocre solo band comes off as a 2nd rate Skid Row cover band.

Probably the funniest point was at the end of the show as the band was finishing "Paradise City" when a couple guys up front caught Axl's eye obviously pushing or something. So Axl alerts security and has the guys thrown out which happens as the band takes their farewell bows. As far as I could tell in my area about 5 rows back from the pit, the asshole factor was pretty low. Also, a few chicks flashed their tits at Rose throughout the set which is always welcome. The venue which holds about 5,000 had excellent seats including GA pit tickets available yesterday but by showtime, the place was close to being sold out although there were a *lot* of scalpers practically begging to unload their tickets. By the encore, about 40% of the people had bailed out of the show (a lot left during the 2 song Chinese Democracy encore before PD), no doubt due to the late hour.

T.B.

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One thing I forgot to mention (because I'm dead tired no doubt, lol!) was the incident where a couple drums on Franks kit caught fire from the pyro raining down on him at the end of one of the songs (I forget which). It wasn't a massive blaze or anything like that that I'm hearing some people say on other forums but it was enough to warrant a couple roadies hurridly replacing drums while Frank was bashing away finishing the song. Axl did make a funny Spinal Tap comment about just blowing up the drummer for the next show after the song.

T.B.

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