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DATE: June 25, 2007

SOURCE: The Sydney Morning Herald

News and Features - Arts

Bursts of old gunner glory now and then

Reviewed by Kelsey Munro

25 June 2007

The Sydney Morning Herald



Acer Arena, June 23

WHEN a band's lead singer is the only original member left, is it still the same band?

The typical old fan held grave doubts about a performance by the Los Angeles hard-rock band that was missing the iconic lead guitarist Slash and the chemistry of the original line-up.

Turns out that was the least of their problems.

There hasn't been a new album for more than 13 years, but the new seven-piece band performed with great chemistry and unimpeachable chops. Three guitarists played old hits - including Slash's epic solos - with a perfectly judged mix of faithfulness to the original, feel and precision.

The fabulous lead guitarist Robin Finck, resplendent in shiny black tunic and Jethro Tull beard, opened the show (50 minutes late) with the hellbound riff of Welcome to the Jungle. Singer Axl Rose, his distinctive orange hair in braids, let fly with his blood-curdling screech. It's the sound of pandemonium being unleashed. The song remains Gunners at their best: a mix of menace, complexity and melodic brilliance. It was a reminder why they once ruled the world, selling more than 90 million albums by the early '90s.

They followed with It's So Easy, then Mr Brownstone from the blockbuster debut Appetite for Destruction, then the epic Live and Let Die, with exploding fireballs punctuating every chorus and strobe lights strafing the crowd. It was like the greatest hits edition of rock heaven. If only it had kept going like that.

There were worrying signs from the start, such as the conga player in the top corner, and the white-reggae feel to the Dylan cover Knockin' on Heaven's Door. Rose, neither as young nor as snake-hipped as he once was, was labouring from the first song. So the band's perpetual drawn-out solos between songs to give him an offstage breather should perhaps not have been surprising. There was even a really long grand piano solo from Dizzy Reed, who, it turns out, is more than just a gifted conga player.

The frustrating thing was that for every long boring piece of filler, there were bursts of glory: from Sweet Child of Mine to the three-part piano epic November Rain. If the good bits had been squeezed into 80 minutes, it would have been a great show. Instead, a padded-out gig lost its momentum repeatedly for more than two hours. Maybe they needed Slash after all.


DATE: June 25, 2007

SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph

Patience, then into the jungle of Rose's

25 June 2007

Daily Telegraph

BAD boy of rock `n' roll Axl Rose welcomed Sydney's Guns `N Roses fans to his jungle of concert madness at the weekend during the last leg of his Australian tour.

After nearly 15 years, the American hard rock heavyweights returned to Sydney, playing a collection of the band's greatest hits to more than 23,500 concert-goers over two nights.

Rose, 45, the only original member of the band, screeched into his first song Welcome To The Jungle as the clock struck midnight, rocking Sydney's Acer Arena for two hours on Saturday before backing up the antics last night.

While fans in Brisbane were agitated with the starting time, throwing a soft drink can at Rose, Sydney's crowd remained tame -- a stark contrast to the rowdy scenes that met the performer at Eastern Creek in 1993.

Hits including Sweet Child O' Mine and November Rain emerged as crowd favourites, as were the tributes to Australian legends INXS and AC/DC.


DATE: June 24, 2007

SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph

Rose without thorns


24 June 2007

Sunday Telegraph


THEY used to be the self described "baddest band in the world" -- now, Guns N' Roses are just bad at reading a watch.

Guns N' Roses -- or at least one Axl Rose and a bunch of hired gunners -- kept their fast-approaching middle-aged fans waiting until 11.45pm before hitting the stage with a slightly tame version of Welcome To The Jungle.

The good news for fans was that Axl still managed to dance like an Indian snake charmer and hit all the right notes, even if some of them sounded very much like Jimmy Barnes on helium.

The bad news was that Rose was the sole remaining member of the band's legendary line-up that rocked Eastern Creek some 14 years ago.

It is impossible to avoid the comparisons with the past, and the new band embrace it to the point of including a suitably hatted guitarist standing in for the irreplaceable Slash.

Where once a riot may have ensued as the minutes ticked past waiting for Axl to appear, last night's crowd at Acer Arena sat mildly waiting for the band to take to the stage.

Old hits such as Sweet Child O' Mine, Mr Brownstone and the Gunners' amped-up version of Knockin' On Heaven's Door bought a huge cheer.

But 30 minutes into the gig material off the new, and still unreleased, Chinese Democracy album was about as welcome to the fans as a 6am wake-up call to Axl's room.

One punter in the crowd suggested China would actually be a democracy before the now mythical album was released.

Clad in dark sunglasses and with corn rows in his hair, time and a rock 'n' roll lifestyle has clearly taken a toll on Axl, but for the fans it was just good to have him and his unpredictable antics back on our stage.


DATE: June 24, 2007

SOURCE: Sunday Telegraph

Why his world runs on Axl time - A Guns N'Roses tour is more like a wacky sideshow fuelled by alcohol thanks to its wacky singer


24 June 2007

Sunday Telegraph

WHEN legendary rocker Axl Rose is on a national tour, a continent is forced to add another time zone. For the past fortnight Australia has been running on Eastern Standard, Central, Western and Axl Time.

You mightn't have noticed but the fans who turned up to see Guns N' Roses for the first time in 14 years have been left in no doubt that Rose is not a morning person.

On stage and behind the scenes, the tour has proved the flamboyant frontman has shed none of the idiosyncrasies that have earned him the sobriquet "the Howard Hughes of hard rock".

Fans have been warned that, unlike other acts, Guns N' Roses does not officially take the stage until 11pm. But that's 11pm Axl time. In reality it's more like 11.30. And that's only if Rose has cranked up his private Lear jet in enough time to make it.

Last Tuesday night, when support act Rose Tattoo took to the stage in Brisbane at 8.30pm, the jet was still on the tarmac at Melbourne airport warming up its engines, tour insiders say.

The rest of the band was waiting patiently for him in Brisbane. They fly commercial; only Rose, as the sole original member of the Gunners, travels on the Lear.

Eventually he made it to Brisbane in the nick of time and strolled onto the stage at the Entertainment Centre at 11.45 to kick off the set.

But the punters in a town which generally goes to bed early were none too impressed. A flying can of soft drink -- bought earlier from the centre's Farnham or Torvill and Dean bars -- narrowly missed Rose 10 seconds into the opener Welcome To The Jungle.

"Is that what you want? You want a battle," Rose said, wiping the liquid from himself. "If you're going to act like that, then you know I don't have to be here."

Rose then proceeded to walk off stage in the middle of several songs, leaving the rest of the band to invent extended solos to cover his absence. Later one of them called it the worst gig of the tour.

But it didn't stop them partying in the dressing room till after 6am. The effects were obvious the next night when Rose told his fans,

who paid up to $175 for tickets: "I just want a big truck to hit me".

However, the parties are certainly not as wild as they used to be. Photographer Simon Cross, who was invited up to Rose's suite after the Adelaide concert, said the frontman, now 45, and the rest of the band behaved themselves impeccably.

There were trolley loads of beer and spirits, but no sign of illegal substances and fruit platters had replaced the "selection of men's magazines, Playboy and Penthouse" that previous tour contracts stipulated had to be available in the dressing room.

In Sydney -- where the Gunners played the first of two concerts at Acer Arena last night -- Cityrail changed the Olympic Park timetable to cope with the post 1am Axl-time finish.

The venue warned ticket buyers that the extra services -- for which Cityrail picked up the tab -- were limited. "This concert runs unusually late so we recommend you plan your journey ahead of travelling and check to see if public transport services operate in your area to get you home," it said.

Overall the reviews have been generally positive for the reconstituted band that was the world's biggest rock draw in the late '80s.

Promoters optimistically called it the Chinese Democracy tour -- the name given to the now almost-mythical new unreleased album that Rose has been threatening to produce for the past 16 years. The record is already one of the most expensive in music history, costing $13 million and counting.

Rose has hired and fired almost every session musician in the States and sent record industry execs into fits of depression.

So far only a couple of songs have made it into the Gunners' concert sets and diehard fans haven't been overly impressed.

Rose deserves his reputation for weirdness. His Hughes-like persona was confirmed when he failed to attend his own lavish 37th birthday party, to which the cream of the music industry had been invited. In 1991 he dived into the crowd at a concert in St Louis after he spotted a fan wielding a video camera.

Last year he was involved in a fight, with of all people, fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger.

It happened after Rose moved a drink belonging to Hilfiger's girlfriend at a birthday party.

Rose later told Los Angeles radio station KROQ: "He just kept smacking me. It was the most surreal thing, I think, that's ever happened to me in my life."

Two months later Rose was arrested and put in a Swedish cell after a fracas with a hotel security guard.


FEBRUARY 1962: Born William Bruce Rose Jr in Lafayette, Indiana, Rose has a turbulent upbringing with claims of sexual and physical abuse.

He is arrested many times during his teen years on a range of misdemeanour charges. At high school he becomes involved in music and meets future band mate Izzy Stradlin. At 17 he moves to Los Angeles to pursue a musical career.

1985: Guns N' Roses are formed and the band, consisting of Axl Rose (lead vocals), Slash (lead guitar), Izzy Stradlin (rhythm guitar), Duff McKagan (bass guitar) and Steven Adler (drums), release their major label debut Appetite For Destruction in 1987. It becomes a No1 hit.

1988: Two fans are trampled to death during the Gunners' set at the Monsters of Rock Festival at Castle Donington in Leicestershire, England.

Guitarist Slash is nicknamed Slosh by less kind pundits for his penchant to appear on stage intoxicated, while the band was also referred to as Lines N' Noses.

1990: Drummer Steven Adler is sacked during the recording of Use Your Illusion I and II. Released in September 1991, the albums debut at No1 and 2 on the charts and the band embarks on a two-year world tour.

Izzy Stradlin leaves the band and is replaced by Gilby Clarke.

JULY 1991: Rose dives into the crowd at a concert in St Louis after he spots a fan wielding a video camera.

The volatile singer then bad mouths security and storms off stage, resulting in a riot.

AUGUST 1992: The crowd riots after another Gunners' gig in Montreal.

Rose reportedly calls a halt to the show because his throat hurts, and the crowd, already agitated when Metallica cut short their gig go berserk.

JANUARY 1993: On the verge of imploding, the Gunners play to 71,000 people at Sydney's Eastern Creek with Rose Tattoo and US hard rockers Skid Row opening for them.

1994-1998: The band lose momentum with members repeatedly quitting and then rejoining.

Eventually Axl becomes the only original member still left in the group.

FEBRUARY 1998: Rose is arrested by Arizona police after an altercation at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. Arrested and photographed, Rose eventually pleads guilty to a charge of disturbing the peace.

FEBRUARY 1999: Rose's bizarre behaviour leaves a crowd of assembled musicians and industry bigwigs astounded when he refuses to attend his own 37th birthday party.

2000-2006: Rose becomes known as the Howard Hughes of hard rock and is rarely seen in public, instead spending millions recording Chinese Democracy, an album which still remains unreleased. Session musicians include the talented but bizarre Buckethead, so called because of his penchant for wearing a KFC bucket on his head.

MAY 2006: Axl Rose becomes involved in a fight, with of all people, fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. The stoush happens after Rose, who was about to take the stage to do an acoustic set at a birthday party, moves a drink belonging to Hilfiger's girlfriend. The designer attacks the rocker with a series of wild slaps. For once Rose shows considerable restraint and eventually security guards pull Hilfiger away.

JUNE 2006: Axl Rose is arrested and put in a cell after a fracas involving a hotel security guard in the Swedish city of Stockholm's Berns Hotel.

The security guard accuses Rose of biting him and the singer eventually agrees to pay fines and damages of $9000 to avoid any time in jail.


DATE: June 22, 2007

SOURCE: Townsville Bulletin

The Guide

guns don't fire

Selina Sharratt

22 June 2007

Townsville Bulletin

WHAT was the most exciting and entertaining rock outfit over a decade ago is now the kind of band that would have supported Guns N Roses in their heyday.

The highly anticipated arrival of arguably the world's biggest rock band at Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Wednesday night was a little disappointing. It was a lot of money to pay for a night of karaoke of the Gunners past hits.

No one wants to let the legend die but someone needs to tell the sole surviving original member Axl Rose that half-heartedly performing your old classics from an era that's gone by and offering little new material doesn't give a fan much choice.

Die-hards waited 14 years to hear their new album, Chinese Democracy.

But the band played only two or three songs from it.

Admittedly, the new album wasn't what the crowd had come to hear -- they wanted the hits and barely moved when the band wasn't playing them.

The band did their best to relive the heyday that saw members of Guns N Roses become rock gods. And the new lot gelled well with the famous front man.

The lights dimmed at about 11.30pm and that unmistakable riff let rip.

A few seconds later, just as expected that rustic voice screamed `Do you know where you are? You're in the jungle baby?'

The stage lit up and there standing in front of an adoring crowd was Axl Rose, about 10kg heavier but the man could still move.

And off he went. There were several occasions when it was hard to hear him and although it looked like he was trying hard, frankly he looked a little flat.

He said had sunk a few the night before and taken himself off to bed at about 8am that morning after `drowning his sorrows' from a poor showing in Brisbane the night before.

While the rock'n'roll lifestyle for the feisty redhead mightn't have changed, the fans have.

They're older now and seeing the first glimpse of the band at 11.30pm was too late. It's past our bedtime.

But no one went to sleep. That's the hard thing to explain about the concert. While it was flat in part, it was also a truly awesome experience to see the new look Gunners and hear that amazing sound and those amazing songs.

Fans hung on every word of their hits. Live and Let Die, Don't Cry, November Rain and my absolute favourite, Sweet Child O' Mine.

There were also some awesome solos on guitar that hushed the crowd for minutes at a time.

In fact I was surprised to find myself with one hand permanently fixed in the air thumping away with a closed-fist rock hand gesture for the duration of the show.

It's something you just have to see because of who they are and how much they impacted on the music scene way back when.

Don't get me wrong. The new line-up of musos is unreal and just as talented as, if not more than, the last lot. But they'd be better served doing their own thing.

People wanted to know if the Gunners could be like the band of old with only one remaining original member.

I'm torn.

The truth is Guns N Roses with only the rose just doesn't hit the mark.

Hearing the songs, seeing Axl -- that was priceless.

A good show -- a better CD collection.


DATE: June 20, 2007

SOURCE: Guardian Messenger

No Rose without a few thorns

Concert Review By MATT DEIGHTON

20 June 2007

Guardian Messenger

GUNS 'N' ROSES: Entertainment Centre, Wednesday, June 13.

THE Axl Rose Experience did a more-than-credible job of recreating some of the definitive songs of the past two decades at last week's gig.

To his credit, Rose has compiled a group of powerhouse musicians to tour the globe under the moniker (or more precisely misnomer) of Guns 'n' Roses.

As glorified tribute bands go these guys were exceptional, performing CD quality versions of some of the definitive songs of the past 20 years, namely Welcome to the Jungle, Mr Brownstone, It's So Easy, Paradise City, Night Train and, of course, Sweet Child O' Mine.

But they really came into their own when moving away from the GnR back catalogue, the highlights a brilliant duet by guitarists Robin Finck and Richard Fortus, which morphed from the Stones' Beast of Burden into Bob Marley's Redemption Song, and an instrumental version of Don't Cry by Eddie Van Halen clone Ron Thal.

Alas, this concert was always going to be a tad hollow for diehard GnR fans - a bit like seeing the Stones without Keef, the Beatles without John, Accadacca without Angus.

But that should not diminish the sheer power of the experience, the timelessness of the songs and the incredible stage presence of Rose.

The show was a belter, right up there with Velvet Revolver at the Thebbie in `04. But it left this reviewer with a slightly bitter aftertaste: What might have been had all the egos, drugs, booze and general stupidity not killed such a great band in its prime?

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