Roses Live Review
11/13/2006 - 1st Mariner Arena - Baltimore, Maryland
by James Rodd
I am a Guns N' Roses fan. I am an Axl
Rose fan. In fact, I down right idolized him in my teenage years and tried
to emulate him in my hysterical attempts at musicianship.
I have seen GNR perform three times now,
each time with a different lineup.
The 1st time, 1989 or so, opening for Aerosmith
in the Meadowlands (or maybe it was Shea Stadium), NYC. This was just during
the break out success of Sweet Child O' Mine. Back then it was the absolute
original line up. Slash, Axl, Duff, Izzy and Steven Adler.
The 2nd time I saw them was in 1991. A
slightly different line up - Steve replaced by Matt Sorum and the addition
of Dizzy Reed. This was the Metallica, GNR show with Skid Row opening in
Madison Square Garden. One of the best shows I have ever been to, even
if it did result in me bombing my Spanish final the next day.
So this was my third time seeing them.
15 years had passed. The band itself is a shadow of what it was member
wise. The only original member is Axl himself. The only other name on stage
associated with GN'R of yester year was Dizzy Reed. So with all the hype
surrounding this band, the drama that is Axl, the album that we have been
waiting a decade for
How was it?
It was freaking awesome! I have been to
about 25 concerts, so far, in my lifetime. This was, by far, one of the
First off, attendance was a bit less than
I expected. By the time GN'R took the stage the arena was 2/3 - ¾
full. Not an abysmal turn out, but no where near the capacity crowd present
at the two previous shows I had attended. This is not a large arena by
any standard either. This led me to believe that these are the die hard
fans. With no new album to coax the next generation, it's the die hard's
that are present. When you look at it that way, and add in the time lapse,
it's a pretty good turn out.
Papa Roach, one of the opening acts for
the first leg of the tour, dropped off the bill after Friday night's, sold
out MSG show in NYC. I figured since no other opening act had been announced
that they would go with Sebastian Bach, the other opening band, and then
straight into GNR. I was wrong. We were treated to a 45 minute show by
the Suicide Girls. This is not a band folks. They're strippers. Naughty
strippers. Tattooed, pierced, and definitely on the Goth edge. 5 girls
writhing and contorting to a number of rock hits. At first, while clothed,
it was like a "Solid Gold" dance troupe, and the crowd and I seemed a bit
bewildered, but when those shirts came off, the shock swept across the
arena, and the crowd, 70% male, woke up. The girls put on a hell of a show.
Though I really wish they had the jumbo-tron working for a better view.
My only regret with this part of the show was that I had my 12 year old
son standing next to me. But then I thought about it, and this is rock
and roll after all. You can see worse on prime time TV lately.
The Suicide Girls were followed by Sebastian
Bach and his band. They were excellent. They performed a number of Skid
Row hits and three new originals that will be available on a forth coming
album. Bas was very professional. The band was very tight and looked to
be having a blast. Sebastian Back was very thankful of Axl and the opportunity
to be on tour with GN'R. It seemed a little too thankful, but then I thought
about it and in today's music climate, where would Bas and his band be
if it weren't for this tour? Exactly. So the thanks are sincere and most
probably warranted. The teaser of the three new tunes is enough to make
me want to purchase the album. I look forward to its release.
GN'R took the stage at about 11:30. The
arena went dark. Then a spotlight lit Robin Fink, formerly of Nine Inch
Nails, strummed the first few notes of "Welcome to the Jungle". Just a
few then stopped. Then a few more and stopped again. Very dramatic, very
effective. Each time he did this the bar grew by a measure and he was playing
a bit more of the intro to Jungle. Finally, he broke into the full sustained
intro as the lights came up and the pyro exploded. Axl took the stage like
a whirlwind. "Do you know where you are Baltimore? You're in the Jungle
Baby. You're going down!" And like a punch to the head they were off.
This is the tightest band I have ever seen
performing GN'R. I am a die hard Slash fan. I'd love to see the original
GN'R back on stage together. But if you can't have Slash, Robin Fink and
'Bumblefoot' are a pretty damn good replacement. These guys are virtuosos.
I couldn't even keep up with who was playing lead. They switched off so
effortlessly and played so damn well that it was truly hard to distinguish.
They really complemented each other and seriously love the music. You can't
play with that kind of passion and not love it. I can remember a few re-starts
of songs at those other two shows in the past; there was nothing like that
here. These guys came out, a professional unit, and threw down the gauntlet.
Rock is not dead people. It was recharging or something, but it's not dead.
About 20 songs later it was over. Time
went by like a flash. They covered all the hits and standards. Threw in
a few goodies like "Down on the Farm" from the Spaghetti Incident
and an electric version of "I Used to Lover Her" from Lies. They
played three songs from the upcoming album, "the Blues," "Better" and "Chinese
Axl's voice was stronger than I recall.
He hit every note and really showed of his range and ability to hold notes.
I can't say enough about Robin Fink and Bumblefoot. I was in awe of them
the whole show. The replacement drummer, Frank Ferrar, stepping in for
Brian "Brain" Mantia, was damn good too. No flashy solo's by him, but a
true professional through and through. I was always impressed by the massive
kit Matt Sorum used and kind of felt, to play the skins for GN'R it must
require a kit that big. But Mr. Ferar pounded out the tunes effortlessly
on a normal sized kit. Proving it's the musician not the instrument.
The set list for the show went like this:
Welcome to the Jungle
It's So Easy
Live and Let Die
Knockin on Heaven's Door
Robin Fink Solo
Sweet Child O' Mine
You Could Be Mine
Dizzy Reed Piano Solo on a Baby Grand
wheeled to center stage, Axl on the maraca's of all things, a very cool
reggae like instrumental version of Knockin on Heaven's Door.
Bumblefoot joined by Robin Fink for
a truly bad ass, blues solo
Out to Get Me
November Rain, Axl on the wheeled out
Baby Grand this time
Down Here on the Farm
My Michelle, joined onstage by Sebastian
I Used to Love Her
It has always been a guilty pleasure of
mine to hear the solo albums of great bands. I've always felt it gives
you a behind the scenes look at the heart of a band. Find out who the true
creative entity is. Though this new album was not a solo effort per say,
its pretty obvious who the driving force behind GN'R truly was, in concert
and on the new tracks. W. AXL ROSE.
Axl made a serious effort to come back
out and thank the audience for their attendance and to show his appreciation
for their appreciation. This was way different than the mic slam to the
floor that ended the previous two shows I had seen. It seems AXL has grown
up, GN'R has evolved and has the potential to rule supreme again, and I
thank you Axl. Now get that album out. There's still six more Tuesday's
left in 2006.
and Purchase GNR CDs Online
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