I should start by saying that Guns N Roses.. the former, Guns N Roses.. was my favorite band of all time growing up. Personally I think the debacle between Slash and Axl has gone on far too long, and for the love of all things music – they should resolve their differences and go on tour sometime.
I realize this will never happen – a) they’re way too far apart and still hate each other and b) they’re getting too friggin old.
So, with that said, myself and Liz headed over last night to the Guns N Roses concert on sort of a ‘last minute’ type of road trip. We hadn’t really thought of going as unlike the AC/DC concert in the summer – we hadn’t heard anything about it leading up to the concert. It was by fluke I think someone mentioned it to me, and I started looking around for tickets to see if it was worthwhile going. It ended up very worthwhile as I ended up scoring tickets for $40 each (they were retailing for over $80) and I got to see some of my favorite songs of all time performed by their lead singer.
I have to admit that I wasn’t as excited to go see this concert due to the lack of the original members. No Izzy, no Duff, no Matt, no Slash… in fact, it was basically Axl and friends up there.. and apparentely he’s made a lot of new friends.. a full out concerto of 4 guitarists, one on the keyboards, drummer, and Axl make up the new Guns.
So on to the concert.. since I had non interest in seeing Danko Jones or Sebastien Bach – we decided to eat at Boston Pizza beforehand as we sort of rushed over after working all day. Glad we did for sure as it ends up that was the only thing we had to eat for the most part until it was over and we were home at 3:30am!
We arrived as Sebastien Bach was on stage.. we took our seats (which were excellent, but there weren’t really many ‘bad’ seats in the Moncton Colliseum, it’s a rather small spot). We then started to rock out with Sebastien.. he was actually very good.. Liz in particular really liked his energy on stage (even though he looked like a skeleton to me – apparentely that’s what 25 years of rockin hard will do to ya!). In fact, I don’t claim to be a music fanatic, but I was surprised as I usually am with opening bands with how many songs I actually recognized.
He was finishing up his set and he REALLY got the crowd going for GnR.. everyone was pumped and ready for Axl n Friends to go on stage.. we knew it was going to be awhile.. but it was 9:30pm.. figure 30 minute or 45… nope.. Axl arrives on stage shortly after 11pm. This really took some of the excitement and mood out of the atmosphere.
It didn’t take long however, for him to get it back.
Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of his latest work – I guess it’s just that it’s so far from the original sound of GnR that I guess it’s just a matter of me wanting to hear the old sounds back, but he started with something from his most recent Album and it was pretty good.. Nowhere, however, as good as his second number.. “Welcome to the Jungle”….
I couldn’t help it, we were joining the couple of idiots in front of us whom decided to stand the ENTIRE concert for whatever reason, but everyone around was up with their hands in the air and this is what we’d all been waiting (well me, for over 18 years) for!
Axl sounded AMAZING.. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but he sounded JUST like he did on the albums, and the guitarists replacing Slash did a very good job in keeping their own style, but also doing the song a lot of justice. It sounded unreal.
Two hours later, all the hits were played (except 2) that I can think of. Unfortunately for Axl, the crowd seemed to die down a bit around the songs that he’s on tour to promote (the Chinese Democracy songs), I believe it was due to the fact that most people were there for the same reason I was. The chance to hear GnR sing the songs we remember and hear all the time, not the album that basically took 15 years to make and was only mediocre at best.
November Rain, Mr. Brownstone, Nighttrain, Sweet Child O Mine.. they were all there… And they sounded unbelievable. Kudos to you Axl for sounding just as good (if not better) than you did 20 years ago.
The encore was also a treat for me personally, another opening song from Chinese Democracy.. but then the ‘surprise’ (which for me, is losing it’s originality) of Bubbles from the Trailer Park Boys showing up to sing ‘Liquor and Whores’. It was pretty good to hear Axl singing along in the background though – I didn’t expect that by any stretch.
Two songs left, and the first one he decided to play was a cover of my other favorite band.. they played ‘A Whole Lotta Rosie’ by AC/DC (which sounded GREAT!!), then the finale.. Paradise City! I mentioned that they didn’t play all the songs I wanted except 2? Well.. now that’s only 1, as the only one remaining not played was “Patience”. It’s too bad, as they played it in Calgary, but not in Toronto.. perhaps if he got on stage a bit earlier?
All in all, myself and Liz were ECSTATIC that we went, for me it was sort of a dream come true as I don’t consider myself a big concert goer – but in the last year I’ve seen my two favorite bands of all time – AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses.
Even if GnR isn’t the original members, in my opinion (and one that I realize isn’t always a popular one) the lead singer is the sound of the band to my ears. He was on key, he had very qualified members by his side, and he delivered an unreal musical experience for us. Even if he did keep us waiting.