Let me ask you a question. Have you ever witnessed, in person, over 50,000 people going absolutely crazy? If you haven’t you were clearly not in MetLife Stadium the other night as the opening notes of “Welcome to the Jungle” hit the crowd. I’ve never heard anything so loud…..that is until it happened again about an hour later at the beginning of “Sweet Child O’Mine”. The impact was intense as the stadium erupted and I could literally feel the ground beneath me shake. Almost 30 years after the debut of Appetite For Destruction, Guns N Roses (well, three fifths of them) were back.
So many questions surrounded the “Not in This Lifetime” tour. Will Axl show up on time? Will Axl be a prima donna? Will they sound good? Will they keep it together for the whole tour? Where’s Izzy? Should I get tickets? Allow me to solve some of the mystery. Let’s start from the beginning and hit the highlights.
Show of hands….How many of us have been to a show where the opening act is some nameless/faceless nobody? Yeah, that didn’t happen here and if you are the type of person who skips the opener, you would have made a heinous mistake on this evening. In place of the typical snoozer was the one and only Lenny Kravitz and he was anything but a filler act. Without introduction, Mr. Kravitz strolled onto the stage with the smooth swagger only he can project. With a quick greeting to the audience, he launched into his set with “Bring It On” and played for a solid hour. With the exception of the audible cheers of the audience, anyone could argue they were hearing cuts straight off the album as opposed to the live version. That is how great Lenny sounds. He tore through favorites such as “Let Love Rule”and threw down an extended jam session during “Mama Said”. Before wrapping things up he exclaimed, “Fuck it! Let’s do one more!” and then propelled into “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” Lenny and his band play with a contagious enthusiasm and clearly have a blast on stage. Impeccable opening act and hardly a sleeper.
Guns N’ Roses
Anyone aware of the infamous Guns n’ Roses reputation knows Axl Rose never won any awards for his punctuality. magine the audience’s surprise when the house lights dropped roughly 45 minutes later and The Looney Tunes theme began the show. Accompanied by the mean opening riff of “It’s So Easy” GnR emerged with Axl leading the storm. Thus began a 2 hour and 40 minute set in which it was nearly impossible to peel your eyes away from the enormous screens present to aid in a larger than life presentation. These screens also made it noticeable just how much hotter it was onstage for GnR as sweat routinely poured off Axl’s bent elbow and Slash looked as if was literally melting. Axl ran through an uncountable amount of wardrobe changes, wearing shirts that said “The B–tch Is Back,” “Show Some ass” (with a woman in stockings bent over) and more, while Slash appropriately wore a shirt that said “New York F–ckin’ City.” Duff took a more subtle approach and paid tribute to two fallen icons, rocking a shirt with Lemmy Kilmister‘s iconic face and Prince‘s purple insignia mounted on the body of his bass.
But, did they sound good? No. They sounded incredible. Granted, Axl may not quite get ALL the high notes EVERY time but it is clear he saves his voice to ensure he reaches the most impactful parts. That being said I did take issue with a few things.
Axl Rose is a great singer. He is not a great front man.
Let me clarify this statement. Rose ran around the stage like in the old days and maintained a cartoonish, dramatic gaze, which added to the show’s intensity. He even still does the Axl dance, which we all know he ripped off from Davy Jones. (Don’t believe me? See video below). He just wasn’t very involved with the audience or his band members. Personally, I think he could have been a bit more interactive.
The Set list
Guns plowed through the hits and they were phenomenal. However, I guarantee not ONE person in attendance desired to hear ANYTHING off Chinese Democracy. Unfortunately, we heard three tracks. In addition to this, Guns N’ Roses played an array of covers including Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and the last part of “Layla”. I would have much rather heard a deeper track from Appetite or Lies than any of these selections. How about “Used to Love Her” or “Patience”? Just sayin, I would rather have 2 hours of the good stuff than almost 3 hours of good mixed in with fillers.
Mr. Saul Hudson
That’s Slash to you and me. After this performance, I am convinced one of the following must be true:
Slash sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his impeccable guitar skills.
Slash is some sort of mythical monster in a top hat who uses his powers to rock.
What can one say about Slash? Not only is he STILL one of the coolest guys in music he also doesn’t miss a note and makes it all look easy. Even in stifling 97 degree heat with sweat pouring off him in buckets the dude put on a seemingly effortless showcase with unbelievable intensity in his typical stoic fashion. After one particularly impressive display of Slash’s guitar god skills, Axl Rose smiled at his band mate and then turned to the crowd with a grin before declaring, “That’s some bad ass shit, isn’t it? Yes, yes it is. Enough said.
So, was it worth standing around in sweltering heat? Absolutely! Despite the aforementioned gripes on my part, the show itself is more than worth the price of admission. Especially if you missed the party the first time around. The Guns show rolls on and is headed to the west coast. Future dates include Dodger Stadium, University of Phoenix Stadium, and other assorted California venues. Get a ticket and board the Night train.
Until the next show,
Westside—Your East Coast Connection