Just watched Guns N' Roses and Slash

Bubbletonic

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I spent this last weekend at Hellfest:

Full Lineup: HELLFEST Open Air 2012 - France

Hellfest was due to have Black Sabbath close the festival, but since Iommi dropped out they got "Ozzy and Friends" as replacement. The "Friends" were Geezer Butler, Zakk Wylde and Slash and therefore the festival also booked Black Label Society and Slash with Myles Kennedy. This resulted in Guns N' Roses and Slash playing the same venue on back to back nights - same venue, same crowd, etc etc. I feel I'm pretty unbiased as I like Slash's work in Guns and post Guns, but I'm also part of a majority that liked Chinese Democracy.

1) Guns N' Roses

I've seen this current incarnation of Guns N' Roses twice before - Download Festival 2006 when they first re-emerged and then later that same year in an arena show. Guns headlined the Saturday night and despite what was expected they actually turned up and started right on time.... all EIGHT of them.

Here is the setlist from Guns that night:

Chinese Democracy
Welcome to the Jungle
It's So Easy
Mr. Brownstone
Sorry
Rocket Queen
Estranged
Better
Richard Fortus Guitar Solo
Live and Let Die
(Paul McCartney & Wings cover)
This I Love
Shackler's Revenge
Motivation
(Tommy Stinson song) (Tommy Stinson on lead vocals, with band introductions)
Dizzy Reed Piano Solo
(Baba O'Riley)
Street of Dreams
You Could Be Mine
DJ Ashba Guitar Solo
(Mi Amor 2.0)
Sweet Child O' Mine
Instrumental Jam
(Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2)
Axl Rose Piano Solo
(Goodbye Yellow Brick Road/… more)
November Rain
Glad to Be Here
(Bumblefoot cover) (Bumblefoot on lead vocals)
Don't Cry
Civil War
Knockin' On Heaven's Door
(Bob Dylan cover)
Nightrain
Encore:
Paradise City

I fully enjoyed my two previous experiences with new Gn'R but unfortunately the same cannot be said about this particular show and I walked out after the Dizzy Reed piano solo for reasons I will get into.

Guns had the biggest stage show of any other band that was at the festival - huge screens all over the back wall and on all the risers, fireworks and confetti but the screens spent half of the time showing only what I can describe as the swirling visualisations you get in windows media player and the rest of the time they showed completely unrelated pieces of film footage as if they were trying to tell a story - but it made no sense.

The sound was also terribly mixed and I mean awful. The vocals were loudest which wasn't to Axl's benefit because he seemed out of breath the whole time, clearly not as young as he used to be and he kept missing out words in the middle of lines so he could take another quick breath. Apart from the vocals all you could hear pretty much was the bass guitar and drums. The EQ was incredibly bass heavy but the actually bass guitar was cranked right up, you could hear every little fill and even whether he was picking, plucking and how hard in comparison to the electric guitars - of which there were three of them, were barely audible.

The three lead guitarists they have now were acting like world air guitar champions, they knew ALL the moves. They were all dressed different - Ron Thal / Bumblefoot was dressed like a Samurai (sans armour) and was toting his double neck Vigier. 'DJ Ashba' looked as usual like an embarrassing Slash cameo with his top hat on. While Richard Fortus had turned up dressed like Izzy Stradlin's twin brother.

Because there were three guitarists and most of the songs only require two the 'third' wheel in each song got to run around and just make 'sound effects' over everything like harmonic squeels and just aimlessly running a slide up and down the neck. The band didn't sound as tight as when I'd seen them before, there was a lot of playing on top of each other and they didn't lock together properly, 3 guitarists was overkill. Though saying that - they have 2 keyboard players and that'll be 3 during November Rain. Dj Ashba is the least enjoyable to listen to though because he phrases his bends different to how they were originally recorded. Ashba wasn't in the band for any studio work so in my opinion should play the parts how they were written and how the audience expects they to sound. Instead he waves his guitar around above his head and plays iconic lead lines either too fast or too slow or most noticeably too fast or slow bends so they don't fit how they should. He plays with an arrogance that doesn't become of someone hired to playback other peoples' music.

As I said previously, I left during the piano solo because the poor sound quality, poor vocal performance and cheesy air-guitar-esk stage antics had gotten the better of me. Everytime there was a lead break Axl would leave the stage and because he pretty much gave each member their own solo piece it meant that sometimes he wandered off for for 10 - 15 minutes at a time. Most of these band introduction / solo pieces were just the guitarists showing how fast they could play tuneless scales and runs...

I listened to the rest of the show from a far - trying to get far enough away so that the bass wouldn't drown out the rest of the guitars. But unfortunately not far enough away so that I couldn't hear Ashba phrase the November Rain solo 'wrong'.

The rest of the crowd also slowly dissipated through the night and Axl failed to rally the crowd up despite most of them having turned up just to see Guns. It was quite sad to watch as everyone who wasn't stage centre in the crowd stood with arms folded and even more noticeable when it was their turn to sing along...

So to conclude for 'Guns N' Roses' - I don't think I'll be going to see them again. I liked Chinese Democracy, I thoroughly enjoyed the previous shows I'd seen with them when they had Robin Fink but now it seems like they've spent far too long around Axl Rose and he can't even deliver like he could in 2006. I guess 6 years is a long time.


2) Slash and Myles Kennedy

Sunday night had Slash and Myles Kennedy opening up for Ozzy Osbourne.

Here is Slash's Setlist:

One Last Thrill
Nightrain
(Guns N' Roses song)
Ghost
Standing in the Sun
Back From Cali
Mr. Brownstone
(Guns N' Roses song)
Halo
Anastasia
Sweet Child O' Mine
(Guns N' Roses song)
You're a Lie
Slither
(Velvet Revolver song)
Paradise City
(Guns N' Roses song)

There are fewer Guns' songs in there now because he is building up a considerable back catalogue of his own now. The band was the polar opposite of the Guns' show the previous night. There was no excessive flash and show (unless you count the 3 full stacks - but that's nothing compared to Zakk Wylde's 10), just a 5 piece band who looked to be having fun together.

DSC01088.jpg
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The sound was great, the performance was great and they really rallied the crowd. Everyone in the place was jumping and singing along to the Guns' songs that they'd stood arms folded for the night before and this was even in the pouring rain.

The atmosphere produced by the Guns' N Roses show was very plastic and artificial. Axl Rose looked very detached from the real world - his outfit was as if he'd gone up to a runway fashion designer and asked to look "Rock and Roll" so he got a leather cowboy hat and aviators. Whereas the Slash show was a real party and it became glaringly obvious having seen these two back to back which one should be getting my ticket money next time their in town.


....There is a reason that New GNR haven't released a live album/DVD and Slash has. Though Guns would have looked better had they followed the Ozzy Osbourne performance :laugh2:
 

hidetox

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dude.
it was an awesome review. almost felt that I was there.... I cant comment on any Guns show as I have not attended one... but for the slash's show...

it was just plain raw - rock and roll.. nothing fanciful like videos and stuffs.. just a huge banner behind the drummer and they're all set to roll...
 

OldBenKenobi

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I saw Slash in 2010 and ever since that show I will always defend him from his haters. The dude puts on a rockin show.
 

kfowler8

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I'm a big Slash supporter. He's the reason I started playing guitar. I'm also a huge GnR fan. Original band at least. I haven't heard enough of Axl's new mates to make a comment.

I saws GnR and Metallica together back in '92. A lot of what you described was the same back then. Weird images in the background. Axl talking too much. Strippers on stage. They were good when they played. Metallica was awesome. One song after another. Very little glit. Just straight up rock.
 

dudu

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My feelings exactly. I saw both acts in 2010. Slash felt like GNR, GNR didn't. Thanks for sharing your angle.
 

Hackubus

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The missus & I went to the GNR concert in KCMO last November. I went in with an open mind.

DJ Slash-ba totally ruined it for me. Even in my cheap ass seats, I could see he was clearly telegraphing this "ok I'm gonna do this, then I'm gonna that, then I'm gonna do this move, and it'll be so cool!"- moves. *giggle slap tee hee hee*.
I wanted to pop his dreamy eyes outta his head and skull **** him right there on the spot in front of everybody.

It's obvious he's Axhole's pet. He plays all the signature riffs & licks while Bumblefoot & Fortus (who I thought was a complete MONSTER on guitar) are pushed into the background. It's painfully obvious to me Fortus = Izzy & Bumblefoot's just there to play all the shreddy Buckethead shit the other two can't pull off.
 

Bluesky

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I so wish Axel would go broke so he would have to come down to earth. What a prick. he sooooooooo needs to be humbled. :slash:
 

Bubbletonic

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I so wish Axel would go broke so he would have to come down to earth. What a prick. he sooooooooo needs to be humbled. :slash:

When the Slash and Myles band start getting booked for the big shows, Axl will be out of a job
 

thedonal

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I bet the backstage arrangements took some doing...
 

Bubbletonic

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I bet the backstage arrangements took some doing...
Separate stages to limit their exposure to one another!:slash:

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Nah they played on different days and you can bet they got Axl moving as soon as his set finished, he has no need for muddy fields with his snake skin boots and alligator jackets.
 

RavenMadd

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way to not sugar coat them.....I was at their nyc Ritz show back 8 million years ago...their shows after never compared ... sucked at the meadowlands gig ...Axl is in some trip ...Slash is a very nice guy ....as a fellow recoverer I really respect his honesty ......
 

McDegga

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I saw GNR in the late 1980's when they toured with Aerosmith. They were a lot of fun and nailed THE SHOW. Mr. Rose threw his hat into the crowd, then tried to start a fight with the audience member who caught it and would not return it. It was actually quite embarrassing to watch his douchery. Sad, really. I heard some of their recent live stuff and I have to say that this is clearly a case of the musicians making the band. Mr. Rose is not a musician.

Slash is a better guitarist than Axel is a frontman.

My money is on Slash. The latest incarnation is nothing more than a cover band.

Just my $.02, that's all.
 

thedonal

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Separate stages to limit their exposure to one another!:slash:
...
.


That'll do it!

I saw GNR in the late 1980's when they toured with Aerosmith. They were a lot of fun and nailed THE SHOW. Mr. Rose threw his hat into the crowd, then tried to start a fight with the audience member who caught it and would not return it. It was actually quite embarrassing to watch his douchery. Sad, really. I heard some of their recent live stuff and I have to say that this is clearly a case of the musicians making the band. Mr. Rose is not a musician.

Slash is a better guitarist than Axel is a frontman.

My money is on Slash. The latest incarnation is nothing more than a cover band.

Just my $.02, that's all.

In all fairness, I do think that Axl is an amazing songwriter and singer. Chinese Democracy is a good example of that (and his voice isn't nearly as nasal as om the Illusion albums- mic choice or eq, probably). He just lets himself down in other ways...
 

Joe Dirty

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I first saw GNR in 87' when they were opening for Motley Crue. I only have a partial memory of that epic night but they rocked the house. I remember us saying get these nobodies off the stage so we can see some Crue.
 

Dr. Arkam

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I was just listening to AFD last night, it got me thinking about how awesome they could have been. I'm a huge Slash fan, no not a fanboy, some of his stuff does kinda suck, but once Izzy left they went to hell. If the Illusions were one album with the BS taken out it coulda been a great one though, as they are they're just really good with some bad mixed in. "Get in the Ring?" Really?

And thanks for the review, I'm hoping that I'll be able to see Slash one day, he needs to come to Va.
 

TheRover09

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I was just listening to AFD last night, it got me thinking about how awesome they could have been. I'm a huge Slash fan, no not a fanboy, some of his stuff does kinda suck, but once Izzy left they went to hell. If the Illusions were one album with the BS taken out it coulda been a great one though, as they are they're just really good with some bad mixed in. "Get in the Ring?" Really?

And thanks for the review, I'm hoping that I'll be able to see Slash one day, he needs to come to Va.

What's wrong with Get In The Ring? A giant **** off to the media world sounds good by me...
 

Dr. Arkam

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What's wrong with Get In The Ring? A giant **** off to the media world sounds good by me...

Ehh, I guess but as a song it's friggin horrible. The Illusions have some great songs on them, November Rain, Civil War, Estranged, Don't Cry, but there's some crap in there too. They had one albums worth of greatness and decided to go with two mediocre albums, doesnt make sense. Again, just my humble opinion.
 

thedonal

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Ehh, I guess but as a song it's friggin horrible. The Illusions have some great songs on them, November Rain, Civil War, Estranged, Don't Cry, but there's some crap in there too. They had one albums worth of greatness and decided to go with two mediocre albums, doesnt make sense. Again, just my humble opinion.

A common symptom of double albums or twin album releases that.
 

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