GUNS N’ ROSES IN SEATTLE!!!!
Guns N’ Roses are currently on their first US tour in 5 years. Tonight at Seattle’s Key Arena they were supported by Seattle’s own Duff McKagan’s Loaded, Duff was the original bass player for Guns N’ Roses, who these days probably should be called “Axl Rose and some other guys” because he as the co-founder is the only original member left in the band.
The concert was meant to kick off around 8pm, but Loaded didn’t come on stage until 9pm. This had me a bit worried as I thought there might have been some backstage issues. None the less Loaded rocked the crowd for an hour and put on a great show. This local band was well received and Duff even crowd surfed!
Then at 10.30pm Guns N’ Roses took to the stage and it was obvious that all was going to be ok as soon as we heard Axl scream the words “Do you know where you are, you’re in the jungle baby?” and the band ripped into Welcome To The Jungle! The band played really well together and has been expanded quite a bit these days with three guitarists: DJ Ashba (since 2009), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (since 2006) and Richard Fortus (since 2002); bass player Tommy Stinson (since 1998); drummer Frank Ferrer (since 2006) and two keyboardists: Dizzy Reed (since 1990 the only band member left from the Use Your Illusion era – also plays piano) and Chris Pitman (since 1998).
The sound was great and the stage lighting, screens and pyrotechnics were ample and complemented the show really well. The absolute highlight though was Axl’s voice, which is still strong and he hit all the high notes (plus he never stood still; dancing and running about the stage all night, he was the Axl of old. It’s hard to believe he is nearly 50 years old!). Amazingly they played for 3 hours and I have to say they were brilliant! Not bad for $50!
Their set list included all the big hits (see brief history below), plus some interesting covers: AC/DC’s Riff Raff and Whole Lotta Rosie, Pink Floyd’s The Wall and even the Pink Panther Theme (strange yet cool)! Duff McKagan joined the band to play You Could Be Mine which was awesome and had the crowd going crazy!
Just when we all thought the encore was over Axl said he was having fun and wanted to do a few more songs….the crowd went crazy!The finale of the show was Paradise City which was a big crowd sing-along, followed by some serious pyrotechnics. Axl and the band came back out on stage, thanked the crowd and took a bow. A fantastic way to finish the show and I have to rate this as one of the best concerts I have been to.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF G N’ R
Guns N’ Roses formed in Los Angeles, California in 1985 and quickly took the world by storm with their classic line up of Axl Rose – lead vocals, Slash – lead guitar, Duff McKagan – bass, Izzy Stradlin – rhythm guitar and Steven Adler – drums. They have sold over 100 million records and really lead (and revived) the hard rock music scene in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s.
Appetite for Destruction (1987) was their first major label studio release and remains their best album in my opinion (also their biggest seller with over 28 million albums sold in the US alone). This release contained many of their greatest songs including Welcome To The Jungle, It’s So Easy, Paradise City, Sweet Child O’ Mine and Rocket Queen.
Their next studio album was G N’ R Lies (1988) which contained four previously released EP tracks and four acoustic numbers. The only major single from this album was Patience.
The first albums were followed by two simultaneous studio releases in 1991: Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II (they hit number 2 and number 1 respectively on the US Billboard Charts). Volume I included Live And Let Die (a Paul McCartney cover), Don’t Cry and November Rain. Volume II included Civil War, Yesterday’s, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (a Bob Dylan cover) and You Could Be Mine (also used in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie soundtrack for Terminator II).
The last studio release with the classic line up was “The Spaghetti Incident?” (1993) which was a punk and glam rock covers album including Raw Power (The Stooges) and Human Being (New York Dolls). The title relates to a food fight between Axl Rose and Steven Adler and was a major focus in Adler’s lawsuit against the band in 1993 where it was referred to as the “The Spaghetti Incident”!
Steven Adler was fired from the band in 1990 due to his heroin addiction and was replaced by Matt Sorum on drums. In 1991 Izzy Stradlin quit the band. After 1993 the band had not toured for 3 years. Slash left in 1996 due to indifference with Axl Rose (particularly over Axl starting concerts really late, his erratic behaviour and walk offs which sometimes caused riots; and his manipulation of band contracts etc that more or less made the other members just employees). In 1997 Matt Sorum was fired and a few months later Duff McKagan quit. That was the end of the classic era of Guns N’ Roses.
The band was in hiatus from 1994 to 1998 apart from the release of The Rolling Stones cover Sympathy For The Devil (1994) which was the last to feature Slash and Duff. The band never actually broke up as many other band members have come and gone since the early 1990’s, but the only album released around that period was The Live Era ’87-’93 (1999).
A new song Oh My God was released for another Arnold Schwarzenegger movie soundtrack: End Of Days in 1999, but nothing much else was happening for Guns N’ Roses until they started to do some concerts in 2001 – 2002. They went into another hiatus until 2004, and then again until 2006.
Finally in 2007 some new tracks were leaked from what had become in the recording industry something akin to Ahab’s ill-fated chase of Moby Dick , a new Guns N’ Roses album Chinese Democracy! The album was not actually released until 2008 (a 15 year gap between studio albums), but the band had reportedly first begun to work on it way back in 1994 (although there were no big hits, the album sold reasonably well around the world)! They toured this new album in 2009-2010 (Duff played some songs with the band during a show in London in 2010) and this tour has more or less extended into 2011 (not under the Chinese Democracy banner though, just as North American Tour 2011) and is the first US tour since 2006.
THE FUTURE OF G N’ R
Apparently Axl has been working on a lot of new material (enough for 3 albums!). Hopefully we do not have to wait 15 years for a new studio album!
In April 2012 Guns N’ Roses will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Early on in tonight’s concert, Axl Rose stopped the music and took time to pay tribute to his former band members and congratulated them all on being inducted into the hall of fame which I thought was a great gesture. Maybe at the event it could be the first time since 1996/1997 that the classic Guns N’ Roses line-up will appear together….hopefully they may even forget the past and play some music as the true band once again? We can only hope!