Yeah, I went to this show, and yeah, I unfortunately had a crappy time. Sobeit. It wasn't the band's fault; no, I'd seen the Axl-and-a-stageful-of-schmucks revue twice before and fucking loved it both times. LOVED it. And certainly the material at hand can't be blamed; Guns N' Roses were the first band in the history of my epic music nerd-dom that I went totally batshit obsessive over, and I never really outgrew that phase. Appetite is, after all, one of the ten best albums by anyone ever, and Illusion II ain't far behind.
So, it's impossible for me to really temper my divergent feelings on this show - I love the music of Guns N' Roses, but this show could've been a whole lot better. So instead of a traditional show review, here's the first ten things that popped into my head when I sat down to write this review.
1.) The main problem with charging $150 per ticket for a show with only 48 hours notice is that you limit your crowd basically to total douchebags and leisure-class shitheads. In other words, if you want to bring a Manhattan crowd into Brooklyn, here's how you do it. As a result, this was THE ABSOLUTE WORST crowd I've ever seen at a show, hands down - a roomful of spoiled, entitled schmucks (myself included, I guess). The only people I actually saw moving around were the blacked-out meathead assholes elbowing their way through the packed crowd.
2.) Axl looks really, really bad. He's old and fat, and that creepy-ass pencil handlebar moustache does him no favors. There's only so much that those dinner plate-sized aviators can conceal, breh.
3.) More importantly, Axl sounded like shit. The first time I saw Axl n' Roses was in November '11 in Hartford, CT, and his singing was so improbably on point at that show that my friends and I suspected that he might have been lipsynching. Well, not tonight. I've heard rumors that on this tour he's been ducking backstage as needed to take refreshing hits of oxygen, and at this show he sounded seriously winded.
4.) In Axl's defense, apparently he was sick. He mentioned that he was having stomach issues, and supposedly that's what led to them cut the show short, only performing 20 songswhereastheytypically do 30 orso. Stomach ailment or not, it's hard to not feel cheated when they don't play "November Rain," "Don't Cry," "Patience," "You Could Be Mine," and all kinds of other stuff. On the other hand, the good side of them cutting the set short is that they only did two songs off of the hot, steaming turd that is Chinese Democracy.
5.) To his credit, Axl didn't seem to let the crowd's extreme suckitude get to him. Seriously, in the old days, Axl would've gotten pissy, slammed down his mic, flipped off the crowd and stormed offstage, and a riot would've likely followed. On this night, he made a couple of comments about the show being "weird" (yes, playing a bowling alley is probably weird for a guy who has filled football stadiums), but he generally seemed amused at the unusual setting.
6.) I always wondered why the band needed three guitarists, and being as close as I was to the stage all night (no more than 5 or 6 people back the entire show), it became pretty obvious that while two of the three guitarists are holding down the actual "playing music" part of the gig, the third guitarist is invariably mugging it up on top of the monitors striking hoary rock star poses. The three guys seem to switch off accordingly from song to song and solo to solo. That's fuckin' lame.
7.) DJ Ashba should be dealt a severe beating, not only for stealing Slash's stage moves, Les Paul and top hat, but for covering said top hat and Les Paul with glitter. Super lame.
8.) One of the guitarists, "Bumblefoot," plays a double neck guitar for much of the set, only instead of one 6-string and one 12-string on it, it's two 6-strings (one fretless). Seriously, wtf? I have honestly never seen that before, and I have no clue why that instrument would be useful to a musician, other than to look "cool." Fuck that.
9.) Fundamentally, much of my disappointment with this show is my own fault since I willingly chose "being super close to the stage all night" over "hydration," "beer," "bathroom breaks," and "comfort." Whatever. Lesson learned, or something.
10.) Under any / all circumstances, and in any setting, "Estranged" is still pretty much the greatest thing ever.