Las Vegas, House
Of Blues - Rose's New Guns Unveiled In Vegas.
It was over seven years in the making, but the general consensus is that it
was well worth waiting for.
Axl Rose debuted his new Guns N' Roses lineup at Las Vegas' House of Blues
in the wee small hours of New Year's Day, belting out an array of old
favorites and introducing a handful of new tunes to a capacity crowd of
1,800 ecstatic patrons.
GN'R kicked off the show with "Welcome to the Jungle" and finished with an
equally rousing "Paradise City," delivering other GN'R classics such as "Mr.
Brownstone," "Sweet Child o' Mine," "November Rain," "Patience," "My
Michelle" and "Think About You" in between.
band also rolled out a handful of previously unheard songs, including
"Chinese Democracy" - the title track off the band's long-long-long-awaited
album (see "Guns N' Roses To Release Album In June") - and "The Blues,"
"Silk Worms" and one untitled track, GN'R management confirmed.
GN'R also offered up a version of 1999's "Oh My God," their contribution to
the "End of Days" soundtrack.
Rose was "a little emotional" at the event, according to his longtime
manager, Doug Goldstein, who added that the singer hugged his close friends
in attendance and thanked them for their support.
The concert featured the expected lineup: guitarists Buckethead, Robin Finck
and Paul Tobias (a.k.a. Paul Huge); keyboardist Dizzy Reed; former Primus
drummer Brian "Brain" Mantia; and former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson,
who inspired Rose to joke, "'The Replacements' would be a good name for this
Keyboardist Chris Pitman, perhaps best known as a member of the Replicants
and for his work on Tool's Aenima, also joined the group onstage.
really looked happy to be playing with those guys," said LeAnne Eden, a GN'R
fan who flew in from Los Angeles for the show. "That's something that didn't
seem to be happening with the old band - during their last tour, anyway."
Onstage, Rose alluded to how he had begun rehearsals with his new bandmates
a few days prior to the show, another situation that rarely happened in days
gone by. (The band usually rehearsed without Rose in attendance.)
"[Rose] looked young and healthy. He was slimmer than when I saw him sit in
with Gilby last summer," Eden said, referring to Rose's only other outing in
seven years: an impromptu performance with former guitarist Gilby Clarke in
The two-hour show got underway at 3:30 a.m., after the club cleared the
house following a performance by the Goo Goo Dolls. GN'R started an hour
later than expected, although the club's publicist said the group never
intended to go on much earlier than 3:30 and that Rose's fabled tardiness
was not a factor.
Rose was "awesome" and totally at ease with the HOB staff as well as with
the audience, the publicist said.
Concertgoer Jeff Sheldon, who flew from Chicago for the show, said that Rose
made a point of crediting guitarist Tobias with getting him through the past
seven years, conveying that the two had played together since they were 12
- described alternately as a Kurt Cobain lookalike and as a paler,
nondescript version of Rose himself - stuck to rhythm duties, concertgoers
said, while ex-Nine Inch Nails member Finck, sporting eyeliner and black
lipstick, faithfully revisited ex-GN'R member Slash's guitar parts. New
twists and turns were added to the sonic texture by Buckethead, who wore his
customary white facemask and Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket atop his head.
Even though the audience was positioned directly before the stage, the
band's backdrop was a JumboTron-style, 25-foot, floor-to-ceiling video
screen augmented by a number of smaller monitors.
"It looked like they fit an arena-sized show into this club," Eden observed.
Security was incredibly tight, so fans may be hard-pressed to find live MP3s
or photos on the Web. "Not only were they confiscating cameras," Eden said,
"they were even going after cell phones."
The band's performance was preceded by an animated feature that poked fun at
Rose's media-perpetuated persona. The mercurial frontman was depicted in bed
- presumably having spent the last seven years in Brian Wilson-like
seclusion - carrying on conversations with Buddha and the odd alien, with a
music magazine used in lieu of toilet paper following a bedpan sequence.
Footage depicting a journey through a birth canal was also presented, among
other esoteric endeavors.
Next up, the band heads to South America, where it will play the gigantic
Rock in Rio festival on January 14.