We can see it already, crowds pack into the
warehouse-like Joint, bumping and pushing one another, waiting
grumpily in the booze line for a half-hour, just trying to
find a spot to wedge themselves in to watch the concert event
of the new year.
About two or three hours into this song and
dance, out steps the notorious Axl Rose--lead singer for G N'
R. And also the social hermit who's infamous for his chronic
Hey, Vegas, welcome to the Joint, time for n'
If you're still looking for something to do on
New Year's Eve, you could possibly still catch one of the
hardest rock bands to come out of the '80s. The legendary
Sunset Strippers--equal parts heavy and hair metal--Guns N'
Roses are gonna be back in Vegas.
Last New Year's Eve, Guns N' Roses put on, for
one night only at the House of Blues, probably the most
talked-about comeback of 2001--a comeback who's hype fizzled
out by mid-January, and by summer we didn't even care any
First and foremost, please remove any
preconceived notions that Axl's new band sucks. The new group
elicits thoughts of pure, unadulterated talent. It won't be
difficult sitting through any of the two upcoming shows. It's
an opportunity to listen and watch a former recluse and
precarious frontman reclaim--or attempt to reclaim--his
previous rock 'n' roll glory.
Axl is a new man. I'm not referring to him as
being "born again" in a biblical sense, thank God. Simply put,
I'm referring to his demeanor and interaction with fans. In
the past, Axl was infamous for his tumultuous outbursts--hey,
if someone threw a bottle at you, you'd be pissed off, too.
Needless to say, he's older and wiser now. The days of
throwing temper tantrums are over. Walking off stage isn't an
option in Axl's play book anymore. He needs all the help he
can get just re-launching his G N' R affair.
At the same time, Axl hasn't lost his edge.
He's still got that voice. He's sounding better than ever in
his role as frontman of this always controversial and
so-called dangerous band. His stage presence complements the
chemistry of his new super group.
If last year's show was any indication, he'll
re-hash much of the original G N' R's material. Axl and Co.
will likely perform many songs from Appetite For
Destruction, such as "Night Train," "Mr. Brownstone" and
"Rocket Queen," while throwing in a bunch of stuff from Use
Your Illusion I and II.
Audiences may miss Slash, Izzy, Duff and
Steven, but the lineup change is positive and adds a creative
edge. In fact, when Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler parted
ways, they were replaced by two talented guys, Gilby Clarke
and Matt Sorum. The only original member joining Axl on stage
this time will be keyboardist Dizzy Reed. The lineup from the
last year's show
also included Robin Finck, Kentucky
Friend Chicken's favorite spokesperson, Buckethead, Paul
Tobias, former Replacement Tommy Stinson and Brian "Brain"
These guys are extraordinarily animated, much
like past members, so it won't be a bore. Sure, fans might
miss Slash with his black tophat, sunglasses and a cigarette
dangling out of his mouth. But Buckethead sports a mask over
his face and a KFC bucket over his head. You gotta love that.
But recent rumors suggest that Buckethead's presence is
questionable due to past medical problems, so we'll see.
The G N' R look is obviously
different from those who did their tour of duty from '87 to
'93--especially noticeable is Axl's beefed-up frame. Like an
inmate biding his time, he must've been hitting the weights.
One thing is for sure, this new group of musicians should be
ready to perform after sitting on their asses for practically
And that's nothing compared to the time it's
taken to make the album. Axl has been working on this "new"
album for supposedly about five years. The working title is
Chinese Democracy, and it features new songs called
"The Blues," "Silk Worm," and "Madagascar," which are also
possible fodder for the upcoming shows.
So, another New Year's, another G N' R show.
But, while the world may know exactly where Axl is for one
night, the question remains--will he still be able to rock? Or
will he disappear back into oblivion?
Come on, boys, get in the ring.