Jaz review of the "29th" concert from the bar forum

The following list is to the best of my recollection and notes. There may have been a mistake but I'm pretty sure this is how it went. It was almost identical to last year's setlist with a few changes in the order here and there as well as a couple of MIA's in the list...

1. Welcome To The Jungle 2. It's So Easy 3. Mr. Brownstone 4. Live And Let Die 5. Buckethead Solo 6. Oh My God 7. Think About You 8. You Could Be Mine 9. Sweet Child O' Mine 10. Knockin' On Heaven's Door 11. Out Ta Get Me 12. Madagascar 13. Rocket Queen 14. November Rain 15. Chinese Democracy 16. The Blues 17. Buckethead Solo 18. Patience 19. Silkworms 20. My Michelle 21. Paradise City

I can't recall with certainty when the rant by Axl occurred but I'm pretty positive it was after Rocket Queen and before November Rain.

THE BAND: Axl Rose: Damn this guy was awesome. His vocals are still yet better (aside from some technical glitches) and physically, he continues to improve as well. He wore a Raiders #12 jersey of L.A. Quarterback Rich Gannon (sad thing they had to lose the game the next day despite a gallant effort by Gannon himself I guess) who's name could be noticed on his upper back of the jersey. Later when he wore the open black shirt, you could see his abdominals as ripped as ever. At one point he leaned across the drum rack with one arm and you could notice he was shredded as hell across the waist, critics can forget about trying to label him as "fat". He had that Braveheart look for his hair, braids on each side at the front of his ears. He moved around quite a lot as usual and he did greet the front row fans with some handshakes. At the end of Paradise City, Axl did this thing where he stretched progressively backwards... and backwards... and backwards, into some semi-circular arch. In another thing with the fans, he ended the show by throwing his microphone into the audience.

Robin Finck: This guy probably impressed me the most alongside Axl. He was very energetic and active, running all over the stage from side to side, jamming with the likes of Buckethead, and even directly to the audience doing that spider walk (cowboy walk, whatever it is) while standing in place. With the black outfit, I got the impression of some kind of spider. Axl wasn't kidding in his official statement when he said the band had energy to let out! He did most of the solos throughout the show and when the technical glitches caused problems, after one song he took his Gibson Les Paul, spun around, and threw it with all his strength into the amp stack over by the drums while going nuts and then tossed a mike stand. Totally freaking awesome!!

Buckethead: Buckethead sported a raincoat with backpack. Relying mostly on an awesome white Gibson Les Paul that seemed to shine with a fresh paint look, he simply rocked. Like Yngwie J. Malmsteen, he made his solos look too easy. All the complex stuff he'd do while seemingly staring into nothingness, not even checking out his fretboard. Later he'd do a solo (eruption?) where he used a lot of fingertapping. Truly a guitar virtuoso. During his solos, the psychedelic features on the monitors appeared to be hands among other things, but I could be wrong (pretty interesting though as he simply has total control of those fingers). Some say he's just playing Slash's parts, and that he does with beyond perfection, but he's just as good on his own. His solo parts in Madagascar and so on should easily silence all the critics. Bucket also has these moments where he'll freeze solid like ice. The Rio video does absolutely no justice to this mime-like act. It just has to be seen and one will be left nothing short of awed.

Paul "Huge" Tobias: Vastly underrated, this guy reminds me of Gregg Allman in both look and his guitar work. He had this moment where he'd play bottleneck slide guitar very nicely, like Allman was famous for. A lot of people like to pick on him. All I can tell them is that this guy is for real - Axl obviously knows a good bet when he sees one. He seems to have that mystique much like Izzy and Gilby had: quiet and reserved. But he has loads of concentration and is obviously very emotionally involved in his guitar work, bringing an almost spiritual experience with the guitar. During Paradise City he was definitely in a rocking mood though. No doubt that when Chinese Democracy comes out you'll be seeing websites dedicated exclusively to him and his talent.

Dizzy Reed: Dizzy was very similar to last year with long hair. Did a very impressive job as always with the piano during The Blues.

Chris Pitman: What can I say about Chris? Chris performed like an animal possessed. He wore some kind of hosing on his head that had the tangled legs extending from the sides. He was very intense and crazy, banging his head that caused the leg tails to flap around like he was some kind of dog. He obviously supplied a lot of energy and head-banging motivation to the audience.

Tommy Stinson: Tommy had this black hair that was also dyed red in some areas giving him a very punkish appearance. He also sported a punkish shirt with the words "BOMB" above some circular image. Tommy was really into the music and seemed to be really enjoying himself. When "The Blues" came on, you could see he was banging his head along with the drums with this smile on his face as if this was the song he was waiting all along for.

Bryan "Brain" Mantia: Brain did an excellent job. His drumming was loud, powerful, and well-timed. He sported some mohawk that was surrounded by what appeared to be a few-days-old shaved head. Frequently he made use of headphones while he drummed and was like in some kind of zone... totally engrossed in his drumming. On at least one occasion, he threw his sticks into the audience.

Basically the above was the shows summary but I'll try to fill in what other junk I can toss into the stew... The show was initially scheduled to start at 10pm but didn't begin until what I estimated to be shortly after 11. Occasionally, the spotlights, monitor, and feedback would tease the audience who would then start into the repeated chant of "GUNS-N-ROSES" on and on. The joint was pretty dark and on each of the side walls were these two circular designs of guitars with some light emitting from the center circle. On each side of the stage were stacks of monitor screens and one giant screen on the upper corner of each end. The stage was flooded with monitors, especially in front of the drums. Upon entering the joint there was this notice that taking pictures and audio/video recording were prohibited and that the joint reserved the right to confiscate if this was violated. However, upon entry there were no pat downs and no metal detectors as far as I could see. There was some security going through this one woman's materials but it didn't seem to be the norm. In front of the stage was this cage railing that created a security pit separating the stage from the audience. In the pit were a bunch of security staff. The security were also walking around the floor and on a couple of occasions, seemed to be in action with members of the audience, probably some drunken troublemakers or perhaps finding something that wasn't allowed. Despite the number of staff, I did see that familiar mini-recorder with the red light on during the show, indicating that at least one person there was succeeding in getting it bootlegged. Also on one end of the stage was a stand where you could buy Guns Memorabilia such as shirts and posters. There were two varieties of general shirts. Medium, Large, and Extra-Large costed $30 while XXL was $32. There were also these women's one-size (small) designed shirts for 30. Beanies (caps) were $30 and I forgot the cost of the posters.

The show began with a double feature video. The first one had some kind of spy satellite gradually zeroing in on the planet until over the central US I think (had me thinking of "Oklahoma" but that's probably just a coincidence perhaps) and eventually landed view on some Soldier in camouflage and carrying some kind of book or document running desperately through a jungle (perfect setting intro to "Welcome To The Jungle") while evading intense gun and mortar fire. There were a few other guys in there that were shooting and/or waving as if they were backing him up and calling for him to make it through to where they were, or maybe they were actually doing the shooting, I couldn't tell. It appeared to be some kind of scene from a new movie and I thought I've seen something similar in the commercials. The conclusion wasn't given though and instead entered the second film which featured dollars and cartoon chinese figures. I didn't get the film or it's meaning but something I guess to do, as everyone else mentioned, with the point how money has become the main driving and controlling force in this world. Anyways, I just hope that maybe those going to the 31st show will have a bit of a head start and make better sense of them. After this came the familiar intro sound of Welcome To The Jungle while Axl and Tommy charged to the front of the stage. What followed was a whirlwind of hard rock energy.

There were some technical problems that seemed to be aimed mostly at Axl and Buckethead. Something like this happening to what many consider the two most important members of the band might have one think the show was doomed but overall it actually turned out very impressive. In one instance at the intro of some song, Bucket's guitar notes would flunctuate high and low and he eventually walked off as if knowing the song was being blown or if to get away from some feedback zone. Axl's vocals also slipped off during Oh My God and had me wondering what was going on. At one point they even had one of the technicians onstage changing Axl's pocket microphone connection. Obviously they were pissed about it but that'd be expected from two perfectionists aiming for the best sound and show for thier audience. Despite those problems, the ability of the band to keep the show going tells one what a perfectly working unit the band is in overcoming these problems.

About the songs, I have to say that Madagascar blew me away... nothing like I could comprehend on audio/video. It's solos are breath-taking and flow so well with the rest of the song like fingers on the hand. I instantly liked this song as much as, if not more than, November Rain once I heard it. I just figured this had to be their breakthrough song, but Chinese Democracy and The Blues might have something to say about that. Chinese Democracy also seemed to be done slightly different as the band changed those "Chinese Sounds" in between vocal lines.

Anyways, after the show I was beat and at the same time wired. Somehow I got to sleep. The next day I reflected on the show with excitement. I couldn't stop thinking about the show and what was to come as well. I'm sure CD will turn out very well but even if it misses the popularity wave, I know I'll eventually have a hard rocking excellent album to rank along the likes of AFD and the Illusions. Hopefully that will be very soon where I'll be able to catch the band again live. It was a show well worth the ticket and cost of the trip. Should we have to wait another year and another Vegas show, you can bet I'll be there.

There's lots I'm forgetting and leaving out but after reading some more reviews as well as being reminded by those people going to the December 31st show, I'm sure I'll remember more.



To consult the original article:

Originally written by Jaz


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