Juntin Wagner's review of the "31st" concert (via e-mail)

*New Years Eve Show Review*

Yes, I must admit, the GNR show on the 31st was all time. I have seen Guns now three times, once in ‘89 opening for the Rolling Stones at the LA Coliseum (10-21-89) and on the Illusion tour in LA, one of the four sold out shows at the Forum, I think maybe the second or third, my memory is hazy. I came to Vegas with little or no expectation, just wanting to see a good show. I had been brushing up on all of the GNR web gossip in preparation for this show and was unsure what I was going to get, but like some of the other reviews, this show was BANGING from the second it began!!!

I want to emphasize---BANGING!!!!!! There was not one lull in the set and the entire crowd was singing every song at the top of their lungs, it was a fucking party! There was not a stitch of tension in the air as the crowd was entirely friendly and upbeat, not one ounce of attitude, anywhere! Buckethead’s licks are sublime, you could hear every single note of every lead perfectly! This does not happen all too often but it did tonight and the leads bounced back and forth between him and Robin. No other reviews, at least that I have seen talk about the third guitarist, Tobias from Mother Tongue? At least that is who I think it was. Props to him as well.

Brain is a monster behind the kit and did a kick ass job. Stinson kept the bottom end rumbling. The keyboardists, did their thing.... As for Axl, he was at his best: his pipes were perfect. He hit every song with the greatest of poise and ease and was all over the stage and on top of the speaker stacks on both sides of the stage giving the entire crowd his everything. During patience-a tender moment indeed-there was a girl on the shoulders of a guy in front  of me, center of house. Axl was center stage and during the song his eyes met hers and you could see his face light up and he smiled looking at her and it seemed like old times. There is  a lot of talk about Axl and all of the BS, but this night was like no other, he and the band gave 120% and it was awesome! I went with three other friends and we all watched in amazement as they delivered a blistering set of songs which contained all the hits and balls out versions of Night Train and Its So Easy. At midnight the video monitors went live to the outside world (the Las Vegas Strip) and showed the fireworks and crowds outside reveling in the new year and the Axl welcomed us to “Two Thousand and Fucking Two”.

Yes, the tickets were a little expensive but looking back were worth every penny. At the bar, we could get four drinks and it was less than $20, not bad for new years eve. Once the doors were opened, we all were ushered in pretty quick, and the show started promptly at 11p with no visible or audible glitches. At the end, Axl tossed his microphone out into the crowd and that was it. I am at home almost 48 hours later and am so glad I was able to make it. Sure,  there is no Slash, Duff or Izzy, but after that show, I say “who gives a fuck?” Like Axl has said, the guys in the band now can play the shit out of those songs and they did and I was reassured that Guns the way we know them is in my opinion 90% Axl and his voice. Axl was there in full effect and his voice certainly was too.



Used with permission from Justin Wagner.

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Justin Wagner
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