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SoulMonster

2012.02.15 - The Ritz, New York, USA

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Re: 2012.02.15 - The Ritz, New York, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:46 am

Yeah, that's how it is. The first one was a mess, but it was a hungry, young, unpredictable band, now it's become a bit boring. I'd like a DVD of this show, though.
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Re: 2012.02.15 - The Ritz, New York, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:07 am

Review in Glide magazine:

There was a time I was very skeptical of seeing a band called “Guns N’ Roses” that didn’t include any original members besides Axl Rose, especially since the other five original members are still alive and making music. I’d seen a few shows at the height of their popularity, and it was sad to see the band fade in the years that followed the Use Your Illusion tours. My life was wrapped up in following Phish during that period, but recollections of the shows I had seen in high school, and knowing that the original band split up on bad terms, was disappointing.

On a whim, I attended their 2002 comeback show at Madison Square Garden. I went in with absolutely no expectations, but more of a quenching desire to hear the songs I loved so much again. Expecting a train wreck, I was actually impressed and had an amazing time. It was clear this GN’R was Axl and a bunch of hired guns, but musically it was intense and dynamic, helping me forget that fact for a few hours. Unfortunately, the next day the band was supposed to play in Philly, and Axl didn’t show up. A riot ensued, and it was Groundhog Day all over again as the great legacy faded back into darkness. The 2002 show made me hungry for more, and I was patiently rewarded with more comeback shows in 2006 that were enjoyable, and finally we even got the long overdue Chinese Democracy LP in 2008. But it wasn’t until more recently that an ever-changing lineup settled and the band started to click.

Fast forward to four years later at 11:52 PM this past Wednesday night. The lights went down and a spotlight shined down on axeman DJ Ashba at the top of the stage as he played the opening chords to Chinese Democracy’s hard-driving, self-titled opening track. But five minutes later, 25 years after Axl’s howl woke up the music world, the scream “You know where you are???” came out, and Welcome to the Jungle set the roof of Webster Hall on fire. To even describe the energy to someone who wasn’t there is near impossible, it was absolutely explosive.

The newer songs, especially the ballads, were delivered with conviction and clarity. With rare exception, the energy level didn’t drop when recent material was started. Street of Dreams was especially strong, as that song’s quality stands up to the best of the earlier epic material and Estranged and Civil War, each brought the house down as well. The band also covered AC/DC’s Riff Raff in head-exploding fashion, fitting the dirty raucous vibe of the venue. Just as dirty was the groove Tommy Stinson held down on the classic You’re Crazy. Singing along to this song, I inadvertently shouted “You’re F*#king Crazy” in another fan’s face as he was walking past. Afterward I realized this was the only place on the planet where I could shout that at a stranger and generate a laughing response.

Axl’s commanding presence, combined with his flawless vocal performance, made their version of Knocking on Heaven’s Door, which I scoffed at in my younger years, one of the most powerful songs of the night. That groove at the end is just plain hot, and it was a perfect opportunity for Axl to sing like he had something to prove. When the guitarists went acoustic for Patience, they traded in their chops for grace and beauty. The only thing missing from that song was the smashing of the neon phone at the end. Minutes later, we were singing Paradise City in joyous revelry and a sea of confetti. It was 3:10 AM and they took us home.

It’s common knowledge that Axl Rose replaced the original members of Guns N’ Roses with studio musicians, a move other band leaders have made and received far less grief about. On previous tours, it was proven that other musicians could deliver the music flawlessly. But the current lineup has something that wasn’t there on previous tours…Chemistry. Call this band whatever you will and while I have full respect for anyone who says that this isn’t “Guns N’ Roses,” it is a pointless argument. This is a true band.

In a small venue you can see that they love playing together, respect one another and have natural chemistry that goes way beyond the fact that they are all incredible musicians and performers. The other thing that the current incarnation of Guns N Roses has is a great sideman. Guitarist DJ Ashba has the stage presence and attitude in a lead guitarist that this band desperately needed. He looks nothing like Slash, but has his own persona and stage personality that is just as intriguing, and just as much rock n roll.

As far as Axl Rose, the difference between now and the old days is that he seems sincerely grateful for the band and the audience they have earned. Together, the current GN’R members embrace Axl’s vision, rather than fight against it, and the fans that see past the absence of Slash and Duff are being rewarded with one of the best live attractions to take any stage. The quality of future studio material may decide whether or not this lineup of Guns N Roses reaches the heights of popularity enjoyed in their early years. But as long as Axl Rose’s voice stays as strong, the audiences will keep on growing.

Source: http://www.glidemagazine.com/hiddentrack/review-guns-n-roses-webster-hall/
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Re: 2012.02.15 - The Ritz, New York, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:50 pm

Excellent review from Rockland County Times:

Axl Rose, fresh off his 50th birthday earlier this month, took his Guns N' Roses act to New York City last week and pulled off a couple legendary performances. In fact Rose and his band, none of which were members of the original Guns N' Roses lineup, have now gained a righteous reputation for rocking into the wee hours of the night.

On Wednesday, February 15, at Webster Hall in the East Village, NYC, the Rockland County Times was in attendance as Guns N' Roses took the stage at 11:54 p.m. and didn't leave until 3:15 a.m. That's three hours and 21 minutes of non-stop Rock n' Roll on a weekday, if you're keeping count.

Never before had this humble writer seen a band kick the audience's butt as Axl and GNR did that night. Every time the crowd thought the show was coming to a wrap, there was another five or six songs, performed with raw power and intensity. Perhaps Axl wanted to pull off a particularly impressive performance because there were professional camera crews filming his every move.

Whatever the case may be, his famously scratchy voice was as good as it's been in recent years and his mood and energy was at amazingly high levels. The 50-year-old Axl was dancing like a 25-year-old for most of the night, and his enthusiasm and charisma was quite infectious. A joyful mood set in at times amongst audience, the type which could lead you to meet the love of your life or propose marriage to the one you're with. No really, it was that good.

The show actually took a little while to pick up its energy, the connection with the audience for the first hour and 20 minutes was a bit flat with the exception of when the band played "Welcome to the Jungle" (the second song in the set). But when you are playing a three hour and 20 minute show, who remembers the first hour and 20 minutes? Looking back at it, that hour and 20 minutes was the pre-game.

Adding flavor to the funk throughout the night, several of the members of GNR had solo interludes where they played renditions of great classic rock songs.

The concert started to crescendo with two newer songs "This I Love" and "Street of Dreams" which were packaged around a tune by bandmember Tommy Stinson and a nice Dizzy Reed piano solo. Then the show took off into the stratosphere when the band performed the classic soundtrack hit "You Could Be Mine" followed by a guitar solo and then one of the greatest rock tunes ever made "Sweet Child O' Mine."

From there on out it seemed the band touched on every great song they ever wrote and every great moment in their career. They finally wrapped the show up with the ballad "Patience" and the hard rocking "Paradise City."

Though Axl Rose is the only GNR member to be among the original 1985 lineup, several of the bandmates have been playing with Rose and GNR for a number of years. Keyboardist Dizzy Reed has been with the band since its glory days in 1990, while bass player Tommy Stinson and keyboardist Chris Pitman have been with the band since 1998.

The most crucial new member of the band is Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, a truly impressive lead guitarist, very much up to the task of filling former guitarist Slash's shoes. Notably Bumblefoot joined the band in 2006, replacing another guitar impresario known as "Buckethead" who had his turn as Slash's replacement.

Despite their odd names, they are both brilliant guitarists, as can be heard on Chinese Democracy, GNR's much maligned but badly underrated 2008 studio release.

The band played several songs from Chinese Democracy at the February 15 show, as well as a well balanced selection from all their studio albums. All in all the show was a hit, as the band outlasted much of the audience. About 30 percent of the audience couldn't make it to the end of the show, usually a sign of disrespect, but in this instance, just a measure of the fact that it was 3 a.m. Wednesday night/Thursday morning and this awesome band was still belting out tunes.

Source: http://www.rocklandcountytimes.com/index.php?p=1118
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Re: 2012.02.15 - The Ritz, New York, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:26 pm

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