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2006.05.12 - Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, USA

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2006.05.12 - Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:02 pm

May 12, 2006.

Hammerstein Ballroom.

New York, NY, USA.

01. Welcome to the Jungle
02. It's So Easy
03. Mr. Brownstone
04. Better
05. Live and Let Die
06. Sweet Child O'Mine
07. Knockin' On Heaven's Door
08. Madagascar
09. You Could Be Mine
10. Street of Dreams
11. Out Ta Get Me
12. November Rain
13. My Michelle
14. Chinese Democracy
15. There was a Time
16. Patience
17. I.R.S.
18. Nightrain
19. Paradise City

Axl Rose (vocals), Richard Fortus (rhythm guitarist), Bumblefoot (lead guitarist), Robin Finck (lead guitarist), Tommy Stinson (bass), Dizzy Reed (keyboards), Chris Pitman (keyboards) and Brain (drums).

The first out of four shows at the Hammerstein Ballroom and the first show with Bumblefoot who replaced Buckethead on lead guitar. Better and I.R.S. were played for the first time.

Next concert: 2006.05.14.
Previous concert: 2002.12.05.
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Re: 2006.05.12 - Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Wed May 07, 2014 10:37 pm

Review in Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2006:

Welcome to Axl's much tamer jungle
May 15, 2006|Richard Cromelin | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — "What would Axl do?" read the T-shirt on one of the Guns N' Roses fans outside the Hammerstein Ballroom on Friday. They were lined up around the block waiting to get into the 3,300-capacity theater where Guns N' Roses was scheduled to play its first show since a 2002 concert a couple of blocks away at Madison Square Garden.

As it turned out, Axl Rose wouldn't do much, at least not in the way the T-shirt suggested -- nothing to add to the list of no-shows, walkouts and confrontations with audience members that has made the band's saga a trail of mayhem as well as music. The only musician to go into the audience Friday was guitarist Robin Finck, who did a little stage-diving and crowd-surfing near the end of the night.

The last time the L.A. band opened a tour, in Vancouver, Canada, Rose was late, the show was canceled and the fans rioted. That 2002 tour came to a premature end later on when Rose did the same thing in Philadelphia.

That history -- as well as a newspaper report that Rose had missed a rehearsal -- might have been lingering in people's minds Friday as they came to witness the awakening of what they hoped was a slumbering giant. The four Hammerstein concerts (shows were also scheduled for Sunday, today and Wednesday) are a warm-up for a European tour, which will be followed, Rose recently announced, by the release of the band's first album of new material since 1991, the infamously, interminably in-progress "Chinese Democracy."

Showing good taste and high spirits, the crowd booed the opener, the Welsh band Bullet for My Valentine, off the stage, then waited for an hour until Guns N' Roses came on at 11 p.m., complete with its lead singer.

Rose, wearing jeans, a black leather shirt and sunglasses, his hair in cornrows and tied in a ponytail, got a hero's welcome as he led the band through its traditional opener, "Welcome to the Jungle." His frame looked a little heftier at age 44 than in his street-waif heyday 20 years ago, but he kicked and scampered around with spirited energy, and his raspy voice had its old barbed-wire edge.

That was the start of a solid, smooth-running 2 1/2 -hour set that was dominated by vintage fan favorites, with no tirades, no impulsive departures from the book, unless you count a guest appearance by Skid Row's Sebastian Bach, singing with Rose on "My Michelle." There was also a lot less of the tension that fueled the band's performances in the late '80s and early '90s, largely because this is a different Guns N' Roses, with the original lineup -- most significantly, Rose's colorful, guitar-wielding foil Slash -- gone and new players in place since the late '90s.

One teaser for Friday's show was the unveiling of a new guitarist as replacement for the recently departed Buckethead. He turned out to be Ron Thal, from a New York outfit called, oddly enough, Bumblefoot, and who at one point played a guitar shaped and painted as a foot.

With its three guitarists, Guns N' Roses' 2006 edition is a hard-rock fan's dream, churning out the Stones-cum-Aerosmith-influenced songs with requisite power. On Friday, they re-created the structures of such old standbys as "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Patience," "Paradise City," "Mr. Brownstone," et al.

But at heart, it's very different from the band Rose once fronted -- one of the most popular, polarizing, powerful, controversial and fascinatingly self-sabotaging entities in rock. This is the curse of rock's bad boys (and girls). If you find enough stability to show up and do a good show, you've lost your edge. If you keep too much of your edge, you're going to find your audience dwindling to a morbid few waiting for your final mistake.

And two decades have created a distance from those early songs, which were immediate, close-to-the-bone expressions of rage and frustration from a troubled and eloquent kid. On Friday, they were all audience sing-alongs, enjoyable as celebrations of a community of fans and band but no longer scary, compelling pieces. The one that retained its essence best was the encore, "Paradise City," because its message of longing for refuge carries a more universal reach.

The trick for Rose is to summon those songs' original spirit while removing himself from the character who created them. The problem is that he hasn't given us a new Axl to put the old material in a new context or, more important, to sing something new.

If "Chinese Democracy" really is coming soon, this would have been a perfect time to showcase it, but the few new songs came and went without much impact amid the nostalgia. The energetic title song, with its more contemporary sound, was a promising indication.

While this return was long awaited by some, Rose and company have been long forgotten by many. You can't stay away forever if you want to keep your audience engaged plus attract new listeners. The intensity of Guns N' Roses' initial music and lifestyle might have earned Rose a temporary pass, but if he doesn't show up soon, he'll find he has the jungle all to himself.
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