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1991.01.20 - Rock In Rio II Festival, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

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1991.01.20 - Rock In Rio II Festival, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Empty 1991.01.20 - Rock In Rio II Festival, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:57 pm

January 20, 1991.

Rock In Rio II Festival.

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

01. Pretty Tied Up
02. Mr. Brownstone
03. Patience
04. Double Talkin' Jive
05. Welcome to the Jungle
06. Knockin' On Heaven's Door
07. You Could Be Mine
08. It's So Easy
09. Civil War
10. Dead Horse
11. Sweet Child O'Mine
12. Estranged
13. Paradise City

Axl Rose (vocals), Izzy Stradlin (rhythm guitarist), Slash (lead guitarist), Duff McKagan (bass), Dizzy Reed (keyboards) and Matt Sorum (drums).

The first show with Matt on drums and Dizzy on keyboard.

It was incredible; we played two nights in a row to 180,000 fans in Maracanã Stadium. [...] It was something else; I'm not sure that I've ever seen a more insane Guns N' Roses crowd - and that is saying something. When we kicked into the bridge of "Paradise City," people swan-dived from the upper tier of the stadium - seemingly to their death [Slash's autobiography, p 325]
Maracaña Stadium: 175,000 people and a river of sewage streaming right through the place. An actual river. Of shit. People chanting, "Guns N' Roses, Guns N' Roses!" The audience cried and sang along to every word as we launched into our set. 'Fucking hell, there are a lot of people up here onstage.' We had a two new keyboard players, backup singers, and horn players. The sides of the stage swarmed with crew and management and who knows who else. 'Where my boys at?' I turned and looked toward the drum riser. Steven wasn't there [Duff's autobiograpy, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 176]
1991.01.20 - Rock In Rio II Festival, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Rightarrow Next concert: 1991.01.23.
1991.01.20 - Rock In Rio II Festival, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Leftarrow Previous concert: 1990.04.07.
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Post by Blackstar on Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:30 pm

Review from Metal Hammer, March 1991:

Andre Verhuysen wrote:The audience were a bit restless and there was some anxiety building up. Small fights broke out and rumors started to spread that outside people had been killed trying to get through the gates. Tension rose and the crowds grew impatient for the headliners - Guns N' Roses. It was their first time in Rio and their first live show anywhere in one and half years, not counting their hastily put together Farm Aid concert last year. Even before they had played one note they had the stadium in their spell.

From the moment they came on stage right up until the closing fireworks, Maracana was one big nut house. And this despite the fact it wasn't the band's best ever performance. But that's logical of course if you haven't played for more than a year. They also had a new drummer, Matt Sorum (ex-The Cult). It wasn't his fault if the band looked a bit stiff. He pounded out the beat of killer songs like 'Mr. Brownstone', 'Welcome To The Jungle' and 'It's So Easy'. But it was something more than nerves that seemed to affect the original Guns, Axl Rose, Slash, Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan.

The band played well and were backed up with excellent sound and a great light show but there was something missing - that f*** everything mentality that Guns N' Roses pioneered was lacking. They played a superb version of 'Knocking On Heaven's Door' and I thought things were getting better, but the impression soon faded when they featured super boring drum solo by Matt Sorum breaking the atmosphere at the wrong moment. (How can a drum solo be boring? By definition this must have been the high point of the entire festival! Ed).

But maybe the atmosphere was also spoilt because the band were playing too many new songs. A taste of a new album is fine, but to start off with five new songs was too much. However I am sure some of those new songs are destined to be classics. Maybe not the really heavy 'Double Talking Jive' and 'You Could Be Mine' (that's what the title sounded like), but maybe the two longer and quieter songs like 'Estranged' (played between 'Sweet Child O' Mine' and 'Paradise City'), and the really superb 'Civil War ' a really moving performance. The audience didn't know the song but to me it was the highlight of the Guns' show and whole day. Even so the band still tended to come across a tad low key and could have delivered more. Three days later they proved me right, but more about that later.

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1991.01.20 - Rock In Rio II Festival, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Empty Re: 1991.01.20 - Rock In Rio II Festival, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Post by Blackstar on Wed Nov 21, 2018 6:20 am

Review from Kerrang, February 9, 1991:
Steffan Chirazi wrote:Watching Guns Ν’ Roses was not going to be easy. The side of the stage was jammed with guests, so I climbed to one of the few spaces left on the PA scaffolding. Ideal reviewing conditions these were not.
This was GN’R’s first arena headline show. It was also their first real gig in nearly two years. It showed.
W Axl Rose himself was firecracker of energy and charisma, strutting his strut, walking his walk and living up to his well-nurtured reputation as an untamed man.
New drummer Matt Sorum rose to the challenge, locking in tight and hard to drive the rest of the band. He was actually the captain of this team, moulding Guns into a fully cohesive unit with some great thumping.
But there were problems. The show was largely unexciting, anti-climactic and average. There seemed to be little rapport between the various members. Each seemed to be doing his own thing, performing in his own space, in his own frame of mind.
Axl seemed to be having a blast - but Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin’ and Slash looked a touch bored by it all. The combustion and dynamite I craved and expected from Guns wasn’t really there, save for brief flashes. The dangerous cheese-wire dance of ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ was one such flash. "Paradise City’ also cut through the grease of apathy, as did a psychopathic version of 'It’s So Easy’. But other than these, there was precious little excitement.
By the show’s end I had managed to weasel out a decent spot at the side of the stage, and it once again hit me like a bullet that Axl was indeed running wild - in contrast to his three static stage-front bandmates.
Strutting in American flag bicycle pants for the latter part of the set, topless, grinning a hedonistic grin, Axl looked to be running away with the whole thing. But the question remains: where was the rest of the band?
Slash didn’t look jazzed by anything much and his rendition of the ‘Godfather’ theme was unspectacular. When it comes to vibe and attitude, when it comes to leads within songs, Slash is a huge motherf**ker, but this sort of thing simply doesn’t suit him.
Sorum’s drum solo was strong, tough and enthusiastic - he at least got some kicks. And ivory-tinklin’ mystery man Dizzy did what he had to do, fitted the general band vibe...
There were a few new songs, but I was in no position to hear them properly, learn their titles or tell you anything about them. (You’re fired - Ed.)
The show closed with the band cutting out early for some reason. I felt confused and bemused.
Guns are a band with undeniable talent and personality, but tonight they were ordinary — probably because they felt ordinary and mildly apathetic.
Sadly, there can be no time for that now. The eyes of the world, and the fans, have them under the microscope, and Guns N’ Roses have an enormous reputation and responsibility to hold up. It won’t be easy for them to be ordinary on any given night, because they’ve spent four years being anything but. If they’re honest, they’ll know they can do a whole lot better.
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Post by Blackstar on Sat Dec 29, 2018 7:36 pm

At this show Axl did a transitional "spoken word" about the favelas/slums in Rio between Double Talking Jive and Welcome to the Jungle:

When the poor come down to the street
And the death squad is out of reach
Everybody’s looking for a piece of the pie
I look outside my window
I see your [?]

And when the poor come down from the hills
At night
And the government and the merchants send the death squads out
To remove the beggars
Keep them out of the way of the rich
To keep the slums from coming down into the city
You gotta watch your ass, homeboy
Cuz I ain’t been at many places
But you know where you motherfuckers live?
I said, do you know where you live?

Do you know where you are?
You’re in the jungle, baby
Rio de Janeiro jungle, baby
And if you don’t watch your ass
You’re gonna die!

It was probably something he came up with on the spot or just before the show, based on what he said here:
[...] in America it’s real big to talk about the rainforests and stuff. But the poverty down here is like nothing I’ve ever seen. And I imagined my... You know, when we were first coming to the stadium to do soundcheck the first day, we went under the tunnel, and when I looked up and saw the houses, I thought of myself as a little kid here and having, you know, to try to make a life and starting that way. And it, like, ripped my heart out, right? [MTV, January 1991].

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Post by Blackstar on Tue Jan 01, 2019 2:39 pm

From Entertainment Weekly, Feb. 8, 1991:
Journal from the Rock in Rio festival

February 08, 1991

My first day in Rio, I had my pocket picked on the beach in front of my hotel. The second day, I had my eyeglasses broken by a gang of heavy-metal headbangers. The third day, I was almost crushed to death by 100,000 screaming Brazilian teenagers. Had Rock in Rio II gone on any longer than it did, the ”peace festival” probably would have killed me.

Billed as the biggest rock & roll extravaganza in years, the $20 million, nine-day concert was supposed to be the most ambitious music festival since, well, the first Rock in Rio in 1985. From Jan. 18 through 27, some of music’s most famous names — hard rockers like Billy Idol and Guns N’ Roses, bubble-gum popsters like Debbie Gibson and New Kids on the Block, superstars like Prince and George Michael, old-timers like Santana and Joe Cocker — jetted into Brazil to play at the world’s largest soccer arena, Maracanã Stadium on the outskirts of Rio. Almost 800,000 Brazilians turned out, paying $10 to $30 per night; critics from around the world flew in; MTV dispatched its top VJs. It was rockin’ Rio’s moment in the sun, its big chance to shine — and it rained half the time.

At first glance, Brazil doesn’t seem an ideal setting for the biggest rock & roll party of the year. While the country is blessed with beautiful beaches, mountains, and people, it also suffers from one of the worst recessions to hit South America in years. Inflation is hovering at 1,800 percent. Unemployment is over 40 percent. Mugging tourists is fast becoming a favorite national pastime. The Gulf clash also presented problems: One day before the festival opened, the world declared war on Iraq, touching off a gasoline panic all over Brazil (filling stations started closing at 8 p.m. to cut down consumption).

But despite all of the above — or maybe because of it — Brazilians flocked to the festival by the tens of thousands. English-language pop is big here in the land of the samba, although Brazilians’ musical tastes do sometimes veer in unexpected directions. Artists hugely popular in the U.S. were all but ignored by the fans at Rio II, while more obscure groups were sometimes treated like the Beatles incarnate. For instance: George Michael (whose latest album went top 10 in the U.S.) drew only about 30,000 people, while the Norwegian group a-ha (who haven’t had a U.S. hit since 1985) filled the stadium with more than 100,000 fans.

The festival’s biggest smash, however, came as a surprise to nobody: Guns N’ Roses, whose first two albums sold 17 million copies (and whose fans await the next, due this spring, as if they expected the second coming of Elvis), took Brazil by proverbial storm. Their concert on Jan. 20 attracted the largest — and craziest — crowd of them all.

I got to the show at 8:30 p.m., three hours before their set was scheduled to start, and discovered that the gates of the stadium had already been locked shut. Later an unconfirmed story of a shoot-out between two Brazilian cops earlier in the evening repeatedly surfaced. The details were fuzzy, but supposedly one of them had tried to lead a group of ticketless fans into the stadium and the other had blocked their way. They argued, guns were pulled, and allegedly one officer was shot five times.

It took me over an hour to finagle my way inside: One look around and I was almost sorry I did. The stadium was crammed with enough bodies to populate a small city — well over 120,000 people.

Walking through Maracanã Stadium was like playing a gigantic game of Twister — with every step I found myself tangled in somebody else’s arms or legs. People were drinking beer, making out, dancing, clapping hands, fainting, waving lit matches in the air, and in general having a blast. If there’s one thing Brazilians do well, it’s party, and this bash was definitely smoking. Strangers offered me drinks, slapped my back, invited me to dance, and made fun of my rumpled Brooks Brothers shirt. A Brazilian girl, about 15, with killer bone structure and a perfect Colgate smile, took my notebook from my pocket and wrote a note in English: ”My name is Claudia. I love all people! I love American people! I love everybody!” Then she kissed me on both cheeks, Brazilian-style.

I was about 30 feet from the stage, standing on the soccer field, when Axl Rose came bouncing out into the spotlight, two silver crosses dangling from his neck. As the first 90-decibel chords of ”It’s So Easy” blasted into the air, the crowd lunged forward, and I found myself pinned against a wall of human flesh. People were shouting and laughing and crying in Portuguese. I was panicking in English. Then I saw a team of medics shoulder their way through the crowd and lift a limp body over their heads. I squeezed my way behind them and followed their path to the stadium’s infirmary. The place looked like a scene out of M*A*S*H: There were drunken bodies strewn on tables and chairs. A young man stood at the door, covered in blue paint. He calmly raised his hand and made an announcement in Portuguese. A nurse translated it for me: ”I have fallen from the sky!” he said. ”I am part of the sky!” Then he collapsed to the floor.

The slogan for Rock in Rio II (”Nine Days of Music and Peace”) was meant to echo Woodstock’s (”Three Days of Peace and Music”), but the truth is the festival didn’t even measure up to Rock in Rio I. That 10-day musical spree drew about 1.5 million people, the largest audience for a rock festival ever, and was a critical hit. Most of the critics this time were hostile: Many found Rock in Rio II poorly organized and musically lame. Prince showed up almost two hours late, prompting parts of the crowd to taunt him with offensive cries of ”Viado! Viado!” (Portuguese for ”faggot”). The much-touted Wham! reunion turned out to be little more than George Michael’s earlier solo set with his former partner Andrew Ridgeley gamely singing along. ”This whole thing has been a disaster,” said one critic. ”It’s been a mess.”

”This concert is not as ambitious as the first,” concedes the man who put both together, 43-year-old Roberto Medina. ”We built a special stadium for the first Rock in Rio. We built a whole city for that concert. That is not possible again. There is too much politics in Brazil to do that today.”

Elegant, with delicate manners and a full head of graying hair, Medina is often described as a Brazilian Donald Trump, but he prefers to be My hero”). In fact, he’s more like a character from a James Bond movie. Last year, a local criminal cartel known as the Red Phalange kidnapped Medina; he was released only after the police struck back by abducting the head kidnapper’s mother and brother. ”After that, I could have left Brazil and moved to the United States,” Medina says, savoring coffee with precise, small sips. ”But I have a desire to help my country, and this festival does that.” He frowns. ”On one side of the world people are fighting. Here they are singing. That is an important message to the world.”

Medina expects to make about $1 million from his important message, but that’s half of what he originally projected. Most of his profits will come from licensing: Coca-Cola paid $3 million to link its name with the festival, and Tampax spent untold sums distributing paper fans at the stadium’s entrance (”Nada Pode Te Incomodar No Rock In Rio,” they read: ”Nothing Can Make You Uncomfortable at Rock in Rio”). He’ll also collect rent from hundreds of shopkeepers peddling souvenirs.

The performers were paid well — Prince got more than $1 million — but not all of them seemed to enjoy the festival very much. Prince sequestered himself in the Rio Palace Hotel, dialing room service with strange orders (one night he had 200 towels sent up to his rooms). George Michael divided his time between the pool at the tony Copacabana Palace and his dressing room at the stadium (where yellow ”Do Not Enter” police ribbons had been taped across his doorway, presumably to keep lesser performers from bothering him). About the only musicians who really embraced the true spirit of the city were the members of the surprise hit funk/metal band of 1990, San Francisco’s rambunctious Faith No More: They spent their days bodysurfing on Ipanema Beach, and their nights exploring Rio’s notorious sex shows.

Medina is already drawing up plans for part III: Renamed World Festival, it’ll take place simultaneously in varied locales across the planet — Los Angeles, London, Italy, Australia, and, of course, Rio. ”This is my dream,” he says with childlike optimism. ”It will be the best thing I have ever done. Next year, you will come back to me and we will talk about the biggest rock & roll festival in the history of the world. You wait and see.”

All right — but I’ll remember to pack a spare pair of eyeglasses.

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