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2002.11.29 - AirCanada Centre, Toronto, Canada

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:35 pm

November 29, 2002.

AirCanada Centre.

Toronto, Canada.

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

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

2002.11.29 - AirCanada Centre, Toronto, Canada Rightarrow Next concert: 2002.11.30.
2002.11.29 - AirCanada Centre, Toronto, Canada Leftarrow Previous concert: 2002.11.27.
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2002.11.29 - AirCanada Centre, Toronto, Canada Empty Re: 2002.11.29 - AirCanada Centre, Toronto, Canada

Post by Blackstar on Thu May 21, 2020 12:51 pm

Review in The Ottawa Citizen, Dec. 1, 2002:

2002.11.29 - AirCanada Centre, Toronto, Canada 2002_162
Roses by any other name

The new Guns N’ Roses played Toronto Friday, and Joshua Ostroff finds they are not so sweet.

Untimely death has always been the easiest route to rock ’n’ roll Valhalla, fast-tracking everyone from pretentious poet Jim Morrison to anguished howler Kurt Cobain. But what about those who live past age 27? Well, they either age gracefully, like Neil Young, or they pimp their past in a never-ending series of reunion tours, like the Stones.

Then there’s Guns N’ Roses. Axl Rose pretty much guaranteed his legend by self-destructing the band before they became an embarrassment to themselves. The band was headed in that direction — the power ballad excesses of November Rain proved that — but there was nothing quite bad enough to reduce the power of Appetite for Destruction. It remains a pinnacle of rock raw, ugly, romantic, angry and, above all, brutally honest. It was a bitch-slap to the hair bands and remains as defiant an opening salvo as those of the Sex Pistols or Nirvana.

Appetite is why 14,000 metal fans came out of the woodwork Friday night, young and old, happily flashing their breasts to the Air Canada Centre Jumbotron or taking the odd swing at each other in the stands while they awaited Axl’s entrance. And when Welcome To The Jungle came through the PA, well, they went pretty much insane.

It wasn’t unlike the reception the Gunners got on their last tour in 1993, when I was a high school senior. The Vancouver concert had been delayed by a riot in Montreal that threw the entire tour off course and made GNR the most dangerous band in the world. We even hired a limo for the hour-long drive to the stadium so we could drink Budweiser in the back, about as white trash a move as us underage suburbanites could muster.

I’ve seen hundreds of shows in the years since, but few have generated the furious urgency of GNR at their out-of-control peak, when a group of burnouts led by a whiney kid in biker shorts and a Manson T-shirt were rock gods.

But this time out they weren’t even Guns N’ Roses, despite the familiar riot in Vancouver last month that marred their first gig. Axl fell out with his original boys ages ago, wrested the name for his own use and retreated to his mansion to work on Chinese Democracy, an album that has been years in the making and which, despite it not coming out before next year, provided a name for this latest tour.

The nu-Gunners are credible musicians — avant-garde guitarist Buckethead (the one with the Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his head), ex-Re-placements’ bassist Tommy Stinson, ex-Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck, ex-Primus drummer Brian Mantia, Use Your Illusion-era keyboardist Dizzy Reed and ex-Love Spit Love guitarist Richard Fortus — who made their North American debut at last summer’s MTV Awards. As that show came to a close, host Jimmy Fallon screamed “Guns N’ f—in’ Roses,” and what to our wondering eyes should appear but a puffed-out Axl, braids trailing like reindeer. The excitement elicited by the Jungle riffs mounted and then, well, he opened his mouth.

The wail was gone, or at least not quite there, as Axl ran about the stage, sweating furiously and likely wondering why the hell he was putting himself through this again. They segued into a mid-tempo new song and I was forced to shut off the TV in disappointment before I could hear them mangle Paradise City.

Take me home, indeed.

But that sad display in no way dimmed the euphoria that greeted Axl when he finally blessed the mullet-bedecked Toronto crowd with his presence — nearly an hour late — Friday night. I’ve never understood the pull of a Rolling Stones show until now: it’s not about seeing the band so much as staging a rock ’n’ roll mass. The past-prime band is simply an excuse for the crowd to karaoke.

But what made it even stranger Friday is that GNR now is essentially a cover band, with the hired guns matching the originals note for note. When the songs were strong enough — Mr. Brownstone, It’s So Easy, My Michelle and the greatest-power-ballad-ever, Sweet Child O’ Mine — the crowd sang so loud it didn’t matter that Axl couldn’t hold the notes.

But memories can only get you so far, and what began as a holy communion soon devolved into a memorial dirge. Following the Elton John-in-spired epic November Rain, Buckethead was given a lengthy solo which, while it impressively did to the Star Wars theme what Hendrix did to the Star
Spangled Banner
, killed the momentum. The two new ballads held little pleasure and the title track to their allegedly upcoming album proved to be an innocuous rocker that paled next to show-closer Paradise City.

Axl’s voice was once as powerful a weapon as Slash’s guitar, but that time has passed and while the new band is insanely tight, GNR was best when its players were on the verge of utter collapse. Axl still runs about the stage like a man possessed, but where he once did it to escape his demons, he now sprints between TelePrompTers, reading off lyrics to songs like Madagascar: “I won’t he told anymore/ that I’ve been brought down in this storm/ and left so far out from the shore/ that I can't find my way back, my way anymore.”

Just because Axl is in denial doesn’t mean he’s any closer to finding his way back.

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Post by Blackstar on Thu May 21, 2020 1:21 pm

Review in The National Post, Dec. 2, 2002. It's been also posted in the interviews and articles section as it contains quotes from Dizzy.

2002.11.29 - AirCanada Centre, Toronto, Canada 2002_163
Knock, knock, knockin’ on nostalgia's door

Guns N’ Roses try hard to recapture the glory days

By Aaron Wherry

When the explosive opening chords of Welcome to the Jungle ended the long wait on Friday night at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, it felt as though Guns N’ Roses were indeed back. For a few precious seconds it was like watching the biggest band in the world, with all their excitement and of-the-moment edge. But after the initial rush came the cold, hard truth that this was, in fact, 2002, and Guns N’ Roses were a decidedly 1992 band.

Oh, what a strange 10 years it’s been for the once monster kings of ’80s rock. In 1991 they seemed at the height of their powers with Use Your Illusion I and II, but then came Nirvana and, just as quickly as they had swept aside hair metal, Guns N’ Roses too were relegated to the history books.

But there was, we were promised, another album — one that would reclaim the throne once occupied by Axl, Slash, Duff, Izzy, Dizzy and the gang. But then band members started to abandon ship. Axl disappeared, only to resurface periodically with news of his endlessly impending album.

Producers came and went; release dates were set and cancelled. Public appearances and performances were few and far between. Comeback tours were rumoured, but never materialized.

Now, to some extent, they’re back.

While only Axl remains from the original lineup, keyboardist Dizzy Reed is the other link to the past. A friend of the eccentric Rose, Reed was plucked from obscurity in 1990 to join the Use Your Illusion sessions. While others have come and gone, Reed, ever thankful to Rose for giving him his break, has stayed.

“I really believe in what we were doing. I’m the kind of person that when I start something I want to finish it. I’m damned determined to stick this thing out. And also I have nothing to fall back on,” Reed said with a laugh in an interview last week.

Like many GNR diehards, Reed still loves to wax nostalgic about the glory days — when the groupies were plentiful, the hits kept coming and the fame was intense.

“When I came along it was already to the point of flying on a chartered jet everywhere. So I skipped the whole bus thing and went straight to the plane. It was literally like one day I was living my life-long dream to be in a big, giant, touring rock band. I was having a blast, there’s no question about that,” he said.

But now, the wild childs we knew and loved have been replaced by a motley crew of castaways — from the mysterious Buckethead to ex-Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck.

The tone, Reed said, has also changed. Guns N’ Roses can no longer count on sellout crowds, magazine covers and top 10 singles. After a decade of teasing and rarely delivering, this band will have to offer much more than a rousing comeback tour if they hope to keep this return from fading into the realm of short-lived novelty act.

“You can definitely tell that people are expecting a lot. So you want to come out and kick their ass as best you can. And that’s what we try to do every night,” Reed said.

After an opening-night cancellation and riot in Vancouver, it seemed the only asses being kicked were outside the arena. Subsequent tour stops were met with a lukewarm reaction and empty seats.

The ACC was, for the most part, packed on Friday night (though it should be noted that scalpers were offering prices below cost). A surprising number of young fans, many of whom couldn’t possibly have been old enough to remember much of GNR Version 1.0, nearly filled the arena to capacity. What they witnessed can best be described as a Beavis and Butt-head wet dream.

While the crowd waited for Axl & Co. to take to the stage (only 45 minutes late on this night), a voice over the PA system encouraged women to “get ’em out” and the in-house camera spent the next three-quarters of an hour stalking young ladies while the crowd urged them to bare all. Two dozen or so women, and even a few men, happily obliged with a bevy of boobs, bras, thongs, girl-on-girl action and even one fist fight. Yup, it was that kind of night.

The show itself was all about excess. Explosions, fancy lights, fireworks, sparks, fog, confetti, a video tribute to Martin Luther King and at least four costume changes for Axl nearly made up for what was, musically, an entirely average, if not boring, evening.

The ever-entertaining Buckethead tried to keep things interesting with a nunchucks demonstration, a guitar-shredding rendition of the Star Wars theme, a robot dance routine and action figure gifts for the crowd, while Axl was downright playful, kibitzing with the crowd and even cracking jokes (though his use of TelePrompTers was downright sad).

But with exception of the aforementioned opener and old favourites Sweet Child O’ Mine, November Rain and Paradise City (the show’s big finale), the band seemed bland and the crowd seemed bored — some even leaving before the first encore.

It was all sort of like getting together one night with a few old high school chums for a beer. For a few hours you step back in time, to laugh at old jokes and retell tales of yesteryear. And while it’s fun for a little while, by the end of the night you’re more than happy to say goodbye and head back to the real world.

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Post by Blackstar on Thu May 21, 2020 4:01 pm

Gossip in the National Post, Dec. 6, 2002:

2002.11.29 - AirCanada Centre, Toronto, Canada 2002_172
Even Guns N’ Roses band members have to give thanks. And so they did at Centro last Thursday night, where Axl Rose and the gang had arranged to rent out the top floor of the uptown restaurant for a very special Thanksgiving dinner.

According to my mole, band members, techies, their wives and kids all streamed in, with Axl arriving decked out in a long black Prada coat, fur gloves and an Adidas hat. Underneath the hat, his hair is long and braided Rastafarian-style. There's red, orange, yellow' and god know s what other colours of the rainbow.

But here’s the question: Did the coat weigh more than the turkey? When the bouncer handed it to the coat check chick, it was so heavy- she needed to get another person to help hang it.

What the heck was in there, any-way? Heavy metal?

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Post by Blackstar on Fri May 29, 2020 3:40 pm

Review on Chart Attack, December 2, 2002:
LIVE: Guns N' Roses

Air Canada Centre
Toronto, ON
November 29, 2002

by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth

While there were certainly many a hardcore fan in the audience, a large portion of the Toronto Guns N' Roses audience were present because they wanted some questions answered. Is the new reconfigured band any good? Can Axl still sing? How fat has he become? What are the new songs like?

Unfortunately, the most pressing question on the audience's minds as they waited an hour and a half between snoozy opener Mix Master Mike and the arrival of the main attraction was "Will they show up?" After G N' R's botched tour opener in Vancouver, where riots ensued after Axl Rose failed to arrive at the venue on time, it was completely plausible that the singer — who's bizarre appearance and behavior over the last few years has earned him the reputation as the Michael Jackson of the hard rock set — would pull a no-show. But, at about 10:30 p.m. appear he did — although it was hardly worth the wait.

The new G N' R — comprised of a bizarre combination of old rockers including The Replacements' Tommy Stinson, Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck, Buckethead and keyboardist Dizzy Reed (who's been with Rose since Use Your Illusion) — are a perfectly capable band, but without Slash, it ain't the real thing. Axl's travelling carnival is as close to Guns N' Roses as Ringo Starr And His All Starr Band are to The Beatles — they may play the same songs, but something is sorely missing. As the band opened with the familiar riffs of "Welcome To The Jungle" the crowd went wild — but it was as if there was a collective unspoken agreement to suspend disbelief.

While the band chugged along, Axl — decked out in a Leafs jersey (ugh!), track pants and a head full of braided hair extensions — ran from one end of the stage to another, spitting out lyrics that he was reading off a series of teleprompters. The first half of the show was comprised largely of Appetite For Destruction hits and while the audience was glad to sing along, it was hard not to notice Axl's lack of vocal stamina and the creepy looks he shot out whenever he'd finished singing a line. Looking like a cross between Ozzy Osbourne and Godfather-era Marlon Brando, the big screen video footage of Rose was a little bit frightening and his muffled on-stage banter did little to dispel his reputation for being a bit of a nut.

Despite Axl's general freakishness, bang-on versions of "Sweet Child O'Mine" and "November Rain," and a kooky "solo" from Buckethead in which he danced and played the Star Wars theme on his guitar, Guns N' Roses v. 3.0's Canadian debut can only be described as boring. The trio of new songs the band trotted out makes the piano balladry of Use Your Illusion look positively rockin' and the old songs weren't performed with enough gusto to lend them new life. Hearing the old songs did make me realize that I once loved Guns N' Roses more than I'd care to remember — unfortunately Guns N' Roses were nowhere to be found this night.

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Post by Blackstar on Fri May 29, 2020 3:42 pm

Review on, December 2, 2002:
Guns 'N Roses T.O. concert cohesive, powerful

By Dominic Patten, Exclusive to

TORONTO — The fact that they actually showed up and the fact that there wasn't a riot would deem Friday night's Guns 'N Roses show at the Air Canada Centre a success.

Not that the hoards of police and the strict ACC staff were going to take any chances. They turned off the taps at 9:30 p.m. after officials decided the crowd was liquored up enough.

And the police, who were both outside and inside the arena, made their presence very visible to anyone who might have been thinking of repeating the riot that took place at the cancelled show in Vancouver earlier this month. A fight that broke out in the upper stands was quelled by security so fast there wasn't even time for a second punch to be thrown.

And while we waited for the band to show up listening to the tunes being played over the sound system were like listening to your dream punk rock mix CD, people were getting antsy. I heard a few guys behind me muttering to themselves.

"You don't think they've bailed do you?"

"Naw, dude that's just Axl being Axl. He'll come on when he feels like it."

Well, the GNR frontman and his crew didn't take the stage until almost 10:40 p.m. ET, by which time even the mulletheads and the geezers had gotten bored of watching pretty girls in the audience gyrate and flash their breasts on the giant video screens set up around the stage.

But as soon as the opening chords of the band's classic Welcome to the Jungle started and Axl, in a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey, screeched in to the mic "Do you know where you are, you're in the jungle baby" all was forgiven.

Throughout the band's two hour set, that love and dedication from the 16,000 plus audience forgave a band that is still finding its touring legs.

This was the 12th stop on the band's North American Chinese Democracy tour, which Axl has said "is going to go off and on for the next two or three years" and will see the band release at least two new albums worth of material. Let's hope the band doesn't hit too many bumps in the road, because they still have to work out how to put on a show.

Axl Rose is the only original member of GNR in the band today. Since the mid-90s, through lawsuits, busts, and slagging from his former bandmates in the media, Axl's been retooling the band to meet his musical vision, going through producers and players to find the perfect line-up. The current band is the result

The new GNR, described as surprisingly chatty, can no doubt play. The mysterious Buckethead's guitar solo that turned into a stunning Wagnerian rendition of the Star Wars theme proved that.

But in that example also lays the problem. Buckethead's solo was so long I watched the first part of it, went to get a drink, came all the way back to my seat and he was still playing. People were looking at their watches, and most of these fans love that type of stuff.

There is a real core of a really good, down and dirty rock 'n roll band in former Primus drummer Brian Mantia, former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, and guitar player Richard Fortus. Time after time last night, the three locked into grooves that were tighter than a vice.

In comparison, keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman, and dueling lead guitarists Robin Finck, formerly of Nine Inch Nails, and Buckethead were too remote, too clean. Most of the time, it was like these guys didn't want to break much of a sweat.

Sure, they had all the pyrotechnics and sure they played all the hits and almost all of the band's 1987 major label debut Appetite For Destruction and sometimes they really cooked in that way that reminds you that GNR were once the most dangerous and probably best rock'n roll band in the world. But last night's show lacked focus and because of that the energy lagged.

It was a collection of little things. Numerous technical problems and inconsistent sound levels. The stage going dark between every song, which essentially pulled the plug on the crowd's roar. Or Axl oddly leaving the stage during every instrumental section of every song. Was he going back to sip tea for his throat? Who knows. Or Buckethead's wandering around the stage between solos like he didn't know what to do with himself.

Maybe Axl has to let the new guys off the leash more, or maybe they get kind of bored playing other people's songs. I think the latter might be the case, because when they launched into the as yet unreleased new songs like Chinese Democracy it all became much more cohesive and powerful.

Was it a great show? No. Was it a good show? Yes. And would I say go see them again? Yes. You know why? Because once the usual GNR controversy of riots and temper tantrums dies down and they are just a working band on tour, and once people start to hear and know the new songs, well, then Guns 'N Roses, this Guns 'N Roses, will truly kick. And that will be a sight to see.

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