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2006.05.12 - Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, USA

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2006.05.12 - Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, USA Empty 2006.05.12 - Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:02 am

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.

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

Post by Soulmonster on Thu May 08, 2014 11:37 am

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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Post by Blackstar on Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:47 am

From MTV News:


NEW YORK — Would Axl Rose bail on us again?

That was the main question on the minds of the 3,300 people who packed the Hammerstein Ballroom here on Friday night. And if the unpredictable, reclusive Axl did come through, as promised, to take the stage with his current incarnation of Guns N' Roses, would the much-rumored reunion of expatriates Slash and Izzy Stradlin also materialize?

"I have my doubts," said Josh, a 24-year-old GN'R fan who drove down from Boston and coughed up $200 for a scalped ticket. "I was at the 2002 concert in Philadelphia, when he didn't show, and I was pissed. I thought it would never happen again. Guns is the best band ever. And if I see Slash tonight, I'll sh-- myself."

At around 11 p.m., the sell-out crowd — which included actor Ethan Hawke and Skid Row's Sebastian Bach — got some answers. Approximately an hour and 15 minutes after Guns were due to storm the Hammerstein stage, Rose emerged with his latest configuration, which — at the moment anyway — consists of keyboardists Dizzy Reed (the sole holdover from the Use Your Illusion-era lineup) and Chris Pittman, ex-Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, former Primus kitman Brian "Brain" Mantia and three guitarists: erstwhile Nine Inch Nails member Robin Finck, ex-Psychedelic Furs axeman Richard Fortus and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, a New York musician hired just last week to replace long-departed virtuoso Buckethead.

But it wasn't until the show's end, at around 1:30 a.m., that the realization set in: Sometimes rumors are just that. Slash Slash and Stradlin were nowhere to be found.

The audience (which ranged in age from not-yet-old-enough-to-vote to "Grandma? Is that you?," with the median age appearing to be around 35) welcomed Rose — who was clad in a pleather shirt unbuttoned to reveal a crucifix hanging from a large necklace, tattered blue jeans, designer shades and his cornrows tied back in a ponytail — and the band with thunderous cheers and screams as the band launched into its opener, "Welcome to the Jungle."

The gig was Rose's first in more than three years, and the first of four sold-out "warm-up" shows preceding GN'R's summer's worth of European festival appearances; the second concert went off Sunday night, with the third set for Monday (May 15), and the fourth on Wednesday. The New York shows are Guns N' Roses' first since the ill-fated global comeback tour of 2002, which sputtered to a halt following the band's performance at New York's Madison Square Garden; Axl didn't take the stage for the following day's booking in Philadelphia, the crowd rioted, and the remaining dates were axed.

Halfway through "Jungle," Rose was sopping wet — not since Patrick Ewing last hit the hardwood has one man sweated so profusely after just two minutes of physical exertion. As he roared, "I, I wanna hear you scream," Axl unleashed his signature serpentine sway.

Fire blasts and Roman candle-esque pyrotechnics exploded at all the appropriate moments, and the heat from these onstage detonations could even be felt by those huddled around the venue's back bar area. Indeed, the feel of the set was energized and huge: This was a stadium-size performance inside a theater; it was as if the band were playing for 50,000 fans.

Rose, 44, scampered around the stage like a schizophrenic with a hard-to-reach back itch, defying the extra poundage he's visibly added. However, his voice isn't what it once was: At several points during the 19-song set, it appeared Rose couldn't sustain certain notes, taking breathers here and there or simply deferring to the crowd. Although his pipes were smooth for most of the night, they failed him on at least two critical occasions: "Sweet Child O' Mine" and Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die".

The band also stumbled at times, most noticeably during "Better" — one of several new songs that have leaked online and are believed to be from Rose's decade-in-the-making LP Chinese Democracy, which he said in a recent interview should be out this fall. The crowd even sang along with many of the leaked tracks, which also included "Madagascar," "There Was a Time," "I.R.S.," "The Blues" and the album's title track.

But the audience came to hear the classics, even if they were being performed by Axl and what basically amounts to a GN'R cover band. The floor at the Hammerstein seemed to buckle under the weight of the foot-stomping, horn-wielding mob during "It's So Easy," "Mr. Brownstone" and Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," which Axl introduced by saying, "This is about a place I've been one too many times."

The night's most memorable moments came with "November Rain," "Patience," and the confetti-coated closer, "Paradise City," which inspired a sea of butane-fueled light. Even the night's opening act, Bullet for My Valentine, couldn't resist rockin' out at the bar, even if it was in jest. At one point, Bach joined Rose onstage and the pair belted out "My Michelle," signaling an official, belated end to a long-running feud that many may have forgotten about.

Sunday night's performance brought virtually the same set, with one additional song tossed in to the mix: Appetite for Destruction's closer, "Rocket Queen." Rose seemed more comfortable during the second show and interacted with the audience, shaking hands and talking to fans; the show felt more organic overall.

Sure, this wasn't 1991, and yes, it was Rose standing up there with a bunch of hired guns that doesn't seem capable of holding a candle to the band's classic lineup — but regardless, the energy and the essence of GN'R remains intact. To true fans, hearing Axl sing those songs, and seeing his rosy mug, was enough to justify that hundreds they'd dropped on tickets and $85 GN'R hockey jerseys.

"I'm just psyched," said Terry, a 40-year-old fan from Long Island, after the show. "They nailed it. This was even better than I imagined. It didn't matter to me what they played — I was going to love it regardless."

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Post by Blackstar on Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:52 am

New York Post:

By Dan Aquilante
May 15, 2006

THE question of whether Axl Rose has finally satisfied his legendary appetite for self-destruction was on the minds of Tim, Jamie and Jim Bob – three longtime Guns N’ Roses fans – waiting on the block-long line to get into the band’s Hammerstein Ballroom gig Friday.

“I just hope he shows up,” Tim said after recalling how he got burned at Axl’s no-show Philadelphia gig back in 2002.

Axl made it, and the guys weren’t disappointed at the first of GN’R’s four-night series that ends this week with concerts tonight and Wednesday.

He wore a pleather shirt, ripped blue jeans, and his hair was woven into mini-rasta braids. Rose has traded his flat-expressionless Botox-face for a mug that’s 40-something handsome yet rugged.

And during the more than 20-song program, Rose was physically energetic and sang with newfound enthusiasm for the mostly old songs gleaned from the Guns’ back catalog. Axl crooned the ballads smoothly and snarled his way through the metallic thrashers.

Still, his name and the word “perfection” don’t often appear together.

True to form, Rose let the tension in the theater build to audience anger by opening the doors at 7:30 and taking the stage at 11 p.m. He made up for his intentional tardiness and smoothed the ruffled, sweaty feathers of the audience by wall- oping the house with a generous two- hour and 15-minute set.

There were a few sonic stumbles, but the worst came during the passionate GN’R classic “November Rain,” where the seven piece back-up band totally overpowered the man because his mike was set too low and their instruments were amped too high.

And while it was good news that weird- ass Buckethead was booted as the Gunner guitar ace and replaced by fretman Ron Thal, aka Bumblefoot, there wasn’t a fan at the Hammer who didn’t miss Slash’s guitar flash.

Rumors that former Guns rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin would do a guest turn at this show were unfounded. Rose did get a little help from Sebastian Bach, the former Skid Row frontman, who stepped out of the wings for a vocal duet on “My Michelle.” Unfortunately, the two singers had zero chemistry.

The show came on strong with a terrific combination of “Welcome to the Jungle,” “It’s So Easy” and “Mr. Brown stone.” They did even better on the cover tunes, which included Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” and Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” But the night’s biggest bang came during the encore when Rose ripped his way through “Paradise City” – you know, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. During the extended version of that song, Rose prowled the stage and belted the hook-laden rocker as if it were 1990 again.

The sold-out house was much less enthusiastic for newer material from the Guns’ “Chinese Democracy,” which has been about to be released for the last decade. Of those songs, the record’s title cut and “The Blues” were tops.

You might ask: Is Axl still significant in today’s music?

Rock relevance is relative to who’s doing the listening. While Axl’s best songs were composed in his youth, the public is still interested in him as a performer. These four shows, with a total of 16,000 tickets, sold out in just three minutes. Axl may need a little grease, but he isn’t broken yet.

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Post by Blackstar on Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:22 pm

The New York Times:
'Warm-Up Show' for Guns N' Roses

MAY 13, 2006

Rock and roll audiences want to identify with the guy singing the song; they need to, in fact. But you’d be hard-pressed to prove that the crowd at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Friday night was identifying with W. Axl Rose. What does he represent, at this stage of the game? Survival? Re-invention? Creative control? The tortured artist? The persistence of the yowl? If the spirit of his age resides in him, his long postponement of an infamous album has diluted that spirit somewhat.

But if the physical reality of Mr. Rose - dressed L.A. style in a leather shirt and jeans and wearing a large silver cross, his hair corn-rowed and pulled back - wasn’t an easy figure to identify with, his voice and body language did the job instead. When he sang “Paradise City,” the crowd adopted a yowl in kind; when he danced in his undulating movements, like the letter S turning itself inside out, the men and women in the audience involuntarily moved that way too.

Friday night’s concert was the first of four Guns N’ Roses shows at Hammerstein Ballroom. On stage, Mr. Rose called them “warm-up shows” for the band’s European tour, which begins May 25 in Madrid. It’s fair to assume that the large-theater shows will have clearer sound and more effective stagecraft; Mr. Rose’s voice sounded strong, even in his highest nasal shrieks, but the band wasn’t using the warm-up time to experiment. The set list of the two-hours-plus show, complete with flash pots and confetti, came pretty close to what an only slightly different version of the band was playing four years ago, on its last tour.

Mr. Rose is the only original member left in the quintessential ‘80s hard-rock band, and this has been the case since 1997. The newest of the seven musicians backing up Mr. Rose on Friday, one of its three guitarists, is Ron Thal, also known as Bumblefoot. (One of his guitars has been designed to look like the bottom of a foot, with bumblebee stripes.) He takes up the role of the pyrotechnic shredder, vacated in 2004 by the guitarist Buckethead. At certain points in the show, including a few discontinuous unaccompanied solos, he accelerated to impressively fast chromatic runs; he also played some lavish, Hendrix-influenced blues language. Why this band’s gut-level songs now require the ornamentation of a wizardly guitarist at all remains unclear. It makes the band more atemporal, more Vegas-y, than necessary.

It was the group’s principal guitarist, Robin Finck, who made the sweetest and most grounded music of the night, and seemed most comfortable at work. An off-and-on member of the band for nine years now, Mr. Finck assumed most of the lines in the old songs formerly played by the guitarist Slash. But when he improvised, he spun out simple patterns, shaking the guitar’s neck and getting warmth and resonance out of each note or chord; his own unaccompanied solo, just before the concert’s final number, was a beautifully coherent, non-shredding couple of minutes, the best of the less-familiar music played in the show. He gave himself to the crowd, even literally, diving in to the audience three times.

The less-familiar songs were, actually, kind of familiar. That infamous, postponed Guns N’ Roses album, of course, is “Chinese Democracy,” which has been in the making for much of the last decade, and still has not been scheduled for release. Some of its songs included in the concert—“The Blues,” “Better,” “Madagascar,” “Chinese Democracy,” “There Was a Time,” and “IRS”—are easy enough to find on the internet, in leaked demos and bootlegged live performances. And in the concert, the new songs distinguished themselves visually as well as sonically, with serious-looking video backdrops: stained-glass details, religious portraiture, Martin Luther King speeches.

The crowd didn’t go nuts for them. Most of the new songs are dystopian, tense, portentous, finally a bit inconclusive; they dabble in electronic rhythms, big keyboard sounds and droning repetition. They didn’t produce much catharsis, on stage or in the audience. “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and “Patience,” on the other hand, were among the set’s old songs that motored along on earthy, meaty riffs, and provoked the fully expected but still astonishing spectacle of a full house roaring along with every word.

Guns N’ Roses continue at Hammerstein Ballroom on May 15 and 17.

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