The folks at AT&T Blue Room did it again this past weekend offering up coverage of KROQ’s Inland Invasion show featuring the likes of Muse, Buckcherry, Alice in Chains (not featured online however) and one Guns N’ Roses. In all fairness I didn’t take the time to relax and soak in the hours and hours of bands, band interviews and backstage hijinks, but rather waited until it was roughly time for Gunners to hit the stage to watch. So roughly an hour after the band was scheduled to start, KROQ darling Striker sloppily introduced the band to the worldwide internet audience, and all hell broke loose. Literally. This explains for the inconsistent sound quality (also: that clicking sound is on the recording for these songs, the page kept unexpectedly refreshing itself…don’t know why, I can’t explain it…only for the first few songs though) and the broken songs in the set. “Welcome to the Jungle,” “It’s So Easy” and “Mr. Brownstone” were all victims of my internet connection. Though, if you’re listening to this, you pretty much know how they sound.
From there on out, however, the show was fairly brilliant. Not in the sense that Axl could match wits with any given member of the cast of SNL (even the current cast), but in that he had his band well rehearsed and prepared for the show; something I was not expecting at all.
The band went through “Live and Let Die” while Axl warmed up his voice and the band began taking its presence on the stage. Just as the crowd was starting to get into it, realizing that it was actually seeing a Guns N’ Roses show, Axl did something that was truly unexpected. After all has been said about his egotistical ways he was quite gracious in sharing spotlight time over the course of the night including this amazing solo from guitarist Robin Finck.
The solo served as not only an introduction to the guitarist for those who weren’t familiar with him, but it also showed that the band isn’t there to simply play “the classics,” though they did that too. Leading into Slash’s masterpiece “Sweet Child O’ Mine” Finck showed that he deserves to be one stage amongst the odd mixture of musician that had been assembled for this second generation Guns N’ Roses.
“Knockin’ on Heavens Door” seemed conversational in the way in which Axl approached it. From years of satirical skits and jokes about him, it seemed like his singing voice is just the way he talks, “knockin’ on heaven’s doouooouoooyeahiyeah,” so it’s hard to revisit something that says otherwise. Know what i mean? It’s surreal to hear in a setting like this, years past his prime, Axl just letting it hang out a bit while still occasionally putting everything he has into it at times. We hear him now relaxing and enjoying the luxury of knowing that every single person in the crowd knows the lyrics to your songs and are all singing along with you. What a strange situation that must be for a person. The crowd interaction on this song is absolutely fantastic and towards the end, Axl just rips it, almost as to say “I’m still Axl F’n Rose baby.” For the record, he is.
As previously mentioned, it kicked in that Axl might have some plan in place, and just might be following it. The musicians were prepared and got the crowd into a frenzy and just as you thought that it was good ol’ Guns N’ Roses, the new songs came into play, allowing for the development of this new modern band to take precedence over the older songs. Despite that monstrosity that was called a Gunners song on the End of Days soundtrack, the new material is actually good. Come to think of it, Axl could have released another few albums since “Oh My God” in 1999, so it’s fair to say that he has had time to grow since then…seven years time to be exact.
Speaking of things one can’t be expecting from a Guns N’ Roses show – when a Christina Aguilera song gets thrown into a jam, you know things have changed. But oddly, it isn’t bad…it’s…good…
Very interesting that all three guitarists took part in the solo action for the song with each taking a piece, Richard Fortus taking the first part, then Robin Finck, concluded by Rob “Bumblefoot” Thal. Not to say that it takes three guitarists to fill Slash’s shoes, but in this situation those sentiments aren’t far from the truth.
And then Sebastian Bach comes out. He does his thing but after seeing the VH1 show a few times (who am I kidding, I watched it religiously) I can’t really respect the guy (not that I did before the show)…in all honesty though, its a powerful rendition.
Then, hey kids, it’s solo time again! This time featuring the virtuoso-come-Gunner Rob “Bumblefoot” Thal.
Overall, I’d have to say that the show stunned me. I wasn’t expecting a band that even remotely resembled something “well thought out” or “prepared” but I was wrong. Hopefully we will see this new album released this year. Axl – let’s not continue the trend: