Saturday, December 21, 2002 @ 9:41 PM
Axl & Co. Live in Pittsburgh,
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REVIEW BY: Brian Gold
The show was on a freezing cold night. It rained, snowed and just about everything else in between. I was really looking forward to finally seeing the new GNR lineup. I heard a good bit about CKY also and wanted to check them out also.
First up was CKY. They sounded pretty good. I wasn't familiar with their songs all that much but the band had good energy to them. They were harassed most of the show by some diehard GNR fans down front and even got into a shouting match with them at the end of their set. Kind of felt bad for them, but that sometimes happens when everyone is looking forward to the headliner so much.
Next up was Mix Master Mike. I always thought the Beastie Boys were pretty cool, but I didn't think his show fit this kind of crowd very well. He is good at what he does, and he does put a lot of energy into his show, but after awhile... it got kind of old. He played a very long time, well over an hour. I think someone from the road crew must have said, Axl wont be out for awhile, play as long as you like.
Next up...GNR. They kept the fans waiting and didn't come on till 11:45pm. They did play for a solid two hours though and that made up for the long wait.
They opened with Welcome to the Jungle. There was some problem with the sound mix at first as Axl's sound was too low to start the song. It got better as the song went along and he sounded much better as the night went on. His voice was fine, although he sounded horse when he talked in between songs. Axl worked the crowd all night long. He came out wearing a Steelers Jersey and only switched to put on a Penguins Jersey. I'm sure he does that in each town he plays, but that just tells you how hard he is trying to get the fans back into the band.
The band played mostly songs off the first record and they still sounded great. The band sounded very tight. Buckethead showed off what an excellent guitar player he is and what a entertainer he is. Robin played well and his look fit the band. The bass player, Stinson, added a lot of energy to the band. Dizzy, Chris, Brain and Richard all were high energy all night. Axl ran around like a mad man from one side of the stage to the other all night. Highlights of the show were Nighttrain, Mr.Brownstone, Rocket Queen, November Rain, Live and Let Die, Madagascar, The Blues, Think About You, You Could Be Mine, and Paradise City. Nice added touch to come out waving a Terrible Towel for the encore. The crowd really ate it up. They played three new songs -- the two slower songs of the three were especially good. If they ever release this long awaited new album, I think they will be as big as any band around. Axl still sounds great, and the band is top-notch with a great mix of entertainment and musicianship.
The only negatives of the show were the side video screens that block the view of the stage for a lot of people and the sound wasn't good at first and needed to be worked out. I hear they don't sound check so maybe that is why there was a problem. I would still like to see them do some more songs off of the Illusion records. How about Coma, Dead Horse, Breakdown, Estranged, etc?
Excellent show overall. Everyone seemed to have a great time, band and fans included. The stage looked cool. The flashpots, bombs and confetti all added to the show.
All I think they need to be big again is to release the new material!!
Set list...not in the exact order, may have missed a song, but this should be pretty close:
Welcome to the Jungle
Itís So Easy
Think About You
Live and Let Die
You Could Be Mine
Sweet Child Oí Mine
Knockiní on Heaven's Door
Out To Get Me
3 new songs (Madagascar, The Blues, Chinese Democracy)
[The Editor apologizes for the delay in posting this review]