Guns N’ Roses Live In Las Vegas

By Darren K, Pure Rock Patroller
Monday, December 31, 2001 @ 11:15 AM

Guns N’ Roses Live At The Join

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I was not very excited coming into this show as opposed to last year’s House Of Blues show where I could not sleep for days before the event.

I didn't think this show would be nearly as good as the HOB show. Before the concert started, I got to hang out with other GN’R Bar members and I was in line with C2YA talking about GN’R and stuff. Anyway, once the door opened I tried to get right up to the stage but people were already crowded up against the barrier so I just went to the souvenir stand and got two t-shirts. They are not nearly as cool as “Chinese Democracy Starts Now!" shirts but I had to get them anyway. So after I got the shirts I ended up getting a really awesome seat. I was right up against the railing on the first fold, which was like raised about a foot from where the other floor section was. It was great because nobody got in my way. I could see everything clearly. After about three hours of waiting, the lights dimmed, the balcony opened, and the big screen TVs were on.

There were two new opening clips. The first one made no sense at all to me. It was some cheesy B-movie of a soldier running through enemy fire. I had no idea what the hell that had to do with anything. The second clip also did not make much sense to me either. It had something to do with money and how we are a slave to money. Once the clip ended, they started to play “Welcome To The Jungle” and the place went nuts.

I don't know what the hell happened to Axl. He either got liposuction or went on some amazing diet because he looks like he lost about 25+ pounds from the Rock In Rio 3 gig last year. He first came out wearing a football jersey then he changed into one of those Bruce Lee kung fu outfits (the ones that are all black with white buttons). He left it unbutton. I'm gonna quote Bart Simpson when I say this but Axl "could grate cheese on his abs." The guy looked great. Buckethead was his typical self. Nothing new. Robin Finck had longer hair, as did Tommy Stinson. Paul looks the same and Brain shaved his head completely bald. Dizzy has long dread locks. Oh and Chris Pitman...I'm not sure if I am right because it was a little hard to see (I have bad vision) but it looked as if he was going for the Slipknot look. I think he had some sort of mask on with zippers on it and long dread locks. Anyway he looked awesome. A lot better then the gay biker look he was going with before.

I have two complaints about this show. 1) They pretty much used the SAME EXACT SET LIST as they did at HOB and Rio. Except they didn't play “Nightrain” and “Rhiad.” My second complaint was the sound. All I know is by today somebody is going to be looking for a job. Those techs did a horrible job. There were times where Axl's voice kept dropping in and out especially during “Oh My God,” where his mic did not work at all. I have never seen him look so pissed off in my life. The band was playing a great version of “Oh My God” (the best I have heard) but there were no vocals. Axl kept walking backstage (probably to cuss them out) and coming back onstage. At one point he just stood there with this look on his face as if he was saying, "somebody is going to die." Near the end of “Oh My God,” Axl walked off stage and at the very end of the song Robin Finck threw his guitar on the floor and the entire band left the stage. At this point everybody was either pissed off or worried (or both). Worried because there was a very good chance that the show was over. Then out of the blue they got back on stage as if nothing went wrong and started playing. I have to hand it to Tommy Stinson, even with all the problems going on, he maintained his composure and sang the chorus to the song.

That was not the only thing that was screwed up with the sound. Buckethead's solos could barely even be heard. I could not even hear his solo at the end of “November Rain.” However, with those major flaws in the show, I must say that they exceeded my expectations and played a better show then they did at HOB and Rio. The band played every song like it was meant to be played and Axl's voice was louder then it was before (despite the audio problems). They played harder and louder then they did at HOB and it was just a better show in my opinion.

I would have to say that the biggest surprise of the show was “Silk Worms.” They did some serious tweaking with this song and it sounds amazing. The other version just had a bunch of noises that didn't really fit together. This newer version works perfectly and it follows a structure. “November Rain” was great. Axl had a new piano intro to the song and “Madagascar” was amazing. Before this show, I would say that “Madagascar” was not one of my favorites of the new songs. However, for some reason this version sounded much harder. I loved it.

I totally accepted the fact that GNR IS AXL ROSE.
I was a little disappointed with Buckethead. He had a pretty long solo act going on where he was alone on stage (no kung fu moves this time) just shredding on guitar. I was not very impressed by it. It didn't sound all that great. Where he did impress me is when he played an acoustic guitar right before “Patience.” I have never in my life heard an acoustic guitar sound so good. He did some crazy finger picking on that song.

Brain...this guy is amazing. I can't stress how important he is to the band. His drumming made this show great.

Robin nailed ever solo that he played.

And Axl -- his voice gets better and better with every show. His voice sounds so much cleaner and he has more range. He is able to hold his voice for a pretty long time.

He is just altogether a much different person.

I was shocked when he was shaking hands with the fans. And his speech that he gave...well it answered a lot of questions.

He talked about why the European tour was canceled. His story follows the press release that was given to the press when they canceled it. Turns out the record label wanted to make some money so they booked the shows without Axl's knowledge. It was funny because he said the first time he found out he was playing in Europe was when he read it on the Internet. He said that he was not ready for the shows and instead of canceling it they postponed it to later dates because they had already made a lot of money off of it (they sold out most of the venues according to Axl) and did not want to give a refund. And as we all know...those shows got canceled. He also talked about how the HOB and RIR shows were not planned by him and that the band was not even prepared. Axl said that before they rehearsed for the shows, much of them members in the band had never even spoken one work to each other. He also took time out to give another stab at the old members. He said they were not in GN’R for GN’R. They just loved the celebrity of the whole thing. Then he went on to say that these shows in Vegas were his planning and they were actually ready to play the gig. Axl jokingly acknowledged that because he planned it that everything had to mess up (the sound) and he said "but that's OK." The audience (including myself) were puzzled. Like "who the fuck is this guy? what did he do to Axl?" It was amazing to see Axl brush it off like it was nothing. If this had happened in the ‘80s or early ‘90s, Axl would have thrown a fit.

The most touching part of the speech was at the end where he said (this isn't an exact quote) "we have been working day and night on this album. You may like it or you may hate it but I gave it my best." This is about the time where I totally accepted the fact that GNR IS AXL ROSE.

They closed the show with “Paradise City” (my neck is still hurting from head banging to this song) and that was the end of what was probably the greatest GN’R show.

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