Guns N' Roses in Tampa, Florida

By A Headbanger, Do You Bang Head?
Sunday, November 5, 2006 @ 10:38 AM

At the St. PEte Times Forum

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By: Ragingdoggy

The show can be summarized in one sentence: It belongs in the pantheon of greatest concerts ever. I am not an Axl Rose mark and find myself incredulously stupefied that I’m staring at that sentence knowing I wrote it and having come into this performance with the greatest of skepticisms. Axl is always late. The odds of him even showing up are approximately equal to that of rain on any given day. His voice I’ve repeatedly heard was shot.

My friend called from Miami the previous evening speaking of the show in quite unrealistic if yet impossible accolades. Next day, a good friend lays tickets in my lap. Good friend makes me happy. Dopamine for everyone!!

The show was scheduled to begin at 7:30. Uh, no. Approximately 8:45 Sebastian Bach takes the stage. He opened with “Slave to the Grind” and finished with “Youth Gone Wild”. His performance was best described by one of the two extremely-comfortable-in-their-bisexuality girls sitting next to me. She said, “Sebastian Bach had so much vocal training on Broadway that these songs are now beneath him.” Indeed, she was correct. The man could simply pierce through a bank vault with the pipes he is bringing to the table. Talent becomes obvious when you are given absolutely no lighting and what couldn’t have been more than 6-8 feet of width on the stage. The drums set had to be placed along the front line as if it were a guitar player.

Papa Roach followed with a set that was simply pure energy. While not as vocally blessed as Sebastian, Jacoby Shaddix and crew forced their show upon you until you relented. I’ve been pondering as to how to describe their set and can only come up with a hypothetical conversation between Jacoby and myself. Here goes:

    Jacoby(screaming): You’re gonna jump motherfucker and you’re gonna like it!
    Me: But I don’t wanna jump.
    Jacoby: Jump bitch!
    Me: Ok Jacoby.
    …and I jumped. And I liked it.

“Last Resort”, the finale, punctuated a truly inspired performance.

GNR was next. Or so everyone thought. Actually the 3rd act was an hour and a half of “wait and like it” while Axl gets fucked up in his dressing room. I passed the time on the Internet (cell phone), watching the girls make out next to me, and watching my friend die on the vine as he was into his 10th cocktail with no momentum whatsoever. I wanted to wager with him as to the size of the crowd but we both threw out 8000. A good crowd but there was no monetary action to be had.

Promptly at midnight, to a chorus of “boos” after so much waiting. Then almost instantaneously, houselights! “Do you know where you are Tampa???? You’re in the jungle baby, you’re gonna die.” And off we went.

8 songs off Appetite For Destruction, 2 off GNR Lies, 2 off Use Your Illusion 1, 2 from Use Your Illusion 2, and 3 from the upcoming Chinese Democracy. All intertwined with 3 intro/guitar solos all of which demonstrated their own personal virtuoso leading into either “Sweet Child of Mine”, “Out to Get Me”, and a tease of “Don’t Cry”. Everything was an extended jam session with just enough passion and feeling. Dizzy Reed chimed in as well with the first of two performances on the piano which I will forever remember. Axl’s voice was dead-on all night with November Rain effortlessly soothing any wounded soul.

The stage was two level to accommodate all 8 musicians. Imagine a red, black, and tan motif with Chinese lettering, plenty of pyro, along with 3 video screens either showing Axl or Robin Fink virtually exclusively.

Other highlights included Sebastian Bach returning to the stage to exchange verses of “My Michelle” with Axl.

Over 2 hours later, the encore was “Madagascar” along with the finale “Paradise City”. Axl threw his microphone into the audience as millions of pieces of confetti showered us all.

I can only give them the praise they deserve which is plenty. Nothing about this performance disappointed and was orchestrated to virtual perfection. Don’t miss this show.

Set List (This is from memory but pretty damn close)

    1. Welcome To The Jungle
    2. Its So Easy
    3. Mr Brownstrone
    4. Live And Let Die
    5. Robin Fink Guitar Solo
    6. Sweet Child Of Mine
    7. Knockin On Heavens Door
    8. You Could Be Mine
    9. Dizzy Reed Solo
    10. Better
    11. Guitar Solo
    12. Out To Get Me
    13. November Rain
    14. Guitar Solo
    15. My Michelle
    16. IRS
    17. Used To Love Her
    18. Patience
    19. Nightrain


    20: Madagascar
    21: Paradise City

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