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Guns N' Roses and Sebastian Bach in Worcester, MA

By Debby Rao, Boston Contributor
Friday, November 10, 2006 @ 1:50 PM

At the DCU Center

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Worcester rolled out the red carpet Wednesday night, as Guns N' Roses, Sebastian Bach, and Papa Roach invaded the DCU Center in Worcester, in what has to be one of the most exhilarating concerts I have ever seen.

The heyday of the 80's may be long over, but 80's music is still alive and well in the city of seven hills. The newly revamped Guns N' Roses, with their ever-changing revolving cast of characters weaved their musical styles around one of the greatest performers to emerge from that genre, Mr. Axl Rose. Actually GNR and Sebastian Bach and his old band Skid Row, toured together in the early 90's on the "Use Your Illusion" Tour. They say that lightning doesn't hit twice, but here they are again back on the concert bill of the year. The characters may have changed, but the two major front man Axl Rose of GNR, and Sebastian Bach are back to make a major comeback in 2006.

Due to Monday's GNR cancellation in Portland, Maine, tickets were honored at the Worcester show, packing the venue to enthusiastic metal fans from around the state.

Kicking off the musical festivities was charismatic 80's rocker Sebastian Bach. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Sebastian about the current GNR Tour, as he told me to be prepared to stay all night, it is a very long show. Well let me tell you, Sebastian wasn't kidding. Opening with "Slave To The Grind", Sebastian and his new band held the audience in the palm of his hand, as the dynamic performer mesmerized the crowd with his strong vocal talent. Sebastian still has an amazingly strong voice, and belted out all the crowd favorites such as, "18 and Life," and "Youth Gone Wild" with a passion.

Sebastian yelled to the crowd, "I am always hearing, where are all the rock stars? Well they are here tonight in Worcester. What up with the name DCU Center? This will always be the Worcester Centrum. I have the best memories of performing in Worcester."

Highlights of the set included "I Remember You", in which he dedicated that song to his step mom Liz Bierk. Sebastian always sounded amazing on the ballads, and tonight's performance was exceptional. Other highlights included the ferocious performance of "Monkey Business." Guitarist Metal Mike Chlasciak did a fantastic job, shredding out the catchy riffs from start to finish. I am looking forward to hearing Metal Mike perform on the new Sebastian Bach release, “Angel Down." Sebastian has found the perfect guitarist for his strong voice.

Although I have heard these 80's hits many times, Sebastian's performance tonight made the catchy tunes sound brand new. The charismatic singer always puts on a great show, and it is exhilarating to watch the energy that was taking place onstage. It is always hard for an opening band to get things started, but Sebastian Bach took full control of the situation, never letting up the momentum, performing timeless hits from his commanding 75-minute performance.

Sebastian joked, "This is a rock show, not American Idol. Simon does not tell the American public who their American Idol is. 20 years ago, this song “Youth Gone Wild" was America's anthem.” Well it may be 2006, but Sebastian Bach sold the young crowd of metal heads, his metal values of standing up for what you believe in, and to play music that you enjoy. Back in the 80's, concert was all about having fun, and tonight's performance brought back that good feeling once again.

Sebastian also gave the crowd a sneak preview of his new release, performing new song, ”By Your Side”, dedicating that song to the real heroes our military.

Sebastian Bach described the tour to me as, “Welcome to The Jungle Of The Youth Gone Wild." I couldn't agree more. Baz is back with a great new band and rock and roll attitude! I had the opportunity to discuss the tour with Sebastian. This is what he had to say.

On performing to a sold out show at Madison Square Garden with GNR:

BACH: Yes, it is sold out. With my old band the closest we ever got to Madison Square Garden was when we headlined the Felt Forum, which is in the same building, but it is like way, way smaller. That was in 1992. Here we are in 2006, when the tickets went on sale, we sold out Madison Square Garden in a week. Meadowlands is almost sold out too. That is amazing. It is fuckin great. I have always known that the fans that I played too fifteen years ago, they are not all dead. I know they are out there. Rock and roll is back. That is a cool thing. I am a lucky man. It is great for me to finally be able to really establish myself as a solo artist in the eyes of American rock fans with a gigantic arena tour. That feels really good to me.

On sharing the stage with Axl Rose:

BACH: It's a trip. You know vocally it is a bit of a challenge really, to do my whole set, and then wait through Papa Roach, and then go back on and scream my ass off again. It is a lot of singing for me. But it is a good thing that I love to sing.

On how the music industry has changed since the 80's:

BACH: Well I always read articles in music magazines that say where are the rock stars of 2006? I am reading it and I am going dude I am right fuckin’ here what do you want? (Laughter) I have just been doing this all my life. It is a lot of fun. It is a dream come true. I get emotional sometimes. I have had a great life, and a great career. It just keeps getting better. Our music has survived the test of time. It is amazing how much people still listen to the songs.

On the new album, "Angel Down”:

BACH: Well it is not completed. I have a little more singing to do. Musically it is pretty much completed, but we are still working on some guitar solos. I have a little bit more singing to do on the record. We did record in June for three weeks with Roy Z. At this point in my career I am going to go to my grave trying to beat “Slave to The Grind", which I think is the best record I ever did. I just want to make an album that you can put in your I pod next to the other albums I did and have it fit and make sense. Some of my favorite bands like Rush and AC/DC; they have 20 or 30 records. I got like five or six. That is what I want to do. I want a kick ass, fuckin hard rock, sleazy, balls out rock and roll record.

On starring in VH1’s reality show “Supergroup”:

BACH: I didn't really mind having the cameras on me 24/7 except it gets annoying like when you are doing mundane boring day to day things. Like making coffee, or making a piece of toast. It is like why do you have five fuckin cameras on me when I making coffee. Who cares? (Laughter) I just look at very simply, in 1989 I was on MTV with "18 and Life", “Youth Gone Wild" in 2006 it is Supergroup. The game changed, the players changed, but I am on there still. I am still in your living room. I am right there in your living room; you can get a bowl of popcorn and rock out to Sebastian Bach. That is cool. That is what they do show rockers in reality TV situations now, instead of rock videos. That is out of my control. I don't control that. But I am still on that channel; I am still in your living room that is my intention.

Next up Papa Roach hit the stage for a much shorter set that was punk-rap infused. I have always wanted to see this band perform live, and tonight was very convenient to have them on the same bill with GNR. The younger male audience enjoyed their set, as the singer jumped into the audience with his gutsy performance. I recognized one of their tunes, “Scars", but mainly all the tunes sounded alike to me. I would have much rather heard Sebastian perform longer, or just bring in another 80's band to fit the mold. Papa Roach did perform a very tight set, but seemed a little out of their element among the metal heads in the audience.

Well, it was close to 10:30 P.M., as the night was flying by, just listening to so much music. I met up with Quiet Riot guitarist Alex Grossi and his Mom, at our VIP seats, and we discussed the show.

Soon it was 11:30 P.M., as the lights dimmed and this voice came over the loudspeaker, “Do you know where you are? You're in the Jungle Baby, You’re Going to Die." The crowd was on their feet, 10,000 fists in the air, as Axl Rose hit the stage in what has to be the performance of the year. Dressed in blue jeans, a black leather jacket, his hair in a ponytail full of braids, Axl proved that he is back in full force. Strutting around stage with his signature strut, Axl owned the stage and prowled like a wild animal that was just unleashed in the jungle.

The stage setting was very simple with Chinese symbols on Red and White curtains, and one high-rise that featured keyboard player Dizzy Reed, and new drummer recruit Frank Ferrer, who is filling in for Brain (Bryan "Brain" Mantia). The show featured just the right amount of pyro, nothing too elaborate. The focus was mainly on Axl and his hypnotic performance.

The early part of the set featured all the early GNR hits, such as "Mr. Brownstone", “It Ain't Easy", and "Live and Let Die”. I must say I really like that song live. Axl's voice sounded amazingly strong, with only a few microphone technical difficulties. You could tell right there on stage in Worcester was where he wanted to be. Axl was dedicated to giving 100 percent to his fans to make up for the cancelled Portland show. Axl joked with the audience, and said, “Hello Portland. Wait a minute, I mean Worcester.”

The band did a very good job on "Sweet Child O' Mine”, and a cool rendition of "Knockin On Heaven's Door”, as the audience sang along to Axl's every word.

Tonight's GNR performance was sparked by a variety of guitar solos, and an outstanding piano solo by Dizzy Reed, before the band slammed into new song, ”The Blues”.

One of the most amazing highlights of the night featured GNR keyboard player Dizzy Reed performing a beautiful piano version of The Rolling Stones hit, "Angie". Anyone who knows Dizzy is aware that he is a very huge Stones fan. Dizzy tickled the ivories, and clearly held the audience spellbound with his brilliant performance. I have heard Dizzy perform many times, and I want to say to see him perform on the baby grand piano in front of 10,000 people was simply breath taking. His performance simply blew away all three guitar solos from GNR.

GNR then slammed into ”The Blues”, and the funky "Better". Axl thanked the Worcester Fire Department for letting them perform as the band jumped into ”Out Ta get me”.

Before Axl's brilliant performance of "November Rain" Axl said, "I want a moment of silence for Britney and K-Fed.” That moment was priceless!

Lat time I was at the DCU Center was to see Velvet Revolver a few years ago. Tonight's GNR performance was clearly a greater response in both audience figures, and fan reactions than the Velvet Revolver show. Although Slash, Duff, and Matt were missing tonight, Axl stepped into the spotlight, filling the void and proving he is back and ready to unleash one of the best performances of his career. He seemed very comfortable, glad to be back performing again, and was having a blast joking with his new audience of Axl worshippers.

As I mentioned earlier, the night also prompted 3 guitar solos. The winner of the guitar contest would have to go out to Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, as the gifted guitarist did a flawless job on the guitar instrumental, ”Don’t Cry". Guitarist Richard Fortus, and Robin Fink performed the Christine Aguiliera song, ”Beautiful", but failed to reach the intensity of Bumblefoot. I am a very guitar oriented person, but three guitars solos in one set, is a bit much. I would have much rather see Axl or Dizzy perform more on piano.

You could hear a pin drop when Axl did an amazing job performing "November Rain" on piano. That song has got to be one of my favorite GNR tunes.

Well it was 1:30 A.M., as the night was flying by, and by now it was early morning and the party was just getting started. Like a ball of energy, Sebastian Bach hit the stage to perform the duet of the year with Axl on ”My Michelle". Like a force of Mother Nature that you can’t reckon with, Sebastian and Axl are two performers that were meant to share the same stage. It was so much fun to watch two of the strongest singers to emerge out of the 80's genre, belting out this classic hit in concert.

Next up, one of my favorite tunes, “Patience". Then, Axl ended the night with ”Night Train", and came back to do two encores which included new song "Madagascar", and crowd favorite "Paradise City”. He should of ended the show with the song ”2 A.M.”, all kidding aside, tonight’s GNR and Sebastian Bach performance was one of the best shows that I’ve ever experienced.

Worcester experienced a night of magic that I will not soon forget. Axl Rose is back in full force. Sebastian Bach re-opened the doors to 80's metal. Tonight's Guns N' Roses and Sebastian Bach performance turned back the hands of time to 1989 when metal ruled the world, and showed a whole new world of metal heads out there, how to rock in 2006.

GNR Set list:

  • Welcome to the Jungle
  • It's So Easy
  • Mr. Brownstone
  • Live and Let Die
  • Sweet Child O'Mine
  • Knockin On Heaven's Door
  • You Could Be Mine
  • Dizzy Solo- Angie
  • The Blues
  • Better
  • Out Ta Get Me
  • November Rain
  • Down On The Farm
  • I.R.S.
  • My Michelle with Sebastian
  • Patience
  • Night Train

  • Madagascar
  • Paradise City

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