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Now *that* was a concert

By Tara Zandra | December 21, 2006

Oh Axl was good, very, very good. I don’t so much feel that I went to a Guns N’ Roses concert, more like an Axl Rose concert since I didn’t know any of the band members save for one keyboardist. Though Izzy did come out and play too for 4 or 5 songs. There was a sing-along to Mr. Grinch during a guitar solo and another guitar soloist played Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas which is one of my favorites. Plus all the ushers had Santa hats on so it was all quite fitting since this was my Christmas gift.

So the review I read for Sunday’s performance at the same Gibson Amphitheatre mentioned Mr. Sabastian Bach (you know, that washed up rocker who does all the bad VH1 metal shows. Oh, and my sister said he’s on Gilmore Girls?) played for 1 hour and then GN’R went on on time. Last night went a little different. It was kind of a case of wading through crap to get to the good stuff.

First act at 8:15 was the Suicide Girls. Uh, those would be strippers though Chris called them burlesque. Whatever. It was girls with g-strings and duct tape over their n*pples. That would be it. They danced, gyrated, shook, what have you. The finale was pouring chocolate sauce over themselves. Classy.

Next up was Helmut at 9:15. Chris thinks he knows of one song of theirs, but if it is their song they didn’t play it so we’ll never know. They were all right and started out pretty good but by the fourth song I was just tired of them and they were really loud. Like jump in your seat at the beginning of each song loud and neither of us was too interested so we left and walked around for awhile. So yes, we’re too old because it was too loud, lol.

At 10:15 Sebastian Bach comes out. I must say he looks just like he did way back when. That is both good and bad. On the one hand his body is amazing, on the other hand his hair is still the same (read: dated) and he’s still wearing pleather pants. He talked too much and was generally annoying so we left again and got spicy cheese fries. The sound was better though so it had nothing to do with that. Once we finished the fries we got tired of standing around so we went back to our seats and sat through the last 4 songs (and waaaaay too much talking/screaming. He kept calling the crowd “California”. I already know where I am dumbass.) He closed with “Youth Gone Wild” which just seemed out of place coming from a 38 year old man with a wife and two kids. Unless he was singing about thier temper tantrums in which case, preach on. All in all I really felt like he was a parody of himself.

So it’s now 11:00 and Axl hasn’t taken the stage yet. I’ve got my mom and sister at home baby-sitting the kids and I’m feeling really bad about how late we were obviously going to be. In between people watching I texted my sister to let her know the situation. Speaking of people watching, I loved seeing all the different outfits people wore. There were quite a few dressed normally like they would in their everyday life (that would be us). Of course this also includes people who don’t know how to dress normal in their everyday life. Here’s a newsflash to all you 45-50 year old men who haven’t cut their hair since 1985 and are still walking around in a wife beater, acid washed jeans, Converse, and a flannel around your waist: YOU WEREN’T COOL THEN AND YOU AREN’T COOL NOW! YOU LOOK RIDICULOUS AND YES, WE WERE LAUGHING AT YOU. YES, YOU! Moron.

Let’s not forget the women who also refuse to believe it is no longer the ’80s and dusted off their best whore outfits for the occasion. The problem is their bodies no longer fit into these outfits (assuming they ever did). Of course there were also the usual assortment of women wearing new whore outfits, too much make-up, and stiff hair in an attempt to convince themselves they still got it and it’s not big deal that they are alone with zero prospect of ever finding someone. You’ll find them at every concert. Also usually found at every concert would be the geeky, intellectual guy who desperately wishes to be cool but frankly doesn’t really get the music at all.

Of course, Guns N’ Roses is an older band so there was a broad age range. I was 13 when their first album came out so I was one of the younger original fans. Then there were the people who were in their 30s the first time around and are now in their 50s. Factor in the new teen fans and the grandparents bringing the grandkids (seriously) and there were people of all ages there.

So, 11:30 and Axl decides to take the stage and the next three hours he (and the band) rock the shite out of the place. It was incredible. I had a big ol’ smile on my face as favorite after favorite was played. We also got to hear 4 (or 5 if you ask Chris) new songs, and one of them I just loved. It was the one. The one that I will listen to over and over. It’s the forever-upcoming-album’s title track “Chinese Democracy” and was incredible. Right after that song they played another album track, “Madagascar” which I snagged of Napster eons ago from a live performance so I’m already familiar with it and love it.

Now I will say, this is “anger management Axl” which means it was a wholly predictable show. If you compare Sunday’s set list to the show we saw last night, it is identical. Axl didn’t change a single woo or woah on any song and took no artisitic liberties by reworking anything. On the plus side to a softer side of Axl, when he tripped down a couple steps (and I really think he simply slipped, he did not appear to be under the influence), he laughed about it and kept going. He shook hands with loads of front row pit people and when someone threw a cup on stage he simply called the guy a few names and went on with the show. No threats of quitting or cancelling the show. He also appeared to be having a good time and that made me have an even better time. And he looks good. He no longer has the scrawny “I’m-addicted-to-everything-and-don’t-eat-real-food” body he used to have. He’s beefed up a bit and it definitely suits him. He is rockin’ white boy dreads which is a no-no, but he kept them short and pulled back the entire time so his face looked nice and angular.

Ah, Axl, my first love. I first saw Guns N’ Roses live before I had ever heard of them. I was 13 and they were opening for Alice Cooper, my first hard rock concert. They didn’t leave much of an impression on me though I remember Slash coming back on stage with Alice late in the set. One year later and Paradise City was in heavy rotation on MTV (they used to play videos all day, every day, I swear). I fell in love with that song, that video, that front man with his foot stomp dance, long hair (which is all I ever needed in a guy) and screechy yowl. Turns out I even owned the cd and didn’t realize it until my dad pointed it out to me saying how they were the same band we saw the year before (can’t say I believed him at first). I turned into a little groupie. I read every magazine that mentioned GN’R, I had a whole corner of my room dedicated to full size posters and kept a notebook full of articles and small posters. Every song on Welcome to the Jungle, with the exception of the title track, was phenomenal and to this day completely etched on my brain as evidenced last night. I saw them again in ‘89 when they opened for Rolling Stones and then the last time was ‘92 when they toured with Metallica. Last night was better though. Maybe because it was so long coming, maybe because I was so damn close to the stage, maybe because it really is fun to go back every now and then. What I love about this band though, is they aren’t attached to anything in my life. When I listen to their music I am only reminded of me, not of old friends, or boyfriends, or high school, or even really the past. They were an obsession of mine and are only attached to me. I think that’s what helps me get past the whole “these songs are almost 20 years old” thing. Because they don’t remind me of the past.

Anyway, it wasn’t quite the religious experience that Pearl Jam was in July, but it was good. Real good. I had a fabulous time and the 3 hours of sleep, and therefore today’s walking zombie version of myself definitely thinks it was all worth it. I would do it again in a heart beat.

But maybe not show up until 11:00pm.

Topics: Life |

3 Responses to “Now *that* was a concert”

  1. Mandi Says:
    December 21st, 2006 at 10:14 pm

    Man, talk about a flash back! I LOVED Guns N Roses when I was 13, 14, 15, 16….. I am one year younger than you so we are from the same generation. I wasn’t quite as obsessed as you were. My obsession was The Monkees when I was 12 (DORK!!!!! You can laugh, I don’t mind. LOL) and Queen when I was 16 and 17.

    But I loved, loved, loved GNR. They bring back many happy memories but it has a different effect on me. I feel all the things you don’t. I remember the old friends, old boyfriends, schools, life of my past. It reminds me that I’m all grown up now and that that time was a million years ago. I feel happy and very sad at the same time. Ya know? I can’t get used to the passage of time. I blinked and become this 31 year old mom of 4.
    It’s nice to remember the good old days though from time to time.

    Thank you for a walk back in time. And I am happy to hear you enjoyed yourself so much. :D

  2. sandy Says:
    December 22nd, 2006 at 7:09 pm

    ::::applause:::: I was with you in spirit Z - even though I’m sure I would have been slightly out of sorts without my Slash to swoon over! : )
    I’m so glad it was a good show!
    Thanks for the review!

  3. Melody Says:
    December 23rd, 2006 at 8:13 am

    I was LMAO at your concer-goer comments, and nodding my head I know what you are talking about!
    Sounds amazing, I’m a fan, or was a HUGE fan back in the day.
    And I watch Gilmore so have seen Sebastian Bach on there, he hasn’t shown up in a while but he’s in Lane’s band.