November 15, 2011

Guns N Roses ~ Houston, TX: 11.04.11

I was too young to see them in their heyday; strife, disagreements, and pettiness took away many more lost opportunities, and then there was the Chinese Democracy debacle.  So after way too many years of cancelled tours and millions of dollars being wasted NOT giving the fans what they have been salivating for over the years, Guns N Roses held up their end of the bargain and brought the circus to town.  And subsequently… blew the fucking roof off of it!  
There was a great mix of old, new, and covered music thrown in with Axl’s voice sounding like it was 1988 all over again.  For a man who has the range from an opera singer high to South Park chef low, it is amazing he still even has a voice.  He even dusted off every dance move you remember seeing in the videos from back in the day for good measure.  The song selection was dominated by the bookends of their catalog with Appetite for Destruction and Chinese Democracy getting a majority of the attention.  The usual favorites from Use Your Illusion I and II were sprinkled in as well.  Some notable exceptions were “Civil War”, “Yesterdays”, “Shotgun Blues”, “My Michelle”, and “Anything Goes”.  There was such a rebellious, ‘us against the world’ nature to their earlier music that so many people associated with and is why they became such anthems.   It would have been great if some of these could have taken the place of a few Chinese Democracy cuts, but as a beggar I cannot be choosy.  Then again this is a business and you always need to be pushing forward, even if your current product isn’t the flavor that your fans crave.   I won’t go through the entire set list—but you can see it for yourself (below).
Though Slash is irreplaceable, the collective band that Axl has put together is great; on point and professional and they know to let the lead guy do his thing.  Each member was given a chance to show off his goods with a solo and showed why they were selected by a notoriously picky front man with an astute eye for perfection.
For a guy on the downside of his 40’s, Axl still has the aura about him that makes a lead singer.  The ability to take the audience with him and say here’s where we’re going for next three hours.  And yes I said three hours.  Like I said, they brought it! 
All in all, it was a childhood dream show I can cross off my bucket list and I have absolutely no complaints.  I can only hope Axl can keep the train on track and bring the circus back to town again.
Dexter Intro
1.   Chinese Democracy
2.   Welcome To The Jungle
3.   It's So Easy
4.   Mr. Brownstone
5.   Sorry
6.   Better
7.   Estranged
8.   Rocket Queen
9.   Richard Fortus Guitar Solo  -- (James Bond Theme)
10.  Live and Let Die -- (Paul McCartney & Wings cover)
11.  This I Love
12.  Riff Raff -- (AC/DC cover)
13.  My Generation -- (The Who cover)(Tommy Stinson on Lead Vocals, w/Band Intros)
14.  Dizzy Reed Piano Solo -- (Baba O' Riley)
15.  Street Of Dreams
16.  You Could Be Mine
17.  DJ Ashba Guitar Solo -- (Ballad Of Death)
18.  Sweet Child O' Mine
19.  Instrumental Jam -- (Another Brick in The Wall Pt. 2)
20.  Axl Rose Piano Solo -- (Someone Saved My Life Tonight/Goodbye Yellow Brickroad)
21.  November Rain
22.  Bumblefoot Guitar Solo -- (Pink Panther Theme)
23.  Don't Cry
24.  Whole Lotta Rosie -- (AC/DC cover)
25.  Knockin' On Heaven's Door -- (Bob Dylan cover)
26.  Nightrain
27.  Instrumental Jam
28.  Madagascar
29.  Out Ta Get Me
30.  Instrumental Jam
31.  Patience
32.  Shackler's Revenge
33.  Instrumental Jam
34. Paradise City

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