Rockbrat Wonders: Do Guns n Roses Still Deserve To Be Playing Big Stadiums ?

Posted: January 28, 2012 by rockbrat in Rockbrat Wonders:

Axl dresses sensibly for a Rio rain storm...

Recently I got ahold of the Axl Rose Band live at Rock in Rio, from October of 2011. It is horrible. A damn freak show in fact. The massive audience only go nuts when vintage tunes are played – especially anything from ‘Appetite’. Which begs the question: are this band still deserving of playing large stadiums around the world ? The answer is a definite no. Yes folks, out of sheer boredom over the new year break, I made the decision to reintroduce myself to GnR via this video – the ‘current’ GnR. It is true I did not hear Chinese Democracy. It is also true the last time I saw them live was at Wembley in 1991. That being said, I was curious to see what they looked and sounded like nowadays. My god they are a band of misfits – and I don’t mean the Bobby Steele variety either. Ironic that Motley Crue have been pushing the ‘freak show’  element for some time now, in order to stay in the rock spotlight. Yet, when it comes to overall weirdness, GnR have it nailed.
I think they only draw punters because of two reasons. One, as I have mentioned in a previous rant, are the kids too young to recall the halcyon days and want to say they’ve seen GnR. The other reason I think is that Rose was out of the spotlight for so long, and it was in fact this time period of inactivity which in fact enables him to still pull crowds (and has helped in prolonging his career).
Here are the worst bits from this show. They come on stage after midnight, which is Rose’s usual schtick. They kick off the set with something from Chinese Democracy, which was as much a fizzer as their pyro, when they hit the stage. Like Metallica, this band are so far removed from their original roots it is not funny. Rose is dressed in something like a yellow raincoat and detective hat. Good choice during a Rio de Janeiro rain storm, but not the individual I fondly recall who once wore denim, leather and a Rose Tattoo tee-shirt. Don’t give me that ‘artistic growth’ bullshit either, cos this is one band who have an attending crowd that solely want to hear the ‘hits’ . Why is it so hard for this guy to grasp this ? The band themselves are all fine players, but a rag-tag bunch nonetheless. Is that Dizzy Reed on keyboards ? He hung around long enough, so I guess he still deserves his shot. Pretty hard to be all bad-ass when you’re a keyboard player, but I digress (no keyboards needed in Hollywood back in 86 mind you !). The guitar player, with his beard and top-notch reminds me of Krist – that lean, dorky bassplayer from Nirvana (currently residing in the ‘where are they now’ file – though happily cashing large royalty checks til his dying day!). This freak would look more at home in that goddawful MTV-lovin’ act the Spin Doctors. Remember them ? (I wished I didn’t)  He even dons a Star Wars, Storm Trooper-type helmet at one point ! Nice one dork. Cannot recall Cocksy, Keef, nor Malcolm ever carrying on with this rubbish. He often has to lift the thing up to see his fret board ! There are two other faceless ‘dudes’
on guitars. Is one of them Bucket head, the dude who would sport the KFC  container on his head ? Would you have to pay royalties to the Sanders klan (ahem) for this nonsense ?  Are there three guitarist now ! Murray, Smithy and Janick you ain’t. With their wallet chains, dyed black hair, leather jackets, scarves and low slung axes, they strut and pose like they were the last rock stars alive. Sorry chump, that title goes to Dave Kusworth.  One kid even looks like Stradlin !This look is so tiring now. They remind me of Dregen-clones, who himself is one of the worst apists –  keenly eying Thunders, Perry and Richards videos as a youth before heading for the bedroom mirror. There’s one of you on every street corner. The drummer,  though competent looks like he belongs in Simon and Garfunkel, or the Robert Palmer band. A ‘nice’ environment !. Not pounding the beat for the former ‘most dangerous band alive’ ! I cannot overstate the importance of Izzy Stradlin to the sound, and overall structure of this once great rock n roll band. At one point, there are stage hands with brooms sweeping the stage free of water…or is this part of the GnR show nowadays. This is Spinal Tap.  I will restate my opinion: this band do not deserve to be playing big stadiums. Rocklahoma, the County Fair circuit – sure. But not big events like this. They are past it and have nothing new to offer. I would not see them if they were playing in my backyard.

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