My good Friend Frank Lucas invited me to last nights Guns N Roses show after seeing my posts about watching it live in my kitchen without having to fight traffic and pay parking and $100 tabs for food and drinks at Soldier Field. He wanted to drag me into the chaos so to speak. I said sure, I had seen Axl Roses' Guns 3 years earlier or so at the Allstate Arena and they were killer so I wanted to see the original line up ( sort off anyway)
Alice in Chains was support, I was not necessarily a huge AIC fan but it was a nice addition. I had seen the Slash/Jerry Cantrell reunion of sorts some years back at NAMM show. They ran into one another in front of the Nady Booth where I was performing. Jerry was having a Super Bowl Party ( catered and the works) and was telling Slash to come by it had been too long etc. They chatted for a while and got the privilege ( lol i am kidding here) of using the bathroom with Slash several minutes afterward. Now back to regular programming. AIC played great and their Vocalist/Guitarist was absolutely Killer! Layne Staley had a unique Voice and this guy nailed it plus played Guitar and entertained the crowd. Jerry Cantrell played great and Mike Inez was solid too.
After their set was a short break and then Guns started with Its so Easy. It was Axl Roses' Guns with the addition of Slash and Duff McKagen and Dizzy Reed from ( Hinsdale Illinois ) the use your Illusions days was there on keys ( i had just done a show with him at Tailgaters 2 months ago or something) Richard Fortus was on guitar as Izzy Stradlin'. Incredible guitar player in his own right created a wicked Guitar duo. The show was solid, they played with great enthusiasm and everyone looked like they were having a great time except perhaps Slash. Not sure if he and Axl
mended fences completely or if he just never smiles. Nonetheless Slash was really cooking. I have never been a big fan of his Michael Schenker ripped off Wah tone combined with the sloppiness of Joe Perry in the past, but I was really impressed with his playing. (Yes I am a Guitar snob lol and yes my expectation of stellar Guitar playing probably much higher than your non player fan. I am just as critical if not worse of my own playing, which you can download on i-tunes...shameless shameless plug ha ha)
The songs sounded tight with a cool rendition of the Theme from the God Father by Slash . Chinese Democracy, Night Train, Paradise City were cool with elongated solo sections. Paradise city has a huge fireworks show as it was the last song Quick breakdown on the players that Recognized or stood out. By no means did those not mentioned not put a Richard Fortus is an amazing Guitar player, showman and really added some punch to the live show. Most people are not that familiar with him as he was part of Axl's Guns but he brings the goods. He plays the Izzy Straddling' role of Rhythm guitar bout he is a far more complete player than Straddling'. A Smoking lead player with excellent chicken picking chops he adds a new dynamic to the classic lineup. He had a duet with Slash and they traded leads on a few occasions, I think Mr. Brownstone, Night Train, Knocking on Heaven's Door and a cool rendition of Wish you were Here. Plus he looks cool lol. I was on the Guitar Gods Tour with Ron Bumblefoot Thal who was in Axl's Guns for roughly 10 years, and we talked about Axl and Guns etc and spoke about Richard's playing and even Bumble remarked he was a Killer player! and coming from a player of Thal's ability that says a lot. There are stories from hanging with Bumblefoot both on the GG Tour and at our Whisky a Go Go show in West Hollywood prior to the tour that are great and funny but need to be left for another day.
Duff Mckagen ( go get his first book, great read) looked good, sang lead on a Stooges song and some great back up singing and was solid on Bass. He put on a nice show moving all over the stage and looking Rock star like Slash's playing was really clean so his phrasing was far more impactful. That is the thing people who don't play don't understand is that If you are sloppy cause say you have a major drug habit, or are drunk or not practicing your playing suffers and you cannot get your emotions across as well. Your instrument is your voice and if you speak unclear people cannot understand you. I digress though as on this evening His playing was packed with emotion and speed runs were smooth with some arpeggios added in and he did some really cool Modal stuff at one creating a Middle Eastern vibe in an instrumental song they played. I walked away thinking here is a guy who did not sit back and collect checks. He really turned his playing up a notch, kept growing as a player and gained my utmost respect. I am going to check out some of his solo records.
Axl was really good as well, putting on a great show running all over the place, singing really well, talking to the crowd and respecting the crowds time, as the concert started on time and went off without any tantrums or rants. When I last saw GNR the show started an hour late which sucked and fed into the Axl is a primadona thinking. I felt he was happy they were back together or at least faked it well enough. His voice was solid all night
This was the setlist - The pyro was killer and there a huge video screen with all kinds of cool animation and light. I have a ton of pictures on my regular page you can check out.
It's So Easy
Welcome to the Jungle
Double Talkin' Jive
Live and Let Die
You Could Be Mine
(Iggy and The Stooges cover) (with "You Can't Put Your Arms… more )
This I Love
Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather)
(Andy Williams cover)
Sweet Child O' Mine
(with "The Star Spangled Banner" snippet outro)
Out Ta Get Me
Slash & Fortus Guitar Duet
("Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd)
(with "Layla" piano exit intro… more )
Knockin' on Heaven's Door
(Bob Dylan cover)
(The Who cover)