Guns N’ Roses Concert Review [VIDEO]
He got on by 11pm: not great but better than 12a, 1a.
His recently oft-questioned voice quality was raw, feral, 1980's spot on fine.
He appeared happy to be there.
Many high points: Welcome to The Jungle, Patience (particularly enjoyable for reasons I'll explain in a bit), Sweet Child o' Mine, November Rain (all in all appeared to be the crowd favorite), Mr. Brownstone and the evening's closer Paradise City.
My favorite moment, besides Jungle, had to be near the end when Axl Rose, during the guitar solo for the Guns N' Roses cover of Bob Dylan's Knockin' on Heaven's Door, began walking up and down the stage and throwing out bottles of water that had been placed on the stage for the band and had gone unused.
If you read my post regarding a GnR show in Ireland a year ago, you know why I found that so appealingly ironic.
Guns N' Roses brought roughly a half-full arena to Target Center in Minneapolis last night: not a horrible draw given it was a Sunday, the economy still ain't great and Axl has firmly carved out his reputation as a procrastinator as far as showtimes are concerned.
Still, the crowd that was there, both on the GA floor and in the seats were into it.
This show came after Axl gave a wonderful interview to VH1's "That Metal Show" on Friday.
Eddie Trunk and his co hosts were firmly in awe-struck, ass-kiss mode but nonetheless Rose was funny, laid back and forthcoming.
And again, that appeared to be the guy who showed up last night.
It's almost noon on Monday as I write this and no fewer that six people so far have asked me if it was really GnR or was it Axl and some hired hands.
No, no Slash, Izzy, Duff or Sadler were on hand.
But the "hired hands", particularly the guitar front of leads DJ Ashba and Bumblefoot, were very tight and very spot on.
Axl and the band moved - a lot. Ran, jumped, skipped, twirled, hopped, spun.
Something that became notciably curious throughout the set was that virtually every single number featured a guitar solo of some kind, and it would be at this point that Rose would sprint - not walk - to the back of stage right, only emerging when the lights came back on and it was time for the next song.
My guess is he was taking hits: off an oxygen tank.
As great as they once were and as good as they still are live, Guns N' Roses is not a three-hour performance band.
Few are, but Axl and company could have stripped their set down to an 18 song, two hour extravaganza that would have left the crowd satisfired (and in bed an hour earlier).
Instead - and I don't claim to be any GnR afficianado who knows every deep track and B-side - in between every hit there would be ballad after ballad featuring scenes of the moon, water flowing, and pensive looking women on the big screens in the background.
Mix in guitar solo after guitar solo after guitar solo, bassist Tommy Stinson and keyboardist Dizzy Reed each getting to perform covers by The Who and GnR itself covering a pair of AC/DC numbers and the show became bloated.
Stripped down, this show would have been nothing short of perfect.
There were several funny moments as well: the highlight being during the aforementioned Patience that a balloon floating among the crowd landed on stage.
Axl gave it a kick and the Ashba, using his acoustic guitar as a weapon, punctured just close enough to Axl's mic for it to reverberate among the entire arena.
Rose, who spent most of the night clad in a black leather hjacket, fedora, jeans and shades virtually never spoke to the crowd, only saying once early in the set that he had "been looking forward to getting back here", and that "it was pretty rowdy last time we were here".
I'm tired today but glad I went.
In the end, it shows that in fact, Axl is still capable of rock greatness.
Makes a GnR Rock Roll Hall of Fame induction without at least a one-off performace with Slash and the rest of the old crew that much more of a robbery.