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apex-twin
 Rep: 199 

Re: "Guns N' Roses is back. But where are Axl Rose's snake hips?"

apex-twin wrote:

by Mikael Wood Contact Reporter
LA Times, 10/04/16

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An injured Axl Rose performs while sitting in a throne at Guns N' Roses' pre-Coachella warm-up gig Friday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Katarina Benzova)

You knew where you were. You were in the retirement home, baby.

At least that's how it felt when Axl Rose, the sneering frontman who once used similar language to welcome listeners to the jungle, was wheeled onstage for the first full-scale concert in a much-hyped reunion tour by his influential hard-rock band, Guns N' Roses.

The singer surprised fans in January by announcing that after years of public squabbling, he'd reteamed with Slash, the virtuosic, top-hat-wearing guitarist who helped found Guns N' Roses in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s and who quit a decade later. Not only that, but the band, also featuring original bassist Duff McKagan, had signed on to headline the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, set to begin Friday in Indio.

One of music's most closely watched events, Coachella is a demanding gig for any group, let alone one that last performed together more than 20 years ago. (Since then, Rose has toured and recorded with various sidemen under the Guns N' Roses name.) To get its bearings, the band arranged two warm-up dates at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas; it stoked anticipation further with a tiny club show April 1 at West Hollywood's Troubadour, a proving ground for Guns N' Roses in its early days.

But during that show Rose took a tumble, fracturing a bone in his foot. So instead of shimmying across the stage with the lithe, snake-hipped moves that made him a star, Rose performed Friday night in Las Vegas while seated on a kind of rolling throne decorated with lights and guitar necks, his left leg propped up in a cast. The singer had borrowed the rig, he said, from Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, who used it on tour last year after he broke his leg while playing in Sweden.

"You like my furniture?" Rose asked with a little chuckle not long into the 2 1/2-hour concert. Later, after having gotten up only to play piano and to hobble offstage several times to exchange one leather jacket for another, he thanked Grohl for the loan and said he could see how one might get accustomed to the kingly treatment.

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Axl Rose tells Sebastian Bach he can do his running around on stage for him...

Sebastian tells crowd how happy he is to be on stage for 1st time since 1991 with the band in historic comeback in Las Vegas at the T Mobile Arena.

The resulting spectacle emphasized two seemingly contradictory points about Guns N' Roses. On one hand, the connection to Grohl, whose old band Nirvana famously delighted in antagonizing Rose, suggested that these former avatars of mainstream excess are now happily embraced by the edgy alternative culture that Coachella purports to represent. The link made Guns N' Roses' booking at the festival — where it will play alongside hipster favorites such as LCD Soundsystem and EDM stars including Calvin Harris — slightly less jarring.

Yet Friday's concert also showed how fragile that newfound currency is. Deprived of Rose's crucial physicality, Guns N' Roses came close to looking like ordinary dinosaurs.

The problem wasn't in what you could hear. Rounded out by players Rose employed in the years after Slash and McKagan left — keyboardist Dizzy Reed, guitarist Richard Fortus and drummer Frank Ferrer — as well as a fresh recruit in keyboardist Melissa Reese, this seven-member Guns N' Roses sounded stronger than the band has in decades, with a rhythm section that rumbled like a "Nightrain," as one vintage song was titled, and a guitar attack that could alternate between punky aggression and flowery lyricism.
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Slash, especially, was making his value known as he ripped fierce, sometimes gorgeous solos in songs he helped write — hits such as "Welcome to the Jungle," "Patience," "November Rain" and "Sweet Child o' Mine," along with tunes from the most recent Guns N' Roses album, 2008's "Chinese Democracy," in which he had no hand. The guitarist got several showcases too: a slinky rendition of the theme from "The Godfather" and an extended instrumental jam on Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here"; the latter segued, once Rose sat down behind a grand piano, into the sweeping coda of "Layla" by Derek and the Dominos.

Friday's show — a full-on arena production with carefully timed lights, booming pyrotechnics and flashy video sequences — also featured the band's covers of "Live and Let Die" and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," both as dramatically scaled now as they were when Guns N' Roses was the biggest rock act in the world. And for hardcore fans, the group reached back for "Coma," a rarely performed fever dream from 1991 that reminded you of its appetite for gloom.

Throughout it all, Rose showed off his still-impressive range, pivoting nimbly from a guttural croak in "It's So Easy" to a high-pitched shriek in "You Could Be Mine" to a luscious croon in "This I Love," which could've come from "The Phantom of the Opera." During "Patience," a folky acoustic ballad, he did some truly singular whistling.

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Guns N' Roses' current lineup features, from left, Richard Fortus, Dizzy Reed, Duff McKagan, Axl Rose, Slash, Melissa Reese and Frank Ferrer. (Katarina Benzova)

Yet as confidently as Guns N' Roses played Friday, the singer's inability to move prevented the band from working up any of the sex or danger that distinguished it in the first place. The whole point of Axl Rose, a guy once known for performing in a pair of American-flag boxer briefs, is that he gets in your face; he taunts and seduces, acting out the belligerence and vulnerability in his music. Here he had access to none of that expressive power, and that gave the concert a weirdly muted vibe even as fireworks exploded behind him.

Grohl faced a similar challenge when he used the throne. But because the Foo Fighter presents himself so guilelessly, his injury made him only more cheerfully relatable. Rose, in contrast, has always enjoyed portraying the villain, a role that requires real strength but when played correctly never loses its twisted appeal.

You entered the T-Mobile Arena hoping to rediscover a rock star with a gloriously bad attitude. What you found was a 54-year-old man struggling against an all-too-human body.

apex-twin
 Rep: 199 

Re: "Guns N' Roses is back. But where are Axl Rose's snake hips?"

apex-twin wrote:

The resulting spectacle emphasized two seemingly contradictory points about Guns N' Roses. On one hand, the connection to Grohl, whose old band Nirvana famously delighted in antagonizing Rose, suggested that these former avatars of mainstream excess are now happily embraced by the edgy alternative culture that Coachella purports to represent.

The link made Guns N' Roses' booking at the festival — where it will play alongside hipster favorites such as LCD Soundsystem and EDM stars including Calvin Harris — slightly less jarring.

Guns are an odd duck in the midst of other Coachella acts, but the event is about itself, rather than the music.

From a separate article:

Wait long enough these days and it seems you’ll see every band that has ever broken up come back together, one result of a struggling music industry that’s increasingly relying on concert tickets to replace record sales. Chances are good too that many of those reunions will take place at Coachella, which since launching in 1999 has developed a reputation for luring A-list rockers and rappers out of retirement.

It seems significant too that both Guns N’ Roses and LCD Soundsystem are reportedly using Coachella to kick off extensive tours that will take them far beyond the desert east of L.A. That’s always happened, of course -- the Pixies (in 2004) and Rage Against the Machine (in 2007) didn’t limit their comebacks to a single gig.

But the vaunted Coachella reunion used to carry a convincing one-off electricity, as though the festival had made the impossible happen. Now it’s simply a reliable component in a carefully calibrated marketing strategy, as we saw when Outkast headlined in 2014. Performing for the first time in years as part of the trailblazing hip-hop duo, Andre 3000 looked prematurely exhausted by the summer he’d committed to spending on the road.

zombux
 Rep: 36 

Re: "Guns N' Roses is back. But where are Axl Rose's snake hips?"

zombux wrote:

I mean, so what the fuck should they do - cancel the tour? fucking journalists, always find a reason for bitching.

tejastech08
 Rep: 193 

Re: "Guns N' Roses is back. But where are Axl Rose's snake hips?"

tejastech08 wrote:

In my opinion, it's great that he decided to perform in the throne instead of either canceling or postponing the shows. Duff also pointed out that it's pretty much a miracle Axl managed to put on a great show at the Troubadour despite the broken foot very early in the set.

war
 Rep: 108 

Re: "Guns N' Roses is back. But where are Axl Rose's snake hips?"

war wrote:

i think that is just about everyone else's opinion. that was just a very child like take/review.

Smoking Guns
 Rep: 327 

Re: "Guns N' Roses is back. But where are Axl Rose's snake hips?"

Smoking Guns wrote:

Fuck the foot, those shows were so fucking amazing the foot and throne should only be a tiny fucking foot note.  Nobody at the shows gave two fucks about the throne or broken foot.  He sang his ass off and the band was fantastic.  Those shows should be getting the highest of marks.. Were there mixing issues or mistakes? Of course, but over all the shows were ALL TIMERS.

mitchejw
 Rep: 109 

Re: "Guns N' Roses is back. But where are Axl Rose's snake hips?"

mitchejw wrote:

I would have to agree with the rest of the posters....Axl has cancelled for lesser reasons before. I really tip my cap to the guy for swallowing a bit of his ego and going on with the show. I imagine they all feel a lot of pressure to perform given the hype and the circumstance. To suck it up in less than ideal circumstances and move on is something I needed to see from this 'reunion.' I just didn't know it would happen right out of the gate.

apex-twin
 Rep: 199 

Re: "Guns N' Roses is back. But where are Axl Rose's snake hips?"

apex-twin wrote:
Smoking Guns wrote:

Fuck the foot, those show were so fucking amazing the foot and throne should only be a tiny fucking foot note.

It's interesting that the chair is pretty much THE most negative thing the reviewer points out. He compliments Axl's singing, the band overall, and the setlist (well, they played Coma - their most demanding number). Yet, the Iron Throne ruins it for him. Despite it's gotten from Dave Grohl and due to an on-stage injury.

The irony. At the Troubadour, Axl was working up on the very things the Vegas reviewer wanted. What bummed him out was that Axl was a 54-year-old man.

Smoking Guns
 Rep: 327 

Re: "Guns N' Roses is back. But where are Axl Rose's snake hips?"

Smoking Guns wrote:

I must admit, if I hear Dave Grohl one more fucking time in regards to the GNR thrown I may lose it lol. Haha. It was a nice gesture. I don't need to hear about him 10 times a day. Eddie trunk say "Dave Grohl" 50 times in 2 minutes it seemed on his pod cast.

tejastech08
 Rep: 193 

Re: "Guns N' Roses is back. But where are Axl Rose's snake hips?"

tejastech08 wrote:
Smoking Guns wrote:

I must admit, if I hear Dave Grohl one more fucking time in regards to the GNR thrown I may lose it lol. Haha. It was a nice gesture. I don't need to hear about him 10 times a day. Eddie trunk say "Dave Grohl" 50 times in 2 minutes it seemed on his pod cast.

I was more annoyed by Eddie repeating over and over and over: "I know something secret and I won't tell you." How about you just keep your fucking mouth shut altogether instead of repeating that line so many times?

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