The world's greatest Guns 'n' Roses cover band, Guns 'n' Roses, waltzed into Melbourne over the weekend for the first time since 1993 and to a mammoth reception that included two sold out Rod Lavers.As that instantly recognizable riff to the Gunners classic 'Welcome to the Jungle' blasted through the speakers, the band launched into the set with Axl screaming his time tested line, "You know where you are?"
It was on as the band launched into 'It's So Easy' and 'Mr. Brownstone', both off their classic 1987 album 'Appetite For Destruction' (which was by far the most featured album with eight songs) before calming down a touch for 'Live And Let Die', the Wings classics that Gunners placed on their 1991 opus 'Use Your Illusion 1'.
Guitarist Robin Finck took the first of many pointless solos during the night. The solos were obviously designed to show off the new band, but instead they gave the audience a chance to realize that despite some well known names, nobody in the band has their own distinct sound, leaving little hope for future Gunners releases. (Hey, when Slash did a solo, you knew it was Slash, right?)
Dizzy Reed (who joined the band in 1990 just in time for 'Use Your Illusion 1') played a piano solo that included Angie - the Rolling Stones song. Robin and Richard played a solo together that included Curtis Mayfield's 'People Get Ready' and Bumblefoot played a classical version of 'Don't Cry' leaving the audience to sing along, despite stopping them as they sung the crescendo at the end and just finishing the song. (Isn't it the crescendo that makes that song?)
Some of the new tracks actually sounded okay, but just couldn't quite live up to the standard set by themselves in the past (see the lack of distinct sound comment a few lines up).
It wasn't quite the trainwreck that I have made it out to be, however. Despite every instinct in my body telling me it was awful, there is something about hearing 'Sweet Child O' Mine', 'November Rain', 'Paradise City' and 'You Could Be Mine' played really loud, with 14,000 people singing every word with you that makes this show simply worthwhile.
Support act Sebastian Bach joined Gunners on stage for 'My Michelle', and while Axl was struggling to hit notes from time to time, Bach's voice is as strong and high as ever.
The crowd, who had driven from all over Victoria to attend loved the show. They didn't seem to mind not having Slash's Cousin It-mop prancing around the stage, they were just happy to hear these songs, and hear them loud. And let's face it, so was I.
The complete set list for Guns 'n' Roses at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena on Friday, June 15, 2007 was:
Welcome To The Jungle (from 'Appetite For Destruction' - 1987)
It's So Easy (from 'Appetite For Destruction' - 1987)
Mr. Brownstone (from 'Appetite For Descrution' - 1987)
Live And Let Die (from 'Use Your Illusion 1' - 1991)
Guitar Solo [Robin]
Sweet Child O' Mine (from 'Appetite For Destruction' - 1987)
Knockin' On Heaven's Door (from 'Use Your Illusion 2' - 1991)
You Could Be Mine (from 'Use Your Illusion 2' - 1991)
Piano Solo (Angie) [Dizzy]
The Blues (unreleased)
Robin & Richard guitar duet (People Get Ready)
Out Ta Get Me (from 'Appetite For Destruction' - 1987)
November Rain (from 'Use Your Illusion 1' - 1991)
Guitar Solo (Don't Cry) [Bumblefoot] (from 'Use Your Illusion 1' - 1991)
My Michelle [with Sebastian Bach] (from 'Appetite For Destruction' - 1987)
Liquor & Whores [with Bubbles] (Bubbles cover)
Patience (from 'GnR Lies' - 1988)
Night Train (from 'Appetite For Destruction' - 1987)
Chinese Democracy (unreleased)
Paradise City (from 'Appetite For Destruction' - 1987)