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Non-Prog Concert Reviews

Guns N' Roses

Live in Rosemont, Illinois, November 2011

Review by Josh Turner

Welcome to the rundown of Axl Rose’s band in the windy city. The act was almost three hours late and the opener wasn’t pretty. Still, Guns N’ Roses had everything fans would want even if names like Slash or Duff were nowhere to be found.

While die-hards may call it sacrilegious, the replacements were as good as the originals. Bumblefoot, DJ, Dizzy, et al each had their own monumental solos. And, minus Rose’s attitude for being blatantly tardy, the leading man proved he deserved sole custody of this band. Popular singles, including “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Sweet Child o' Mine,” and “You Could Be Mine” were played authentically and with enhanced vehemence. Plus, plenty of covers were interlaced throughout the set list. Unconventional renderings of “Live and Let Die” and “My Generation” go to show that classics in the hands of masters can be incredibly alluring.

Josh Turner
 
Josh Turner
   

The quirks in the equation brought a certain color to mind: They infused patrons’ palettes with streaks of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)” and in addition to James Bond’s easily-decipherable walkout music; they gave us “The Pink Panther Theme.” No more than a shade away, “Whole Lotta Rosie” entertained attendees to a point that they couldn’t keep their feet on the ground or their butts in their seats.


Josh Turner
 
Josh Turner
   

Pyrotechnics, strobes and videos, provided the eye candy to parallel the aural euphoria that emanated from Rose’s operatic voice. Not to mention, there seemed to be an endless supply of instruments. Guitars kept coming off the racks and a grand piano made its way onto the stage, not once but twice. The storm didn’t really settle until Rose sat down to caress its keys and delicately express the lyrics of “November Rain.”


Josh Turner
 
Josh Turner
   
Rose and his gunmen rocked the Allstate Arena. They had bright lights, he had serpentine moves, and the crowd hungered for more into the wee hours of the night. All in attendance would agree; it was worth the price they paid. However, for those who had to work the next day, it wasn’t fun and games. At 1:30 AM on a Tuesday (well beyond the cutoff for a 9 o’clock start time), they had several songs to go before the encores. It was the kind of concert to bring the casual concertgoer to their “shun, nah, nah, nah, knees, knees.”
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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