Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Guns N' Roses - 2017-07-20 - Apollo Theatre, New York City, NY

Guns N' Roses 
Apollo Theatre
New York City, NY 

Moonchild Records - MC037
Live At The Apollo

101. Opening
102. It's So Easy
103. Mr. Brownstone
104. Chinese Democracy
105. Welcome to the Jungle
106. Double Talkin 'Jive
107. Better
108. Estranged
109. Live and Let Die
110. Rocket Queen
111. You Could Be Mine
112. New Rose
113. This I Love
114. Civil War

201. Yesterdays
202. Coma
203. Band Introduction
204. Slash Guitar Solo
205. Speak Softly Love
206. Sweet Child O 'Mine
207. My Michelle
208. Whole Lotta Rosie
209. Wish You Were Here
210. November Rain
211. Black Hole Sun

301. Knockin' on Heaven's Door
302. Nightrain
303. Sorry
304. Patience
305. The Seeker
306. Paradise City

Recorded live at Apollo Theater, New York, NY, USA. 20th July 2017

Axl Rose (vocals, piano)
Slash (lead guitar)
Duff McKagan (bass, backing vocals)
Richard Fortus (guitar, backing vocals)
Dizzy Reed (keyboards, piano, backing vocals)
Melissa Reese (keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals, percussion)
Frank Ferrer (drums, percussion)

The performance – which originally aired on SiriusXM's Guns N' Roses Radio and on Howard Stern's Howard 101 channel – will be rebroadcast on the band's channel on Friday, July 21 at 7:00 am ET, 11:00 am ET, 6:00 pm ET, 10:00 pm ET and Saturday, July 22 at 12:00 pm ET, 4:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. The band's SiriusXM channel will be available until August 16th.

The Not in This Lifetime Tour will return to arenas with the latest North American leg, which kicks off July 27th in St. Louis, Missouri and concludes September 8th in San Antonio. The following month, Guns N' Roses will embark on a fall trek of North American stadiums, which features several newly announced dates, including a pair of shows (October 11th and 15th) at New York City's Madison Square Garden. 

Guns N’ Roses is a majestic band whose merit grows when you get close enough to actually watch the gears turn. You’ve likely heard Axl’s multi-octave wail all over radios and stereos before, but to watch him sail up out of his natural baritone, to be physically confronted by the controlled calamity of the thing, is a wonder. The Apollo set — a tireless, three-hour barrage of hits, deep cuts, and covers — opens deceptively with the cuts that lean on the lower end of Rose’s register. Like Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky, he’s giving you time to count him out. When the trademark shriek comes out, it’s shockingly sharp. Rose is a 55-year-old rock lifer celebrating 30-year-old songs, but unlike aging singers in similar situations, who take the keys of the songs down a notch to account for shrinking upper registers pinched by the passage of time, Axl hustles and nails every note.

Not in This Lifetime is a slight return of the classic ’80s Guns N’ Roses lineup. It reunites Rose, Appetite-era guitarist Slash, and bassist Duff McKagan in a band rounded out by longtime keyboard player Dizzy Reed, 2000s-era rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus, drummer Frank Ferrer, and the newest acquisition, keyboardist–tech whiz Melissa Reese. The set list trained these skills on every era of the band’s existence, from Appetite through the GNR Lies and Spaghetti Incident projects, both Use Your Illusion albums and even the latter day Guns-in-name-only LP Chinese Democracy. Guns is a band ultimately defined by the talents of the three lifers up front, but the machine only runs because every piece works in perfect concert. The spotlight’s always on OGs, but Richard Fortus backs Slash dutifully and takes mean solos whenever there’s room to shine, and Reed, Ferrer, and Reese form the powerful backbone for all the shrieking and shredding.

About said shredding: Slash is a guitar god of intimidating versatility. He nails the memorable solos in Guns classics with aplomb. He blows a coda out by triple on the pure joy of speedy fretwork. He pours everything into a killer talkbox solo. He crushes the entire Godfather theme. He duets emotively with Fortus on Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.” He plucks out the Allman Brothers’ “Melissa” on the way to GNR Lies’ “Patience.” He picks out noodly Jerry Garcia style leads on electric 12-string. He effects Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil’s wigged-out psychedelia on a cover of “Black Hole Sun.” (The night before the Appetite anniversary happened to be the late Chris Cornell’s birthday).

I spent a respectable chunk of the night purely gobsmacked by the virtuosity. I sent out two Snaps of Slash shredding alone in the spotlight. The set snaked out past the three-hour mark, and I felt more tired than the 50-year-olds onstage looked. Guns N’ Roses is — has always been — a project about excess and extremes. I only understood this conceptually, being about five years too young to get caught up in their maelstrom at the height of it. Throughout the third hour of the Apollo gig, the revolution of the band became clear to me. Guns was never just a bunch of crazy motherfuckers playing grimy California rock and roll. They blew hard rock wide open, melding it with the uncompromising bluntness of metal, the manic jitteriness of punk, and the broken directness of big, loud pop balladry. The three-hour, career-spanning Apollo set was a reminder of how rare and special that mixture is.


Zen Archer said...

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