16 May 2006

Guns N' Roses @ the Hammerstein Ballroom, 15 May 2006

Guns N' Roses day three. That's not exactly what I signed up for when I bought my tickets - I was sure that I had just bought tickets to the first Guns N' Roses show since they played Madison Square Garden in 2002. But then, after checking out, I saw there were two more shows added before the one I got tickets to - Friday and Sunday. Bastards.

Anyway, I was at that show back in 2002. It was one of the best concerts I've seen and it's completely the reason why I believed that buying tickets to see (nouveau) Guns N' Roses at Hammerstein was a good idea. Now, I'm not saying it was $65 wasted, but it wasn't the top 10 kind of show I had hoped for.

Thanks to the reviews mentioned above I was aware that G N' R wouldn't be starting anytime before 10:30pm and that's right about the time we got there. Thankfully, we didn't have to stand around for hours like it seems most people did and that's a good thing because I really hate Hammerstein (more on that later). What I mean (about those standing for hours) is that the crowd was DRUNK. Not unexpected and definitely not a bad thing. After all, this was a fucking rock show. People were crowd surfing and moshing and the smell of cheap grass was in the air.

All I kept thinking about was how the world needs concerts like this more than ever. Needs Guns N' Roses (whatever the lineup may be) to figure themselves out and get their shit together. Needs to be reminded how fucking awesome rock and roll can be. Frankly, the show reminded me how bad the audiences are sometimes at the shows I go to. Those jerks (me too, most times) who just stand there like they're looking at a painting in an art museum and not listening to a band play live music. No room for that at a G N' R show.

The show started at about 11:05pm, lasted until 1:30am or so, and the setlist was very similar to the Sunday night setlist. My favorite moments were all about hearing the songs from Appetite for Destruction in a live setting but the new songs all sounded really good too. And Axl's voice was as good as I hoped it would be...at least most of the time it was.

My complaints - the sound, the sound, THE SOUND. Every time I'm on the floor at Hammerstein the sound sucks. It's muddled and clearly points towards the balconies. It sounds like we were listening to poorly mixed stage monitors or something. And it really seemed (many times) like the sound guy was riding Axl's vocals and lowering it and raising it depending upon how strong his voice was at each moment. I will say, all in all, that the band seemed to keep getting better as the night went on and I think they showed promise (at times) that they might be able to work things out and actually become a vital stadium filling rock band.

PS - yes, Sebastian Bach showed up again and sang with Axl on "My Michelle". It was way cool and he sounded great. Also, to the girls at Guns N' Roses concerts...if you're going to get up on your guy's shoulders and block the view of some 30 metal-heads behind you, the rules say that you have to take off your top. If they can't see the stage because of you, you must provide them with something else to look at. I didn't make up these rules, that's just how it is.