Live Review: Guns N' Roses – The Forum, Los Angeles
Thu, 22 Dec 2011 11:04:22
Guns N' Roses set the world ablaze every time they hit the stage.
Last night, Los Angeles got to play with fire, and the city may never be the same. Axl Rose, guitarists DJ Ashba, Richard Fortus, and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, bass player Tommy Stinson, drummer Frank Ferrer, and keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman ignited the packed Forum with one of the greatest rock 'n' roll shows ever. It was a team effort all around, and at the center of this army Rose sounded tough, tight, and triumphant.
The immortal opening delay of "Welcome to the Jungle" creeped from the amps as Rose announced, "You're in the jungle Los Angeles. You're gonna die!"
Instantly, "Welcome to the Jungle" roared with a primal power enhanced by the prowess of guitar triumvirate Ashba, Fortus, and Bumblefoot. Rose ran across the stage with an uncontainable energy that surged through the venue bringing everyone to their feet. Stinson's four-string roll pulled the trigger on "It's So Easy" as Rose slipped into his menacing baritone seamlessly hitting the darkest low notes and brightest high notes.
Fireworks surrounded the band as four screens behind them displayed sexy, sleek visuals in tandem with the tunes. The third Appetite for Destruction classic in a row, "Mr. Brownstone", swung with schizophrenic intensity exorcised from the depths of the legendary singer's very soul.
"Worrying's a waste of my fucking time," he declared in the verse. He's still the king; he's got nothing to worry about.
"This song's called 'Feeling Remorseful', he joked as the guitarists began ripping through the ominous intro of Chinese Democracy standout "Sorry". Rose carried the song's refrain flawlessly as orchestral swells emanated from Reed and Pitman's keyboards perched upon the risers. The tune remains a modern rock symphony emblematic of Rose's undying willingness to continually push the envelope. A wheezy wah-ed out industrial guitar stomp fueled "Shackler's Revenge", and Bumblefoot redefined what a guitar is capable of, pulling out a myriad of cyber squeals from his axe while Rose lifted the hook to the heavens like only he can.
Reed's piano segue in the middle of "Estranged" was simultaneously haunting and hypnotic as Rose snaked and shimmied across the stage to Bumblefoot's shredding. The funk bitch-slap of "Rocket Queen" stood encased in seductive warmth as the screens displayed noir-ish videos of models dancing. Fortus's slide wizardry entwined with Bumblefoot's 12-string assault. The Appetite for Destruction climax illuminated Rose's genius as each lyric hit succinctly while that immortal voice resounded through the night.
Rose remains surrounded by true rock heroes as well. Fortus boasted a level of refined fleet-fingered fireworks during his "James Bond Theme" solo spot while Ashba and Bumblefoot put on equally marvelous displays of six-string mastery during their moments in the spotlight. After an invigorating "Live and Let Die", a ballerina reminiscent of Black Swan took over the jumbotrons as Rose intensely crooned out the gorgeous pain of "This I Love", another new classic from Chinese Democracy. Reed transformed The Who's "Baba O'Reilly" into "Street of Dreams" elegantly transitioning.
Ferrer's intense drumming catapulted "You Could Be Mine" forward at lightspeed as the most dangerous musical outlaw of all time took us back to Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. Evolution was the name of the game as Rose sat behind the piano and took Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" right into "November Rain". In many ways, "November Rain" is like his "Stairway to Heaven". It's just as important as that Led Zeppelin juggernaut, and it sounded better than ever coming from Rose and co. last night.
"Don't Cry", "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", and "Civil War" invigorated the audience, pulling them deep into Illusion and evincing a degree of diversity few artists can truly tap into. After a steamrolling "Nightrain", "Madagascar" dove deep into Democracy as wild animals dominated the screens behind the band. Still, there's nothing quite as wild as the Whammy screech of "Better" complete with Rose catching some air.
More moments of blissful beauty came during "Patience", which culminated on a full-on distorted hum and a slamming crescendo out. Rose wished everyone, "Happy holidays, merry Christmas, and happy fucking new year", but the most intimate moment came as he deliberately declared, "I want to thank every fucking one of you."
Thank you Axl for the inspiration and timeless tunes. He continues to accomplish the impossible, taking classic bravado and infusing it into a massive modern rock show that's unrivaled. How many artists can stay relevant? How many can continue to push the envelope.
Rose stands alone, and the inferno he's created is hotter than ever. Keep burning…
— Rick Florino
What's your favorite Guns N' Roses memory?
Current Tour Dates Below:
12/30 Las Vegas, NV The Joint
12/31 Las Vegas, NV The Joint
Keep an eye out for more from Guns N' Roses at the following links to get news on tour dates and more!
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Visit the official Guns N' Roses site
See our feature on "Guns N' Roses and The Unstoppable Axl Rose" here!
See our review of Chinese Democracy here!
See our feature on the Hall of Fame Induction here!
What's your favorite Guns N' Roses memory?