Live Review: Guns N' Roses — The Palladium, Hollywood
Sat, 10 Mar 2012 10:42:59
Many great rock bands have called Los Angeles home.
The list is long and it encompasses a myriad of different acts. In some ways though, none of them truly embody the rock 'n' roll spirit like Guns N' Roses do. Their songs balance sex and violence like the greatest Shakespearian drama performed on a train about to derail at 200 miles per hour—with Axl Rose as the poet laureate and pilot of course.
Let's face it. No other Sunset Strip outfit could cop the attitude, anger, and aggression of Appetite for Destruction, the eloquent emotionality of Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, or the experimental bombast of Chinese Democracy.
In essence, Los Angeles will always be Guns N' Roses' girl and during the first of three intimate shows of their "L.A. Takeover", Axl, guitarists DJ Ashba, Richard Fortus, and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, bass player Tommy Stinson, drummer Frank Ferrer, and keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman continually proved why with one masterpiece after another.
As he churned out the grinding guitar of "Chinese Democracy", Ashba stood on the drum riser with his devil horns raised up. Suddenly, Axl stormed the stage with infectious and inimitable charisma. His voice sounded utterly flawless as he swung from a deep commanding bellow into a massive war cry.
Police sirens flashed on the screen as Ashba fired off the immortal, calculated intro of "Welcome to the Jungle." Axl snaked across the stage perfectly hitting all of the high notes while engaging the crowd up close and personal. Stinson's bass bludgeoned brilliantly during the intro of "It's So Easy" as Fortus and Bumblefoot set their fret boards ablaze with deft technical mastery. Ferrer's massive drum beats filled the room as Axl proclaimed, "Worrying's a waste of my fucking time" during a slithery and sexy "Mr. Brownstone."
As the Appetite hat trick came to a close, Bumblefoot's wah pedal soundscapes fortified "Sorry" as a modern epic in its own right as Axl carried its divine chorus beyond the heavens. "Rocket Queen" blasted off on the triple guitar assault with Axl tearing through the song's dangerous Hollywood tale with sharper teeth than ever. "Estranged" and "Live and Let Die" captured a cinematic intensity via the expansive and entrancing playing of Reed and Pitman.
"Street of Dreams" came to life on those potent pipes and vulnerable piano playing. "You Could Be Mine" still kicks teeth and breaks bones like no other. Axl upped the ante screaming, "with your ass in the air" after the unforgettable "leave you lying on the bed" line. The song remains one of the band's most vicious and vibrant.
The true majesty of Axl and Co. is that when they pull the curtain back, the tender moments truly feel poignant like your favorite Beatles tune. "November Rain" stands on the same level as "Stairway to Heaven" at this point, ebbing and flowing with palpable poetry as the mesmerized crowd screamed every word. Afterwards, Axl smiled, "We've got to do the love songs too."
"Why was Dirk Diggler the best?" He asked. "Because he could fuck hard and he could fuck gently too. That's what made him the best."
A similar sonic diversity makes Guns N' Roses the best. Teetering between "Shackler's Revenge" and "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", it was impossible not to recognize the majesty "up close and personal" and on stage. Truly a transcendental experience for any music fan, seeing Guns N' Roses during these intimate gigs is essential.
Los Angeles and rock 'n' roll both belong to Axl Rose and Guns N' Roses forever.
Photos Coming Soon!
Were you there? Will you be at The Wiltern March 11 or The House of Blues March 12?
See our exclusive on Guns N' Roses and The Unstoppable Axl Rose here!
See our review of Chinese Democracy here!
See our review of The Forum show here!