Guns N' Roses concert - part I. & II. looks at the rock giants' concert in Prague

Paul Pacey

Written by Paul Pacey Published on 16.09.2010 11:36:32 (updated on 16.09.2010) Reading time: 6 minutes

Editor´s note: A longtime GNR fan, our photographer Paul Pacey was happy to take a look at their concert in Prague. Read his thoughts on the show. For pre-concert part here .

Guns N’ Roses concert – part II. 

Having already felt the ire of Axl´s punctuality, I would have completely dismissed the 8:00 rock ‘n roll-call if it wasn´t for the last minute discovery that Canadian rockers Danko Jones had been slated as openers.

A beautiful adrenalin boost to kick off  the night, the bare-knuckled three-piece sounded like a roughly tuned, turbo-charged ’67 Camero with oversized mags and a rearview mirror pointing at a barely-legal body in the backseat taking off her safety belt.

Too bad they couldn´t have stuck around for the next three hours while Axl and his foster home of Wayward Rockers found it in their schedules to show up.

Now, I have only seen the man from a distance, but one quickly gets the impression that Axl Rose has been made famous for two things: pissing people off, and singing his lungs out.

Never the apologetic type, the notorious frontman seemed to have an almost proud disregard for both the audience and band alike, forcing himself through a few teleprompter versions of old classics, and blatantly belittling band members on stage.

During his only interaction of the night, Axl must have wondered why the warming crowd turned so cool when asked how “Czechoslovakia is doing tonight”, reinforcing the idea that he cared more about himself and less about the audience.

Luckily for me, and many of the rambunctious fans around me, we weren´t about to let Axl ruin the night. And by the time that infamous intro to Jungle filled the stadium two songs in, I decided to let bygones be bygones, and felt grateful that I would likely never have to problem-solve with the man.

By the time they hit Night Train, 5 interludes in, I could finally begin to see the Axl of old, and was content again. With band members being respectfully faithful to the original, Axl seemed to have found an honesty in the music to take him back to where things may have started.

One definite highlight of the night came in the form of newest talent, DJ Ashba, a perfectly-cast guitar hero in style and sound, who soaked his Les Paul with both the panty-removing tenderness of a poet and the adrenalin dump of a maximum security prison break.

Unlike axe-mate Richard Fortus, who seemed to be more content using his guitar to masturbate in the mirror, Ashba showed the first real signs of hope as to where GnR could actually go from here.

Strangely enough, despite my emotional connections to all the usual classics, it was while watching the “newer” tracks performed live that I felt more like that 16 year old awestruck fan all over again.

Better, This is Love and Sorry may never get the same airplay as Sweet Child or November Rain, but with over 7 million combined plays on their MySpace page, it may be fair to qualify them as permanent classics.

Luckily feuds come and go, and it´s the music that remains.

Now, I can´t help but wonder where he goes from here. While recognized as one of the best song-writers of our time, Axl Rose is a man clearly possessed by a different breed of demon. If he were able to make peace with them, what then?

Would his genius be given a blank canvas upon which to create a new masterpiece, or is it that perpetual conflict simply in the hand that holds his brush?

Though it could be another decade and a half before we find out yet, I´m pretty sure Axl still has plenty of fight left in him yet.

Just don´t stand too close.


Guns N’ Roses concert – part I.

The first time I heard Guns N´ Roses, I was 16 years old and riding shotgun in the (slightly) stolen Mustang my best friend liberated from his older brother in the middle of a school night.

That night, while Appetite For Destruction raged on, pumping pubescent blood with the taste of rebellion, I spent more time riding out the top of a sunroof than I had all year in Religion class with my, still only, collar-length hair, blowing in the wind down an empty highway.

With its reckless abandon and clear assault on authority, that car ride would, in many ways, epitomize an entire decade for me, providing the script, the stars, and most importantly, the soundtrack for an entire generation to come.

The musical scene was different then. Unlike today, when it´s common to hear so many genres crossing over, back then, what you listened to defined you. Urban music was beginning to takes its place in the mainstream, and Rock n Roll wasn´t so eager to give up the airwaves with out a fight.

Those of us around long enough to know what I´m talking about have seen enough aging rock stars try to hold on to their former glory in an attempt to stay relevant, only to embarrassingly tarnish the brilliance that once was. Look no further than former rock god Diamond David Lee Roth to see that, when it comes to Rock n´ Roll, sometimes it truly is much better to burn out in a blaze of glory than fade away.

Fast forward eleven years, five albums, and 22 band members later, and one can look back at a rap sheet of musical, legal, and personal problems that can only be described as legendary.

Listen to Axl tell his side of the story, and he still sounds like a wounded animal with his back against the wall, spitting venom towards his former band mates and the media at large. For anyone dreaming of a reunion tour any time soon, don´t start holding your breath.

Fortunately, for fans still emotionally attached to their meteoric beginnings, Gun´s last studio album, Chinese Democracy, definitely has enough scorching guitars, infectious hooks, and familiar gasoline soaked vocals to get their heart rates up.

Sadly, however, what must be one of the most expensive albums ever created must also be one of the most anti-climatic, since by the time it was “officially” released in 2008, starving fans had already been listening to it for years thanks to power of the internet. What may be great for MySpace streams probably isn´t so great for album sales.

To add insult to injury, fans, knowing of Axl´s short fuse, have begun to take a certain amount of pleasure in provoking him on stage. Perhaps in retaliation for the infamous waits fans are faced to endure, more than one well-tossed water bottle has cut many concerts rather short, creating total mayhem in its wake.

As the self-professed last man standing, things haven´t been easy for Axl. But despite their deeply-rooted personal problems, even Slash has publically commended Axl´s musical genius. Whether or not, and how, he uses it is another question all together.

And so, the question becomes, what has become of the man once considered the most dangerous in Rock n´ Roll? Has he lost the battle to stay relevant in these changing musical times, or has he maintained the same infamous voice and unmistakable swagger that has made him one of the most iconic frontman of all time?

Personally, I can´t wait for September 27th to find out!

Like Donald Trump says, everybody loves a good comeback.

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