The band currently touring under the moniker of Guns N' Roses hits the Izod Center at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in Dirty Jersey tonight for the 61st edition of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series. The Izod Center: Home of the... well, actually no pro sports teams play here anymore since the Devils moved to Newark and the Nets are moving to Brooklyn (when the NBA Players Association caves and takes that deal). So upon walking in after 8PM the banner hanging from the ceiling was commemorating Bruce Springstein's 50 consecutive sold out shows. It's New Jersey, that banner should say “Will be sold out for the rest of life”. Anyway, you may have noticed my “touring under the moniker” pun back there. We all know the story, I shall not bore you with it once more. Axl is touring, performing the hits of Guns N' Roses with no Guns, and the lone Rose being himself. The only remaining member of the band besides Rose is Keyboardist Dizzy Reed-or who I like to call “The Man Who Killed Rock & Roll”. Doors were at 7PM, and show was listed at 8PM We got to our seats in section 206 Row 20-and let's look on the bright side, at least we weren't in the last row! (we were 5 rows away from it). Those steep steps were a killer. But finally at our seats little after 8, let's do this-it should be interesting to say the least.
It was brought to my attention via Twitter en route to Izod Center that a band called “Asking Alexandria” was to open tonight. Found some post that mentioned the band was “Handpicked 24 hours prior to the show by Guns N' Roses”. Not for nothing, the Axl Rose interview on That Metal Show-whatever show they were at had Buckcherry opening, we get saddled with some band from England I've never heard of.
I kept an open mind up until about they went on after 9-then I heard their songs. Oklahoma got Hinder as an opener-now that's pretty bad, but halfway through this second song I'd kill for Hinder right now rather than this craptastic fiasco. I don't understand a word this dude is saying besides his greeting to the crowd, which me and Pam interpreted as “Hello New York”. I sure hope we heard that wrong. Anyway, with all the screaming the lyrics were incomprehensible. I don't get the whole deep voiced screamer lead singer thing that's become a trend in bands people surround me enjoy. Just vocal wise let's take Mastodon for instance, (not comparing their sound other than the screaming)Mastodon I'm not into because they're a little on the heavy side for me. But Mastodon opened for Alice In Chains and Deftones-Mastodon opened for Soundgarden at the Gorge in an inconceivable for that band sandwiched between the Meat Puppets and QOTSA. Shit , Reverend Justito and even Cris Kirkwood for that matter speak highly of the band. They have acclaim critically and socially. What does Asking Alexandria have? Axl Rose likes them?? If this is what Axl is into then I never wanna get a hold of his iPod. Pam and I discussed if Axl picked a band this band to ensure that his band looks good. But that can't be, the “GNR” reviews from this tour have all been positive. To make a long, really horrific story short-Asking Alexandria, I can make better music than your band. If this was a Tweet, I'd add a hashtag right before the word 'fact' to end that last sentence.
They went off a little before 10 and now we have the wait... the infamous “Will Axl come out?”. The ambiance of this band is it's tendency for the unexpected. They were once labeled the world's most dangerous band.. then they (Guns N' Roses) morphed into He(Axl) and he became a recluse spending 15 years on a secret album with 2 good songs on it after all that. Who knows if this lunatic loses a contact lens before the show and freaks out or something? What if he looks in the mirror on his way out to stage and says “Holy Sh!t I'm Kid Rock” and lights himself on fire? It was an interesting HOUR, but at 11PM the lights went down and it was time to see what we had on our hands-ladies and gentleman, the band currently touring as GUNS N' ROSES!
They had some AWESOME pyrotechnics going on.. and a stage equipped with this staircase... Kicked it off with “Chinese Democracy” which is the title track from the latest effort(the one that took 15 years to make) and its one of the two songs I like, so I taped. Next was “Welcome to the Jungle”, which I purposely wasn't in record-mode for because I wanted to experience this one hands free, you know, like a regular person(besides I know video will turn up- there's a guy a row in front of me with a camcorder-not a little camera, I'm talking screen folded out and all. And he's not even using the hat on his head to block!). Now I don't know if it's the acoustics in the spot I was sitting, or maybe the three guitar onslaught is just overwhelming-but I wasn't hearing his vocals that loud. I hear the band loud and clear-and hey give em credit, no one ever called them bad musicians.. they rocked that sucker out... when they jumped into “Mr. Brownstone” after “It's So Easy”, I was taping and growing frustrated, I hear myself turn to Pam and say “I can't hear this mother f#%ker!”. They got into “Sorry”, and continuing into the next two I'm watching this band like “Wow these guys are tight as hell” then looking over at Axl Rose thinking “What a douchebag”. Then it occurred to me, I probably only like 6 or 7 “Guns N' Roses” songs.. what the hell am I doing here? I'm no die-hard. I was hoping for a train wreck-and they're not complying with my expectations. I think I'm more of an oddball than Axl at this point, being upset about being impressed by the guitar work of “BubbleFuck” and DJ Ashba(shouldn't it be Guitarist Ashba?). But as technically impressive as anyone can be-hell, you could put Eddie Van Halen and Clapton up there-just stop calling it Guns N' Roses. And I don't want to do this..do the whole “it's not GNR without Slash and Duff”.. but if I'm going to get lectures on Sublime w/Rome not being real Sublime and Alice In Chains w/ Duvall not being the real Alice In Chains-then EFF all you people I'm gonna give that same lecture when given the chance-especially when those two bands have more original members in them then the current band I'm watching. The essence of “cool” that is Slash cannot be matched by “Bucketfoot” or whoever you bring in there.
“Better” is also off the new record, and the other one of the two that I like from it (so technically this new Axl band is two for two on stuff they recorded tonight). I taped it, and at this point of the night I really think it's me being a mile away in the 200 section causing harm to the vocal acoustics, because it is skewed as hell up here-and everyone's tweeting about an awesome time. It has to be me. I mean I loved “Rocket Queen”.. but these little instrumental jams they do with each individual band member leading into some cover of another song does nothing for me. I got an idea Mr. W. Axl Rose, why don't you come out and sing “My Generation” instead of Stintson? Do that little “hey-hey-hey-yea-ya” thing you do, you know, the one you ruined “Knockin' On Heaven's Door” with. Dizzy Reed on keys doing leading “Baba O' Reilly”? Imagine Axl screaming the lyric “Out here in the fields!” in that Axl Rose voice-wouldn't that have been awesome? But no, instead this is sort of killing time while Rose continuously runs off stage to change cowboy hats. He had two white ones and two black ones at least.
I mean, they didn't go off til 1:20AM or something, that's 2 hours and 20 solid minutes before the encore, which neither Pam nor I were interested in. So yes, most likely pushed a 3 hour set there-but everyone on stage is a professional musician who I had no doubt would make it through the show, everyone besides Axl. If they would've played 20 minutes it would've been marked as a Win. Axl Joked midway through the set “Yea, I know how you feel I was hoping I'd make it here too” or something to that effect. That's funny? Tell that to the 10 thousand plus fans with tickets starring at them all day hoping you don't freak out and move to South America in search of 'yage' or something. I thought there was no chance this tour made it to the tri-state area, a miracle in it's own right.
Tonight at Izod Center was an absolutely amazing night for Die-Hard Axl Rose fans. You know, women in their 50's plastered up with make-up attempting to hold on to their youth with their Harley riding husbands right by there side. And hey I'm glad to have say I at least saw it.. so I know to like.. make sure not to go next time.