Off the Record (OTR)

Review: Guns’N’Roses live MetLife Stadium

I’ll start off by saying, “great show.” I had a great time at the Guns’N’Roses live show at MetLife Stadium on July 23rd. Loved seeing the three key pieces of the band together again. Unfortunately, we’ll never get Izzy and as good as others were, they are all replaceable. Overall I say B+.

Now to the details:
The atmosphere was great. Ended up being a nice night by time the show started. Lenny Kravitz kicked the night off with a great set that was laid back, but got everyone into it with his soul/funk jams. 20-minute version of “Mama Said” was phenomenal! And there might not be a more relevant song for today than “Let Love Rule!”

Now to G’n’R:
Axl actually shows up on time these days which is great. Great setlist with most of what anyone would want to hear…casual fans will get everything they want.

View the setlist right here.

Slash is a God! He is worth the price of admission alone. Back in the prime days of G’n’R, he was always a guy to me that never really lived up to his stature and reputation. It was more style over substance…and he was always so sloppy since they were f*cked up all the time. Sloppy works with blues though…In the last 5-7 years – or whatever the timeline is – with his last few solo albums and tours and now this tour, he has just taken his playing to another level. Unbelievable! He still has that bluesy style and swagger but he is TIGHT now. Amazing precision. Phenomenal! Can’t stress how good he was. Any fans of him that might have ignored his solo stuff, look up the 20+-minute version of “Rocket Queen” from his solo tours where he just jams. Also the song “Anastasia”…amazing riffs and melody. And he brought back The Godfather Theme! A+++

Slash-and-LennyDuff McKagan:
Was great to see him back and the swagger and “punk” he brings. The rest of the band does their job and does it well. They fit in great, just don’t feel like going into detail. Fortus was great.

Slash/Fortus did a great guitar duet with “Wish You Were Here” (Pink Floyd), with Fortis playing the vocal part on guitar and Slash carrying the rest. Great stuff!! One of my absolute favorite songs of all time and the snob and David Gilmour worshipper in me could have really hated this one, but I loved it.

Now to Axhole:
Axl looks like he is enjoying himself, which in and of itself is a miracle for the grumpy bastard…Vocals were basically what I expected…Real good at times, other times not so good…but only one or two cringe-worthy spots (“Coma” was awful…although my buddy says it was much better in Philly). He’s good when he stays high like “Welcome to the Jungle,” or stays low like “It’s So Easy,” “Mr Brownstone,” “Don’t Cry,” etc., or even with a few screams thrown in like “Live and Let Die.”

Where he is in inconsistent is in the middle frequencies. Sometimes good, sometimes not and has some pitch control issues. But hey, lets be honest, the guy is 54-years old so anyone expecting him to be the same as 25 years ago is extremely ignorant and has ridiculous expectations. Most singers aren’t as good that long into their career, at least not guys that push their limits like him. There are few guys like Dio that sound great into their late 60’s, and even Steven Tyler who has been consistent most of his career. I’ll also give him the benefit of the doubt with the hot weather and singing outside…I would like to see them do an arena tour to be honest and see how he sounds.

Just my two cents:
What I think would benefit Axl – as I have seen this done with other singers around the same age as him with much more demanding music to sing (James Labrie) – is to lose some weight, work with a vocal coach, and adjust to compensate for natural loss due to age. Bruce Dickinson is the poster child for this (although the band adjusted as well) and always sounds phenomenal, and he has kept himself in great physical shape and still runs around the stage like a maniac. I think Axl could really benefit from something like this and extend his career a bit (if he wants). He essentially tries to sing just like he did 25 years ago which will almost always result in inconsistency. Overall though, as someone who is extremely critical of him, nice job!

What they have done that helps the vocals overall is Melissa Reese on keys and backing vocals. She backs him up on certain spots and adds a layer where Axl might have some issues and it definitely helps him and adds to the show! (And she’s pretty damn cute 🙂 )

I will add, per my buddy I attended with, the production of the show (lights, sound, video) was awesome. And other than the usual couple songs to get it right at the beginning the mix was great. Stadium shows are tough and the sound engineers did a great job!

Conclusion:
Was an overall great time and damn good show! I recommend seeing them if you haven’t.

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