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Anmeldelse af AXL DEMOCRACY (29/11/02)

Happy Turkey Day Boys and Girls. Back from Albany and thought I'd post my review if anyone is interested in reading yet another one from the show.

I'll take first things first. Took Amtrak from NYC to Albany and it was a pleasant ride. Got to ride in Business Class with the big shots and while everyone else read their Wall Street Journals I busted out my Blender magazine with a very dirty looking Christina Aguilera on the cover. No G N' R mentions in this months issue, so unless you want to read about Christina's nipple ring I wouldn't suggest picking up this months issue. On Amtrak I got to talk to a guy by the name of Steve who I met last year in Vegas and who, like many other Gunners, spends a lot of time and money travelling to see the band. He is a real cool guy and we had a real nice talk. It also turns out he knows Eva from here at the bar -so that was pretty cool.

Ok -on to the show. Me and my two friends get to the Pepsi Arena around 4pm and start lining up with about 7 other people who are there. Let me say this, the Pepsi Arena security guards suck some balls. First off, they have one guy -well kid outside in charge of the line trying to arrange the General Admission line. This 19 year old kid is out there trying to arrange the line outside and he does not know what the fuck he is talking about or doing. He tells us we shouldnt be lining up this early -cause when they open the doors everyone is just gonna bum rush inside anyway and we will lose our spots. He also says there is nothing he can do about it if people start cutting the line. People start buming out so I pull this kid over to the side and tell him that if he isnt gonna police the line, then everyone who is here right now, will. The kid was so terrified to tell people who were arriving to the venue, where the line started and to have their purses open and keys out when they are letting people in. He was having other fans on the line say it to other fans! It was pretty funny -yet sad. If this was a MAJOR city, and the crowd was more rowdy and troublesome -this could have gotten ugly QUICK. After being in Vancouver, all I wanted was a smooth experience, and if that meant me, my friends, and anyone else on line had to be involved with organizing the line and getting shit like that together, then it was fine with me.

So at around 6:30 they open the doors. The line goes smooth and everyone gets a wrist band. Me and my two friends get to the front of the stage -against the barricade in front of Finck's side of course. It brought back memories from Vegas last year -I was in the same exact spot in Albany as I was for the two shows in Vegas last year, so it was pretty fuckin cool. We start talking to the venue security working the show -and they were all cool guys. Definitely more organized and tougher than the security guards outside working the show. This one guy was real cool and me and my friends were talking to him. It turns out he was leaving in about 20 minutes to go pick up Axl at the airport and escort him to the arena. That made me feel much much better, knowing that Axl was on his way. Yep, I was still feeling the bad memories of Vancouver -what can I say. An experience like that sticks with ya, and it is going to take me a while to get over it.

CKY takes the stage a little after 7:30 and they are surprisingly good. Much better than what people have been giving them credit for. The guitarist in the band looks like Dave Navarro a bit when he has his hair in his face, and he does the Pete Townsend Windmill any chance he gets, but he is real into it, and plays to the crowd and that got the crowd into it. I thought they rocked and were real supportive of G N' R -saying how they were psyched to be on this tour and this was gonna be a kick ass show. They played a hard set and got a nice reception.

Next up was Mix Master Mike. I like pretty much every type of music -rap, hip hop, and good techno. I was looking forward to MMM but when he got on and played, it just wasnt happening for me. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the concept -I think having someone like this involved on the tour is great -the crossover in genre is not the problem. Where the problem lies is MMM stage set up. Basically, he doesnt have one. All he has going is the turntables he is scratching on and blow up dolls that blow side to side as he scratches. At a rock show, that is not going to cut it. What he should have had is go go dancers on each side of the stage dancing in cages, or even break dancers on stage dancing to the music, and/or a screen behind him playing trippy ass images to the music he was scratching to. If this was a dance club this would not be a problem -cause everyone is doing whatever and into other things. But at a rock show, and for a rock audience, they want something to watch while they listen, something to keep them jamming with the music. Watching MMM just scratch away was not fun. I have a lot of respect for the guy, -I have respect for a lot of good DJs, but his stage set up hurt his performance, and it could have been much better. His set list was real cool, a lot of good tunes he was scratching too -but it got old fast, and it had a lot to do again with the stage set up.

Before G N' R took the stage the famous G N' R tour game "Show Us Your Tits" was played. There were many contestants at the show which I was surprised by -I thought Albany would be more conservative, but hey I'm not complaining. Though it was fun for the first few minutes, like Mix Master Mike's set it got old pretty fast. I'm probably in the minority when I say this, but I was bored. I mean yeah it's always fun to see girls get naked, but I wanted to see G N' R and if I wanted naked girls, I could have stayed in NYC and went to FlashDancers or Scores. I also found it a little tasteless -esp. the camera guys who had a lot of shitty things to say while about the girls while they were filming them. They also talked a lot of shit about about Axl while waiting for the band to take the stage, which I got real pissed about -but that's a whole other story I guess. The camera guys even propositioned some girls in the front -offering them a backstage pass -pretty shitty stuff. The girls seemed real slutty and VERY groupish and were looking exactly for that so I guess it was good for them, but it just made me shake my head in disgust. Well, I guess some things never change with the majority of the G N' R crew at G N' R shows.

Around 10:30pm "Show Us Your Tits" ended, and the lights went out. The curtain rises and the stage is revealed. All I have to say is KICK ASS!" The stage set up rocks. The screens/monitors they got going on, with the two levels, and the wings on the side, the chinese banners, just looked awesome. There was some ambient music playing in the background, but no "Exorcist" or "Network" intro. Finck starts "Jungle" and he walks out with Tommy. Finck is dressed in a kick ass black silk suit, with funky socks and cool boots and a kick ass hat, much like the one the wrestler The Undertaker use to wear back in the day. Tommy is dressed in black pants and a funky t-shirt with the number 78 on it. Brain takes his seat at the drums dressed in a yellow flannel, bucket hat he wore at MTV Awards and sunglasses. Dizzy and Chris get on their keys. Dizzy is wearing black G N' R tank to, and Chris has a nice dress shirt on with leather pants and a ski hat.
Buckethead slowly appears -almost like Bela Lugosi in the old Dracula films. You don't actually see him appear -he just sort of shows up. Creepy, yet kick ass! He is wearing gray slacks, gray windbreaker with blue flannel underneath, and a black cape.
Axl screams "You know where you are..." and the show officially starts. Axl takes the stage in a New York Rangers third jersey -which I was fuckin psyched about being that hockey is my fav sport and the Rangers are my team! Only thing I was disappointed with was no name or number on the back -he should have had Messier on the back -it would have been a nice metaphor being that Messier is the best leader in all of sports, and Axl is the best front man in all of music. Anyway, Axl and the band were full of energy and just kicked fuckin ass. The whole band (except Bhead -he got into it later on) were all over the stage, interacting with the crowd and just having a great time. After "Live and Let Die" Axl speaks to the crowd for the first time and tells us a story about a girl who came up to him the other night and in a dumb and nasal voice says "Why is Paul McCartney playing your song?" Axl says "I thought that was really funny."
Finck also got rid of his black hat during "Live and Let Die" and wore a war helmet with sunglasses. He later took that off and showed off his kick ass haircut. His hair is longer than I have ever seen it.

I believe "KOHD" was next, so the set list was a little different. Same songs, but different order. During "KOHD" I hear some asshole screaming VERY LOUD to Axl "Hey Axl, you fuckin asshole. Where's Slash!!? Axl you fuckin suck!" So I look to my right and see the fuckin punk who is talking shit. I tell him to shut the fuck up and he continues to talk shit. Everyone around us is yelling at him to end it, but he continues. So I reach over and snuff him/smack him in the head real hard and tell him to go the fuck home. He looks at me bewildered as 20 other people around me start yelling at him too. I put the middle finger right in his face and tell him he is an asshole. Before I know it, one of Axl's security guys who looks like an ex-football player and who was in front of the stage the whole show, comes over and grabs the guy and tells him something in his ear. The guy didnt say anything after that, and when I looked over for him a few songs later, he was gone, which was good and bad cause after the show it would have been nice to have a nice friendly conversation with him :)

Anyway, back to the show - Axl switched into a New York Yankees jersey before November Rain and sang the "Asshole Intro" and then apologized and said it was the wrong song. He then played the funny intro where he looks at the crowd. He then played a deep emotional intro which sounded a lot like the piano solo used in the "Making of Estranged" video. Very chilling and hauntingly beautiful. Brain then did the drum intro and started November Rain.
I believe it was after this song that Axl first really spoke of the old band, especially Slash, though he may have said things that I am talking about now a little earlier in the show. It's hard to remember cause I'm so overtired and need sleep.
He started off saying how he has not spoken often on this tour so far, but not to worry cause it was still early and he was just getting warmed up. He made the comparission to De LaHoya and Vargas and how Slash likes to run his mouth in the press about Axl and G N' R. Axl got very emotional at this point and started talking about all the shit he went through to get this band together and how they are being treated unfair by the people reviewing the shows and by fans, but people don't or refuse to understand what happened with the old band. He also addressed the people who say "There wouldnt be a November Rain or Estranged if there wasnt Slash" and Axl says "These people don't realize though how hard it was for me to get him to play those songs." He talked about Slash and Duff being bad cops and Axl called himself the sheriff I believe. He said that he has wanted to stay quiet about this for a while, but he wants his side of the story to be told as well, cause all we have heard are lies. He got very into this at this point and told us we had all been lied to and taken advantage of at our expense and it wasnt fair. He said he wants us to hear and know the truth and that everyone has the truth in them -it's just up to the individual to decide if they want to recognize it or not. He brought this point up later on in the show again when he went on another rant about Slash and the old band. He also talked about how the press says he has no integrity left, and that he doesnt give a fuck anymore. He said "Yep, I have no intergrity left and dont give a fuck that is why I am here tonight and that is why the band is here tonight and that is why were are going to make this thing work..." He then said that now somebody will record this rant on an MP3, go home and transcribe it, and the press will talk about what a bad guy Axl is.
It was classic Axl and I loved every minute of it cause it was Axl speaking his mind on what went down with the old band and just confronting everyone who continues to try and hold him and the new band back and from moving FORWARD.

Before "Patience" he was ranting again about the above and then said "People don't understand that Slash and Duff didn't want to be a part of a lot of the songs that were written -and people don't know the arguments that we had at Can Am (?) studios about songs they would and would not play-and here is one of them" -and "Patience" started.

At this point Axl was in a NY Giants Michael Strahan Jersey and the show was going amazing. Axl was really into the crowd and the crowd was really good. Except my friend who is a huge Jets fan and was bumed Axl didnt represent Gang Green :)

During "Nightrain" Axl made eye contact with me - which he was doing all night which was kick ass -and I gave him the peace sign with real emotion and he gave me the famous Axl smile and nod and gave the peace sign right back to me the same way. It was fuckin awesome!!! Almost another "Rocket Queen" moment for me :)

The set ended with "Paradise City" and confetti was everywhere!!! I am still picking out confetti out of my pockets! I took off my clothes when I got home and confetti was coming out of the inside of my clothes, it was insane! It was an amazing fuckin show. This band just gets better and better with each show they play and though I thought they were AWESOME for those three shows in Vegas, this show they were just so much more tighter and together. They are truly a band now. They are like a muscle. It gets developed, it grows, and then it just continues to get stronger and stronger the more you work on it. The more shows they play the better they get, and when they kick off the next leg of the tour -they are going to really be something special -esp. playing the new songs. They play the new songs we have all heard already with so much emotion -you can just tell the album is going to be something they are all proud of and are going to fight tooth and nail for. Axl contiued to thank the crowd for coming out to the show and for braving the snowy weather.

On a side note, I got to talk with Mr. Loder the other day and he will be in Boston this weekend covering the show, and will make yet another attempt to interview Axl. He said "I have managed to NOT interview Axl on three continents now (Rio, Vancouver, Tacoma)" and also said he is not getting his hopes up about getting an interview done in Boston. But like I told him, if Axl is gonna give a deep and lengthy interview it is going to be with him.
He also said "The Garden show will be the big one for this band..." I can't wait!

So whoever has not seen the show yet, youre in for a real treat. Everyone enjoy and have fun. Last night started for me G N' R 3 times in 8 days! Hartford should be rocking and the Garden should really be something special.

 

 

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