"The Spaghetti Incident?"

Set lists and a little bit of Rock

Thursday, 5 July 2007

GNR Review Christchurch, NZ

Not too bad a review...

Nearly 20 years on from their hey day Axl has managed to shake the rest of the band and is now touring with a diverse group promoting the long-in-production album Chinese Democracy.

The Christchurch show saw the Westpac Arena packed to the gunnels with a mix of old fans and some who must have been in nappies when Appetite For Destruction was released.

Sebastian Bach from Skid Row warmed up the crowd finishing, ironically, with Youth Gone Wild, despite pushing 40 himself.

And then we waited. And waited. And then? Axl Rose.

Sure, he had ginger braids and a shirt that made him look like a Sumner furniture importer, but with the first strains of Welcome to the Jungle the crowd went crazy.

This was a big concert and it had all the bells and whistles: fireballs, impressive lights, screens, more fireworks.

The new band rattled through all the hits; the only time the old guys were missed was in the trademark Slash solo on November Rain, probably the best song of the night with Axl on piano and fire raining down.

November Rain worked so well because it suited where Axl's voice is at, and that has definitely changed over the years.

He simply couldn't hit the screeches on tracks like Mr Brownstone and Live and Let Die.

On Paradise City where he should have screamed "oh won't you please take me home" he bailed on the wail.

He did solve a long-standing curiosity of mine though - he really does whistle the start of Patience, and man, what a fantastic whistler he is.

The hit parade rumbled on interspersed with guitar solos while Axl changed his outfits.

The final solo was a piece of showmanship genius with the guitarist shredding out a version of God Defend New Zealand on his Flying V guitar and then covering Don't Cry by himself, sans Axl.

New songs from the Chinese Democracy album filled space and stopped the crowd in its tracks - not in a good way, more in a get-to-the-good-stuff kind of way.

Knockin' on Heaven's Door was great with the crowd singing the chorus back to Axl and the finale, Paradise City, captured the night perfectly: a beautiful trip down memory lane with an aging rocker, no longer at the height of his powers but, with that back catalogue, who cares?

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