Guns at The Palace

Our ears are ringing and our clothes still carry a faint whiff of mega skrunk from the communal haze at the Guns 'n Roses concert last night. Axl and crew started the show at quarter to midnight and jammed until after 2 am (no doubt the management at The Palace was less than pleased). Late concerts like this harken back to the day, say twenty-five years ago, when bands like The Rolling Stones and The Who ruled the arena rock circuit. Nowadays, good luck getting geriatrics like Mick and Keith or Daltrey and Townsend to play past eleven o'clock- not gonna happen!

From start to finish, Gn'R embodied everything that is absent from today's rock music: energy, edginess, and exceptional musical talent. Compared to the invertebrates that inhabit the sludge of contemporary album rock, Gn'R is an organism more akin to a gray wolf or a bengal tiger- reclusive, intelligent, and powerful. Biologists theorize that when major carnivores are absent from an ecosystem, the natural balance shifts towards an over-abundance of rodents and other low-functioning lifeforms. The same can be said for today's music scene; so after a decade-long absence, we hope the re-surfacing of Gn'R is for real.

All day long, local radio stations were broad-casting updates as to whether or not Axl Rose would show up. The prognosis was good- Guns had toured Europe and other American cities and other than a couple of dates that were cancelled well in advance, the shows occurred without incident. But you never know with Axl- at the 2002 show at The Palace, he threw his mike down and left for the night- right in the middle of Patience. When it became obvious he wasn't going to return, 12,000 fans were left wondering if they should be pissed or grateful he played most of the setlist before storming off the stage.

Nothing like that happened during yesterday's- er, today's show. Instead, Axl was in good spirits (at one point, he even commented how well the night was going), and his performance reflected the mood. Flanked by some of the best unknown guitarists in the music business, he sampled generously from the Gn'R canon of old as well as presented several new songs. For those of you in a city they have yet to play, we hope Axl's good mood lasts awhile.

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