Review by John Jeffrey
Buffalo, NY - While there still seems to be a certain amount of negativity stemming from the fact that the band touring as “Guns N' Roses” only features one member from the original group, namesake vocalist/frontman Axl Rose and company did nothing but delight and entertain the well behaved, mostly middle-aged general admission crowd Wednesday night at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor concert series.
Guns N' Roses definitely brought their “A” game, as they sounded in top form throughout their near three hour set. Sticking to the same formula they’ve used during the past few tours (since releasing the “Chinese Democracy” CD), the band played a good blend of classic material, interspersed with a handful of songs off of “Democracy”.
Prior to the beginning of the show, there was much speculation being voiced amongst the attendees as to what type of mood Axl Rose would be in and what time he would actually take the stage, considering he is notorious for delaying the start of their shows (sometimes for hours) and playing well beyond the set curfew times.
Ironically, the show actually started almost a full half hour earlier than the scheduled 10:30p.m. start time and Axl seemed to be in great spirits all night. Even when gusts of wind blew Axl’s hat off his head several times during the night, he simply joked about it with the crowd, asking why lead guitarist D.J. Ashba’s hats stay on, while his keep blowing off. Speaking of Ashba, while some die hard fans may be annoyed by his adoption of some of original GNR axeman, Slash’s nuances (to the point of being dubbed “Slashba” by some), I have to admit I was completely blown away by his guitar work and stage presence. As far as star power goes, Ashba is certainly first in line, right behind Axl.
I have to say, the only downside to GNR’s performance last Wednesday was the superfluous amount of solo spots conducted by the various band members. These spots are apparently included into the show to allow Axl a breather and to also allow him the opportunity to do his wardrobe changes. I counted at least five solo sections/jams, as all three guitarists (Ashba, along with Richard Fortus and Bumblefoot), plus bassist Tommy Stinson and longtime keyboardist Dizzy Reed all took turns taking the spotlight. That being said, it really didn’t detract from a great night of classic rock being performed by one of the greatest hard rock bands in the history of music.
Even though there may never be a reunion of the original band, I feel Axl Rose still does justice to the music and legacy of Guns N' Roses and puts on a worthwhile show no matter who’s in the lineup. This concert could easily be dubbed the show of the summer, and hopefully won’t be another twenty-odd years before GNR returns to the WNY area.
Special thanks to Kim Estlund for allowing RMS to cover this event. And also Dana Kaiser and Scott Barberio for their assistance.
Welcome to the Jungle
It's So Easy
Richard Fortus Guitar Solo
Live and Let Die
This I Love
Used to Love Her
Motivation (Tommy Stinson song)
Dizzy Reed Piano Solo
Catcher in the Rye
You Could Be Mine
DJ Ashba Guitar Solo
Sweet Child O' Mine
Another Brick in the Wall Part
Axl Rose Piano Solo Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Knockin' on Heaven's Door