Review: Guns N’ Roses (GN’R) @ Investors Group Field
I think if I lived in the south end of the city, my vocabulary would become more colourful due to the abundance of trains crossing major roadways during rush hour. Trains are the reason I almost missed the beginning of Our Lady Peace (OLP). Luckily, I made it and was in my seat 10 minutes before they took the stage.
I really like OLP, but when it was announced that they were opening for GN’R, I thought it was an odd pairing. I asked one of my industry friends about it and he told me they probably had the same promoter who wanted to promote OLP’s new album. Still…”Canadian rock” OLP, opening for “hard rock” GN’R? That sounds like a decision made by people who aren’t concerned with the point of a warm up band.
It was exactly as I thought it would be. OLP played OLP songs and performed like OLP. I liked it, but with the exception of the drummer, no one seemed to put any extra effort into being anything they weren’t. “Star Seed” was a bit heavier than I remembered, but otherwise, it was Canadian rock on a huge stage in a huge stadium filled with people who liked their music much grittier.
Was I warmed up after their set? Nope. But I can’t fault OLP for that; they aren’t a warm up band. I once saw them open for Van Halen and they were great. But that was many moons ago and they were brand new. Time has passed, they’ve grown into themselves and now they have their own following.
I will say though, that the sound was good where I was and their new single “Drop Me In The Water” had a cool guitar solo near the end, which the crowd seemed to enjoy.
A dragster firing its cylinders on the big screens, warned us that the show was about to begin. The band came running on stage to “It’s So Easy” and boob grabbing women repeatedly flashed on the big screens. The song ended with fireworks and the realization that I’m awful at compartmentalizing. I couldn’t enjoy that song at all.
I did notice though, that singer Axl Rose’s sound was horrible. The rest of the band sounded fine from where I was, but I couldn’t make out anything Axl was singing.
“Mr. Brownstone” and “Chinese Democracy” followed and I still wasn’t into it. It wasn’t until sensory overloaded “Welcome To The Jungle” that I was able to enjoy myself. It was exciting and fast and I’ll post the video I took of it on this page a little later today.
“Live and Let Die” was also great as was “You Could Be Mine”. I love that song and it was thrilling to hear it live.
Bassist, Duff McKagan sang “Attitude” which was fun for me because I may or may not have had a crush on Duff many years ago. I also liked the Prince symbol on his guitar.
“Civil War” was explosive and chaotic and after it was over, Axl commented “I imagine for you guys this is a relatively warm evening” which I thought was a very L.A. thing to say. Especially because I was shivering and it was 15 degrees celcius.
After “Yesterdays” and “Coma”, Axl introduced the band and guitarist, Slash played a long solo. It was melodic initially, then turned fast and screechy with lots of close-ups of his hands for the guitar geeks in the audience. His solo went right into fan favourite “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and Axl ran back on stage wearing a shirt with a kitten on it; which was a welcome break from his previous shirts depicting women masturbating.
In total, Axl had about 36 costume changes (I made that number up, but it was a lot). If you were at the show and didn’t notice, it was probably because everything he changed into, looked a lot like what he was wearing before. Axl must shop like I do. I find styles I like and then buy those outfits in every colour and pattern. The difference is I’m addicted to stripes, while Axl seems to be addicted to masturbating women.
One of my favourite moments in the show was when Slash and guitarist, Richard Fortus covered Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”. Clouds were projected on the screens and they both stood at the top of the stage which gave the illusion they were playing their solos while floating above the clouds. It was a cool illusion and very effective for guitar solos that feel like you’re soaring.
During Slash’s solo for “November Rain”, a curtain of fireworks blanketed the stage as rain fell on the big screens. It was a cool climax for that portion of the song and the crowd applauded wildly after it was over.
I thought Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” was a good idea, but then changed my mind when I heard Axl sing it. I’m so partial to Chris’ voice and Axl’s voice is nothing like it. Nevertheless, I recorded a video of it and I’ll post it on this blog later tonight.
“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” was long, but well done and the energetic “Nightrain” ended the set.
The acoustic guitars sounded lovely during “Patience” and Axl held the note at the end which the crowd loved.
“Paradise City” ended the show with confetti cannons and fireworks, which whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Axl threw his microphone into the audience (or maybe it was just the sleeve, I couldn’t see) and Slash & Duff threw guitar picks. Then the band left the stage and as people were walking out, they came back out for a bow. People stopped on the stairs and clapped. More picks were thrown, then Slash did a hand stand, and left the stage for good.
I’m glad I saw that show. It made me uncomfortable at times, but I like this music and I’m happy I got to see what’s left of this band. Now it’s 4 a.m. and I have 4 hours of sleep before my Daughter wakes me up. Gotta go.
All photos by Anne Martin
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMs