Sunday, August 14, 2016

Chinese Democracy

Guns 'N Roses
AT&T Park, San Francisco
August 9, 2016

One thing led to another and Umlaut found himself with a last minute ticket to this self-proclaimed "Tour Of The Year" a mere 3 hours before start time.  I was not a big Guns 'N Roses fan back in The Day.  Obviously their debut album deserves a place in record collections, and they did torch away the hairspray from L.A. Hair Metal, but after massive success hit they became just another out of touch band to dislike.  Axl jumping off an oil tanker to swim with dolphins in that music video that cost $4 MILLION to make summed it all up.

The most ridiculous Rock music video ever.

Since getting to this show was so easy and it included free parking I put history aside and made it to AT&T Park with enough time to watch the Giants road game from Miami on a television in the Club Level while the opening band called The Struts (who?) did their best to warm up the San Francisco evening.  Ironically I ran into some of the same friends who I would also see at a Slayer show.  Discuss amongst yourselves.  The last time I saw GNR was at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during the Summer of 1992 when the "support" bands Metallica and Motörhead wiped the stage with them.  My 1992 self asked "What the fuck are you doing here!?"

Dude / Dad: "Where's the escalator?"
Chick / Mom: "I thought we were VIP."
Me: (forehead slap)

Despite the 20+ year old reputation for arriving onstage late, GNR and Axl actually went onstage early tonight.  This must have pissed off the thousands of fans who were still trying to enter the stadium.  For Umlaut it was only annoying as I stood in a bar line as the first song 'It's So Easy' rumbled out of the PA on the field.  The woman behind me in line said "That sounds like them.." and when I confirmed that it was "them" she said "Oh well... I'm not going to rush.. I'm not 20 anymore!"  It should be noted that this Tuesday evening was definitely a Mom & Dad date night and the most un-Rock crowd I've been around at a "Rock" concert in ages.

For all of the hype over this "reunion" tour, and the rationalized modern mathematics that 3 of 5 original band members equals a "reunion", tonight's show was not completely sold out.  It was full to be sure, but I didn't encounter any long lines for anything compared to Metallica in this same venue earlier this year.  Not that I was complaining at all of course, but can we all agree that having reserved seating on the floor for a stadium concert is the worst thing to happen to concerts maybe ever.  Reserved seating killed the arena and stadium concert experience and made it "safe".  Thank dog for Slayer shows.

Surprisingly, I have to admit that Guns 'N Roses were not awful here in 2016.. but I also admit my standards are much lower than they were in 1992.  It's obvious that Axl is in shape again and consistently sounded like "Axl" during the set.. but I didn't see him shimmy once.

"One gourmet CHEEEESE tray.."

For old times sake, Axl broke out the white leather jacket; I wonder if it has its own bus on this tour.  Duff still does the bass player swagger thing better than most.  Slash carries the band by being a solid guitar god type dude onstage.  I have no idea who the other band members are on this "reunion" tour.  Don't talk to the hired help.. No, don't even look at them.

Anyway, I think it's safe to assume that the songs I didn't know were off that Chinese Democracy album.  'Rocket Queen' would be the song I liked the most tonight, but 'Live and Let Die' reminded me how much I hated GNR in 1992.  At one point during their set I traded texts with the guy who so eloquently read their concert rider on camera back in that Summer of '92.  The screams of all the Moms losing their shit as Slash played the intro to 'Sweet Child 'O Mine' was a bit unsettling.  No mosh pits opened up on the floor during 'Out Ta Get Me' which was disappointing. I hope the people who left early during the set closing 'Night Train' were leaving to score smack.  The show closing and final encore 'Paradise City' was good in that "kidz getting crushed to death at Donington '88" way.  The biggest let down of the night was that Slash did not stand on Axl's piano during his solo in 'November Rain'.

Kudos to GNR for having a Dirty Harry themed event t-shirt for San Francisco tonight.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag.  The bottom line was I had fun tonight and it was an easy gig for Umlaut to attend.  It was better than spending a Tuesday night on the couch, right?  However, my main thought as I left the stadium was that as Guns 'N Roses were onstage their hometown Dodgers had won their game to move into a tie with the Giants for 1st place in the NL West. Irony is a dish best served cold.

Fuck the Dodgers.