|Axl Rose rocks like there's no tomorrow
Guns N' Roses may have taken the Everett Events Center's stage late, but they give their fans a show they'll remember for a long time.
By Christina Harper
Special to The Herald
EVERETT - Fans of Guns N' Roses hoping to see the band on the remainder of their 2006 World Tour have been living under a rock if they turn up to a show and don't know that they're gonna rock and roll all night. And I mean all night.
Sebastian Bach, that long-haired, boyish, ex-Skid Row frontman, one of three opening acts, whipped the crowd into a rock 'n' roll frenzy, all the while telling them how much ass Axl Rose, Guns N' Roses' frontman, was going to kick when he came on stage, whenever that would be.
Notorious for not arriving on stage until he is absolutely ready, Rose, has been chided throughout this tour for starting his set at 11 p.m., midnight and even 12:30 a.m., being difficult at best, and sometimes even canceling gigs.
Well, people, get over it. Guns N' Roses might not have anything close to their original line-up but they do have a show that will blow your mind and take you to a place you haven't been for about 20 years. You either don't like them to begin with or you'll go to your grave growling an anthem like "November Rain" and loving every moment of this long-awaited tour.
Sunday night's audience at Everett Events Center was in for the long haul, happy to air thump through opening acts Suicide Girls - described as a tattooed, half-naked, hard-to-grasp group of women - and Helmet, a hard-core thrash-rock band. Bach pumped up the audience with lashing screams and renditions of hits like "18 and Life" and "Youth Gone Wild."
After a not-so-brief interlude, the lights went out, not down, and at 11:40 p.m. search lights and smoke got the audience ready for liftoff. And what a blast it was, beginning with booming balls of fire, blasting strobe lights and that all-too-familiar Axl Rose scream welcoming the audience to the jungle.
Rose, dressed in jeans, black shirt and red boots to match his red microphone and stand, and was in great form. His voice, at times, was more here and there than on, but no one seemed to care.
This is not the Guns N' Roses of old. These hand-picked musicians are not trying to cover anthems played by Slash and Izzy Stradlin.
Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and Richard Fortus blazed through "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Used to Love Her" and "November Rain." Those guys could have played "Jingle Bells" and it would have been a head banger's high. They rocked.
During the night, a baby grand was rolled out and Dizzy Reed, long thin dreads and tattooed bare arms, stopped the show with a piano solo of the Rolling Stones classic, "Angie." He played madly and beautifully at the same time.
And where was Rose in all of this? He's the central character in this tour that for the most part is full of pure musical genius, a whirling dervish kind of character thumping his leg and sway dancing in time to the throbbing rock sound of "Paradise City."
Some think Rose is a rock god, maybe a rock demon. He has the Jim Morrison mesmerizing effect on his audience that pounds the air with fists and screams out his songs into the lights. You can't help but watch him and know that, for all his problems (and there have been many), he's the master of the night no matter what he looks like or if his voice is not exactly up to par. He can whistle the beginning of "Patience" and that's what fans have been waiting for, that and the 10-years-in-the-making new album "Chinese Democracy."
This tour has been criticized for being a platform for a Guns N' Roses cover band or the same songs just 20 years later. It's not. It is a comet full of rock music blasting, expertly, through the night with fire and booms. This Guns N' Roses sent a charge so hard and strong that the energy lasted into the streets of Everett well after the show.
The old Guns N' Roses might have been one of the best rock bands ever. The new one is.