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Axl and company soldier on

Guns N' Roses
Allstate Arena
Rosemont, IL
November 15, 2011
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Story and photos by Rob Grabowski

A late night was most certainly guaranteed with Guns N' Roses rolling into Rosemont, Illinois the other night. They have a thing about being late. As the yawns started to proliferate throughout the audience, Axl Rose finally hit the stage shortly after 11 p.m. belting out the title song off of their most recent album Chinese Democracy.

Axl and company quickly blew a second wind into the audience. As they launched into their iconic "Welcome To The Jungle" the crowd shot to their feet with a renewed vigor. Axl, clad in a black fedora, matching leather jacket, jeans and sunglasses, has never lost a step with his dynamic stage personality. The electric assault continued with the snaky cool "It's So Easy." After only three songs, it was apparent that the music that won the hearts of millions nearly 25 years ago has withstood the test of time and was as fresh and exciting now as it was back in the day. G-N-R certainly delivered the hits like, "Estranged." "Don't Cry," "You Could Be Mine," "November Rain" and "Patience." Not only did G-N-R deliver on their hits, but delivered on the covers that they made infamous like Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die," which featured a full pyro show that had flames and sparks nearly hitting the wood rafters while the nose bleeders checked to see if their eyebrows might be seared off. Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," featured Axl's voice in fine form. Other covers included, "Riff Raff" and "Whole Lotta Rosie" by AC/DC and "My Generation" by The Who.

If the crowd was starting to feel the effects of the day seeing that the show has gone into the next day, they certainly got woken up with Axl's hips swaying to one of the most recognizable opening riffs of all time during "Sweet Child O' Mine." Bringing the show to nearly 2 a.m., Axl brought the house down with "Paradise City." G-N-R delivered a knock-out punch as the audience were reaching for the ropes just to regain their composure.

While the Allstate Arena had a very respectable crowd for the new incarnation of G-N-R, if the original members were to reunite, football stadiums would be filled for multiple nights and the hysteria that they enjoyed in the late '80s would be relived and perhaps even surpassed. With Axl either being a certifiable madman or a verifiable musical genius depending on how the wind blows. The world is more colorful for having him and his legacy in it. The musicians that Axl are performing with on this current tour are tight and accurate and actually do amaze, but when it comes to the world of rock 'n' roll, the fans are finicky and would prefer the drunken and dysfunctionally beautiful original lineup.

A Guns N' Roses reunion will always be talked about. As the Beatles will never have the chance again with the deaths of John Lennon and George Harrison, the world has always speculated that had they both lived they would have probably gotten back together. If a band like the reunited Eagles could be welcomed back with open arms, why can't we hope for a Guns N' Roses reunion? Until then, I guess I and the rest of the world will just have to hope and wait.

Related articles:

Axl Rose - Diary of a rock 'n roll weasel - Dec. 2006
Billy Idol / Slash - Concert review - Chicago - Sept. 2008
AC/DC / Slash's Snakepit - Concert review - Chicago - Aug. 2000
Livewire's Exclusive Interview with Slash - July 2001
Slash's Snakepit - Ain't Life Grand - Album review
Velvet Revolver - Concert review - Milwaukee - Jan. 2008
Velvet Revolver - Contraband - Album review

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