Sunday, November 6, 2011
Photo gallery and review: Guns N’ Roses at Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas (November 5)
Axl Rose won't let Chinese Democracy get him down.
It has been more than a decade since Guns N’ Roses has performed in Dallas, and for a while it looked like Saturday night’s scheduled performance at the Gexa Energy Pavilion wasn’t going to happen. Fans waited nearly an hour for the notoriously late Axl Rose to take the stage, sending text messages across the big screens wondering if the band was even going to play at all. It has happened to GN’R fans before, some ending in costly riots.
Fans weren’t disappointed when the band finally took the stage. The venue was lit up with bright lights, loud guitars, and even louder pyrotechnics. The sound of the band was so overwhelming that Rose's signature wails could barely be heard for most of the set. But maybe he wanted it that way; he isn’t 20 years old anymore.
Dressed in layers of clothing and wearing a cowboy hat, scarf, aviators, and an awkward looking fu man chu mustache, Rose did not look like himself. Gone are the days where he would take the stage in just a pair of American flag boxer briefs; the man is aging and it isn’t pretty.
Throughout the show, Rose would sneak off to a small curtained room to the side of the stage whenever there was a guitar solo. It happened often since three guitarists were vying for a reason to show off their skills. The question is: What exactly was he doing back there? Resting from all the running around on stage? Sucking in some oxygen? Whatever it was, he did it often enough to become noticeable.
Although the original Guns N’Roses lineup parted ways in the mid-nineties, the band’s loyal fans seemed to care less who was backing the reclusive lead singer. As one fan’s message said just before the show, “Axl is GNR.” However, Rose would look much better if a certain big haired, top hat wearing guitarist in aviators was by his side. Even though the guitarists on stage did a commendable job at attempting the solos that Slash made famous, it took three of them to equal his stage presence, and even then, it wasn’t enough.
Oftentimes the solos were a bit indulgent. Fans were there to see Rose: to hear him shriek through signature tracks like “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” which he did surprisingly well. When Rose reached into his lower octaves, that was when the winces would start.
Rose’s best moment was when he tickled the ivories to Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” which segued into his magnum opus “November Rain.” One of the best GN’R tracks, “November Rain” demonstrated Rose’s skills as a musician rather than just a pompous lead singer.
After more than 25 songs, several hat and jacket changes, and multiple trips to his secret chambers, Rose ended the show with “Paradise City” on a high note. Really: His wails could break glass. Fans seemed eager for more, despite the fact that the concert ended near 1 a.m.
Pegasus News Content partner - Arc Digital Photography
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