As in anticipation for the day we were told by the band’s staff that Axl would not be late, since we would have to pay for a heavy fine this time if he was.
Well, I didn’t believe it for a second. If the guy isn’t late, he’s definitely NOT Axl Rose. After almost a two-hour delay and hitting the stage at 2:45 a.m. (already Sunday), under some really heavy rain, GUNS N’ ROSES, Rock In Rio’s main attraction, started their performance with an Intro, breaking into “Chinese Democracy”. Axl Rose came onstage wearing a yellow (and funny!) raincoat and the crowd forgot for a moment all about the endless waiting and the heavy rain that insisted on falling. “Welcome To The Jungle” came next, showing different sounding Axl Rose vocals (actually, very, very different from last year’s show). Guitar player Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal messed up the solo on this one, due to a strange helmet he was trying to wear, but nothing that could make the fans disappointed.
They hit it again with “Appetite” tracks “It’s So Easy” and “Mr. Brownstone”, more than warmly received by the crowd. “Sorry”, another track from “Chinese Democracy” followed before guitar player Richard Fortus played his solo, which included the James Bond Theme in it.
“Live And Let Die” and “Rocket Queen” were played then, showing a band that was not so tight as it was last year, and making people wonder what the hell had happened to Axl’s voice, since it was really, really different from what the fans are used to hearing. Guitar player Bumblefoot played a quick instrumental piece, and the song “This I Love” came next.
Now it was the time for guitar player DJ Ashba to do his own instrumental piece, which was the perfect link to the next song, the hit single “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. I still wonder why the old school GN’R fans haven’t let go of Slash not being in the band anymore, and keep on saying that the new guitar players are not that good – these guitar players are not only better than he ever was, but they are also wonderful human beings. Axl couldn’t have chosen better musicians for the new GUNS N’ ROSES formation, and that’s a fact.
The greatest moment of the show came next, when the band played the song “Estranged”. I can’t say I’m very fond of this one, but I have to admit it was nice listening to this song live again, as Axl said himself, almost after 20 years. Then he called his personal assistant Beta Lebeis, who has been working for him for years now, her sister and her father ( I had the chance of meeting him too – what a nice guy he is!), he made some jokes about them and the band played the song “Better” then. Beta and “Better”… got it?????
Axl then introduced the band, and Dizzy Reed played his great piano instrumental piece, and started the song “Street Of Dreams”. It was also nice listening to the next couple of songs, smash hits “You Could Be Mine” and “November Rain”, but these showed again that Axl’s voice sounded very weird. Crowd pleaser “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” was another good moment, before ending the set with another “Appetite” track, “Nightrain”.
Of course, there was still to be an encore as “Patience” and “Paradise City” closed the night showing why Axl still is considered a legend and one of the most important names in the music history, although he’s far from being in his best shape (physically and vocally speaking). It was only a shame that the set included fewer songs than it was expected and revealed for press – they would have probably played of around 30 songs, including the cover of AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie”, maybe if it was not for Axl Rose being so late. The heavy rain fell all night, but I think it was worth it to all of those who were there for GUNS N’ ROSES. They have always been one of the most popular bands in Brazil and, as it seems, they will be forever.