Guns n' Roses are throwing free Chinese Democracy listening parties in big cities all over the country. Places like New York City, Chicago and Detroit all get parties. I get squat.
During the listening party, fans will get to hear Chinese Democracy for the "first" time. Naturally, you can't have any electronic devices while attending the party - but still - I can do wonders with a pen and notepad.
As we all know, Chinese Democracy is set to finally release November 23 through Best Buy. The thing about the listening parties is not that you get to hear the music. It's that you are experiencing a special moment with a bunch of other people. In a lot of ways, the release of Chinese Democracy encompasses the entire zeitgeist of a generation. The kids who grew up on Appetite for Destruction now have jobs - and their own families. While Appetite was dangerous, ChiDem is a bit of mystery which will likely fail to live up to the impossible hype. For some, hearing new Guns n' Roses music in over a decade in a room full of strangers is a bit like reliving the past. In a sense, Axl Rose's over-litigious ways have kept us all from illegally downloading Chinese Democracy in our homes. Sure, plenty of you have ripped off the band and the labels, but others have stood strong. The ones that have stood strong - like me - would like a shot at hearing the album before the release date. This is the beauty of the listening party. Sure, people make fun of Axl's attorneys and their cease and desist letters - but consider this: in a time when most of us only relate to family and friends through machines and other tech toys, Axl Rose has forced humans to come together once again (face-to-face no less!) to listen to music. You know, the way it was back in the 1980s.
Since I don't live in a big city, I'll just wait until release day to get my hands on Chinese Democracy. In the meantime, let me know if you're going to one of these listening parties. I'd like to hear about your experience.