On Friday, December 2, I saw Guns n' Roses live at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. As you know, I was very excited for this show because I've never seen Guns n' Roses (okay, Axl Rose) live.
When the Glam husband and I arrived at the venue, he was less than pleased to learn it cost $20 to park, but whatever. I didn't want to walk far as it was cold.
We decided to go out to eat and skip the opening act D Generation. I do not regret this, even though I got a few emails saying how great the band was live. I'm sure they were, but I was just too wary of waiting and waiting and waiting. When we finally rolled up to the venue, it was just before 10. Instead of floor, I opted for the front row of the seats. This meant I was two inches from the floor but still had a seat to sit in while waiting for Axl. The air conditioning was cranked so high at U.S. Bank Arena that I shivered the entire time - my hair was moving the air was blowing so hard! That was a definite negative.
Axl's spirit must have moved him early - the band went on about 10:40 and I'm pretty sure that's earlier than any of the other tour stops. DJ Ashba has a lot of energy, but I've been a fan of his for a long time. He didn't disappoint while with GNR either.
There were lots of songs off Chinese Democracy, which is expected and I enjoyed. I really like the album but I still think the older GNR songs translate better live. Before the music started, I had told the Glam husband that the songs I wanted to hear most were "Estranged" and "November Rain." I was pleasantly surprised to hear "Estranged" so early in the set. It was awesome! Another song I really loved was "Don't Cry." That was probably my favorite part of the show. Here's something weird: Axl didn't banter hardly at all. He alluded to "the last time we were in Cincinnati..." and that was about it. And he told the story about Paul McCartney's kids saying "Dad, it's so cool you do a Guns n' Roses song!" -- a story I'd heard many times before.
I could have done without the AC/DC cover of "Whole Lotta Rosie" and preferred to hear something like "Yesterdays." I also think that the guitar solos in "Sweet Child O' Mine" came up a little short. Yes, I love DJ and yes, Bumblefoot is awesome... but they are not Slash and I felt like he was missing on that song. The Glam husband got annoyed by all the solos -- and I do agree. By cutting down on the solos, we could have had more GNR tunes, but Axl needs the time to rest, so it is what it is.
Now, for the bad stuff: Axl looked weird in all his various hats but that annoyance was nothing compared to the two people that were next to me. They came in late, so I was loving the show until they rolled in. Let's just say the girl leaned on the wall between the floor and the seats the entire time, shoving her butt into my hip... and her husband felt compelled to lean into her. Like, they weren't even facing the stage 90% of the time, so why pay for tickets? They necked, spit and swore incessantly... but the best part was when they chain smoked and tried to hide it. Ohio has a smoking ban, so lighting up at indoor venues is illegal. Because they were "sneaking" their smokes, they would hunch down, light up, take a few puffs and put out the cigarette. This went on for two hours and by the end of the show, my eyes were running from smoke. I was so fed up, the husband and I left right after "Nightrain" meaning we skipped the encore. I'm sad I missed "Patience," but I still feel like I fulfilled a dream. I've been wanting to see Guns n' Roses for more than two decades and it finally happened for me. If the Guns n' Roses tour rolls through your town, check it out. I just hope you have a better class of people in the crowd than I did. Geesh.