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Guns n' Roses Live Review

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.

Reader Comments (11)

What section were you in? I was in 110, row F. Great show. I was pleased with most of the Chinese Democracy songs, and most of the classics (I've never been a fan of L&LD and can't stand Knockin' on Heaven's Door live but I love the studio version). I didn't mind the guitar solos, but I was a little confused by Tommy taking vocals on the Dead Boys cover and was not at all a fan of the Dizzy Reed solo. That aside, it was a fantastic show and I'm very glad I went.
December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJT
unbelievable... smoke killed you.
December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
I'm sorry that you had an bad experince at your gig Allyson. But I must ask you, do your crowds ever move? Seen toons of footage from gigs(to be fair, ive seen people move on pantera concerts), never is there any kind of real passion for music, just people standing there.

Just look at this clip from Argentina, you never see that in the US -
December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSam
You made a HUGE mistake missing Dgeneration, Id love to see those guys again.
Seems like you were expecting a bad night from the get go.
As for the idiots in front you should have said something to them or told security, I certainly wouldnt put up with crap like that at a show.
December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSleaze Rocker
$20 to park? Who does that? I parked 3 blocked from the venue for $10. You missed out on Dgeneration. They were fun and a worthy opener. And I didnt feel it was at all cold in there either. The show was damn near flawless. I wish everybody would get over the whole "it aint GNR" stance and enjoy the show. It was magical. Perhaps the best show Ive ever seen.
December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
KennyOzz, Alyson was down by the ICE. Hence the chill. If you were down by the ice and still warm. I'll say she's a chick. If your a chick I'll say sorry. :)
Glad to heard it was a great show for you. I am always amazed at how experiences differ for peeps depending on their mood, seats and company. Magical for some, misery for others. Rock n Roll!!!!!
December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKixchix should NOT have missed D-Gen..old school NYC Rock n Roll!!! and you should NEVER let anyone ruin a show that you waited 2 decades to see!! why didnt you say something to security OR had Glam Husband throw a little weight around!??

ps..I saw the ORIGINAL GnR at the, I think 86 (87?) and walked out on 'em too..Axl assless chaps were weird!
December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJimbo
Al! Yeah, you shoulda caught D-Generation! They are REAL Rock'n'Roll!

As far as the jack*ss couple in front of you, one of you should have stealthily gone up to the concourse out of the view of said couple and ratted 'em out to security. At the very least, they would have cut out the smoking so you wouldn't have had to deal with that for the rest of the show.

Mow you kmow why, if I have the bux, I will fork it over to the brokers for front row seats. It's worth it to be point blank to enjoy a virtually unobstructed view of the stage.

The question still beckons, however, Al: How would you have survived the arena concert going experience of the shows I attended in the late 70's through the early 90's when we smoked everything except the foam out of our seats?
December 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
I have to laugh at that one about the old stadium shows from the late 70's to the 90's or whatever...I am a 36 year smoker, I started when I was 13, when I was at GnR last week, a couple in front of me did the same thing on the floor, they lit up, it drove me crazy I wanted a smoke so bad, had to run out to the damn smoking area though cuz I could tell it bothered the people in front of them...I actually missed all of Sweet Child cuz I was smoking,....oh well that was last week...I just read last night that the darkness are coming to US/Canada in Febuary,..nice small shows too!...there's something to talk about!
December 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertoddwiggy
Anyone notice that Axl blew the first verse of Sweet Child O Mine -- he sang the second verse twice. Thought he used a teleprompter!
December 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBB
Thanks for the review, Allyson - you rock. Smoking sucks - too bad about the rude people who ruined the show for you. I would have handled that situation in about 30 seconds. I am the security manager for a large sports venue. This is what you do, say to the people bothering you "if you smoke (or swear/fart/spit/or whatever) one more time here - you are going to be removed from the building. this is your only warning". then go ask a security person to remove them if they do it again. if front-line security fails to act, ask for their name and write it down, then ask for the security manager immediately. if the security manager won't remove the people smoking, ask to be reseated closer to the stage in a section with better security, and ask for the name of the security manager and write it down. by this time security is going to get the message you aren't fuckign around and take care of business. it would be much easier just to punch the rude douchebags in the face, but after all, we are civilized right? don't waste any time - just do it as soon as possible. these idots aren't ever going to be your friends, so why let them ruin a minute of the show you paid to see? best of luck to you in the future.
December 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDesertStormVeteran

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