Over the Weekend: Guns N' Roses at Gexa Energy Pavilion

Categories: Show Reviews

Guns N' Roses, The Sword
Gexa Energy Pavilion
Saturday, November 5

Better than: I could have ever expected in weather that was damn near perfect.

axk gexa.jpg
Mike Alves
Do those jeans make Axl look fat?
But somehow, perhaps because expectations were so low, a rather healthy-looking Rose and his current collection of sidemen put on a hell of a show.

Playing a collection of hits, deep cuts and surprising cover choices, Guns N' Roses were accomplished throughout the evening. The only drawback was an over-reliance on solos. Hell, I was half expecting the roadies to get their moment in the spotlight.

But despite the '70s-era showboating and the horribly low volume on Rose's microphone, the band sounded as good, if not better, than the original crew of Slash, Izzy, Duff, etc.

What Axl Rose has done is assemble a large cast of skilled instrumentalists, guys who clearly know their roles and who calls the shots.

The entire concert was staged like some odd rock and roll variety show. Besides the solos, the set list included covers of The Who's "My Generation" (sung by bassist Tommy Stinson) and AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie." Even the solos were mishmashes of everything from the James Bond and Pink Panther themes to snippets of songs from Elton John and Pink Floyd.

But for the most part, it all worked because Guns N' Roses original material still sounds as fresh and engaging as it did in the late 80's. Although the show began with the semi-recent "Chinese Democracy," it was on the second song, "Welcome to the Jungle," that the band really hit stride.

And it would have been even better if the sound crew were paying attention to the volume of Rose's microphone. At first, I just thought it was my advanced age that was prohibiting me from hearing the vocals, but folks all around the venue were heard complaining. Some people guessed that Rose had requested that his vocals be buried in the mix to cover up any inadequacies the singer may currently possess

Whatever vocal limitations Axl Rose may or may not have, he is still a master showman. Running around the large stage, Rose looked in good shape as he engaged the crowd throughout the evening. About midway through the show, as the band began "Sweet Child O' Mine," Rose smiled widely as he knew how good his band was sounding.

Of course, the lengthy hit "Paradise City" concluded the encore and the satisfied crowd left the venue blissfully reliving those '80s and '90s memories. There was a sense of relief in the air, of expectations met and surpassed.

Incredibly, Axl Rose still has something left in the tank. Who knew?

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I have never been the biggest fan of Guns N' Roses. Back when the band first appeared, I thought they were a bad bar band mixing Stones' riffs with Aerosmith's swagger. Rose's pseudo gypsy attire was another turnoff. But after seeing the talented display Saturday night, I must begrudgingly tip my hat to Rose and the rest of his heavily tattooed brood.

By The Way: This was the first time that I have been to a show in Fair Park and not felt like I was going to die of heat prostration. There should be a rule that no one be allowed to schedule an outside show in Dallas until after Halloween.

Random Note: Sadly, I missed most of the set by opening act The Sword. Judging by the ferocity of the Austin band's last couple of tunes, these guys were just as focused as the headliners.


Location Info

Venue

Map

Gexa Energy Pavilion

1818 First Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Music

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9 comments
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JMoore
JMoore

AXL ROSE is awsome, he sounded great saturday and as far as the rest of the band they were great ,DJ ASHBA rocks!

just sayin'
just sayin'

There is something inherently wrong with a dude that calls himself DJ Ashba being in Guns and Roses. The guy can play other people's music well, but give me Izzy any day.

The Sandman
The Sandman

That's his real name.  His first two initials are short for "Darren Jay"  Last name - "Ashba"  

IMHO, Izzy was a great rhythm guitarist - that's not Ashba.  Ashba is lead for the most part.  And he plays Slash's parts better than Slash himself.  I can say that as I saw Slash in Jan of this year and while entertaining, his playing was as sloppy as could be.

THIS iteration of GnR was tighter than the original band ever was (saw them many times back in the day), and they make these songs their own.  I was impressed that they really are a "band" now, instead of just "hired guns."

Dramrocker
Dramrocker

I have seen GNR in Austin in 1987 and they were incredibly tight then when opening for the Cult.  Probably the most encredible opening act I have ever seen. 

just sayin'
just sayin'

I heard that Axl hit the stage right on time. So I guess the lesson to be learned here is dont go see GnR in cities without a curfew unless you want to wait.

p-man
p-man

they came on exactly 1 hour after the opener in houston as well, which was at an indoor arena so i don't think there was a curfew issue.

JK
JK

Good review.  I was very impressed with the show as well.  I thought Axl rocked the house and the band was great.  I didn't have too much of a problem hearing Axl's vocals, perhaps this was a problem the closer to the stage you were.

p-man
p-man

solid review, thank you.  show was great, but i'm a lifelong GNR fan so of course i'm a bit biased.  glad that you were pleasantly surprised and had a good time.

we were down in section 101 and i agree that axl was a bit too low in the mix but we could still hear him pretty well.  loved the light/video/pyro stuff.  at 2 1/2 hours i think everyone got their money's worth.

i think the solos are partly to give the 'new' members a chance to show themselves and for people to get to know then and partly for axl to do whatever he needs to do to allow him to sing like that on a consistent basis.

Rabia
Rabia

Axl's vocals have been very strong since the start of the 2010 tour and he's been getting on top of his game. Here is what he sounds like even when he's battling Bronchitis. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Loud and clear enough, isnt he?

The other band members arent nameless drones- most of them have been in Guns N Roses 10 years or more- hardly a "new lineup". Many of them have co-written the songs for Chinese Democracy with Axl and help decide the setlist. I don't see why the solos should be labelled a "mishmash"- these are artists with rich, diverse backgrounds and that is reflected in the variety of solos. In my opinion, this is a great strength not a weakness for GN'R. 

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