at Oslo Spektrum, Norway, June 28, 2006

Axl & Co. entered the stage only 1.5 hours later than officially scheduled. That’s not too bad. After all, waiting for Axl, wondering if he will show up at all, adds to the experience of being at a Guns N’ Roses concert. Waiting, for years, for the new album, Chinese Democracy, has also become a part of the game. What’s much worse to deal with is the inefficiency on the stage during the gig. More on this later…

Guns N’ Roses has a stunning repertoire to build their live set upon — mostly thanks to their 1987 release, Appetite For Destruction, from which nine of the album’s twelve tracks were played. That’s half of the evening’s songs. Appetite For Destruction … don’t argue with anyone who says it should be on the top 20 list of the most important Rock albums of all time. They are probably right.


So, Axl & Co. sure know how to make the audience at the sold out Oslo Spektrum happy when they open the ball with “Welcome To The Jungle,” “It’s So Easy,” and “Mr. Brownstone.” Pure pleasure.

Axl was in a very good mood, and he both sounded and looked found of, and pleased with, his audience. Even though he had to visit a Swedish jail the previous night, he smiled, talked to the crowd (his “friends”), and made jokes. On top of this, after a rather short “Live And Let Die,” Axl called upon the crowd on the floor to move four steps back, “so no one in the front gets crushed.” Another nice side of Axl that the media tends not to focus upon.


However, no one else on the stage said a single word. They are just the band. That’s a shame … Guns N’ Roses 2006: Axl Rose … and just a band. You can’t help it, you really miss Slash up there … and Duff, Adler, Izzy, Sorum … whomever, even Clarke. The guys in the G N’ R band today are frustratingly anonymous (… even though one of the three guitarists, Ron Thal, has released as many as seven albums). Despite the fact that not many in the audience know these guys, this does not, unfortunately, prevent Axl from giving them a heap of chances to get the spotlight for themselves.

There were way too many long solos performed during the show (…guitar, drums, piano, guitar, and even more guitar). It didn’t help that longer sections from “Take On Me” (by Norway’s own A-Ha) or “Beautiful” (Christina Aguilera) got, humorously, intervened in a couple of the solos — it just got to be too much.

The aforementioned inefficiency also found place in between a lot of the songs. Several times members of the seven-piece band were just jamming along in Free-Jazz Land while some kind of minor changeover was made on the stage, or while Axl were heading backstage for a moment. To let Dizzy Reed (of G N’ R’s 90s fame) get a longer (partly Jazz-oriented) piano section shouldn’t be too hard to justify, but beside this … again, too much.


What about the new songs then? Axl & Co played five of them. Hearing them for the first time -– live -– it’s hard to make a judgement. However, “Better” was surprisingly heavy. The riff and parts of the vocal arrangements hinted towards Metal. For “The Blues,” a ballad, Axl had definitely not made it easy for himself, as the vocal arrangements on this one forced him to scream like never before. On “There Was A Time (T.W.A.T.),” Axl revealed his darker and more serious sides — the song’s retrospective lyrics got visual company by images of Martin Luther King on the screen behind him.


However, besides the Appetite material, there were plenty of other highlights. “You Could Be Mine” was a killer, and was probably the only song performed this night that actually suited three guitarists. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” with a nice little Reggae feel, was very welcomed by the audience, as well. “November Rain” provided too, not surprisingly, big grins on most faces in the crowd — even though this was a classic that really, really, really made you wish Slash was doing the guitar work.

Anyway, even though the production makes you miss some original members, Axl did his best to work on the crowd the whole evening. He sang surprisingly well (thanks to oxygen support backstage?), and he has paid for fireworks and explosives enough to make things bombastic.


On “Sweet Child Of Mine” (with one of the 80s most significant signature Rock & Roll riffs), “Nightrain,” and “Rocket Queen,” Axl proved that he really does belong to the stage …and to these songs. “Patience,” and the last encore, “Paradise City,” also reminds everybody of how Guns N’ Roses once used to be a band no one (with a radio) could escape.

With hits like these, the original members could have toured the planet forever. Too sad that the present Guns N’ Roses line-up only holds one true legend — it could have been a fistful.


Welcome To The Jungle
It’s So Easy
Mr. Brownstone
Live And Let Die
Sweet Child O’Mine
Better *
The Blues *
You Could Be Mine
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Out To Get Me
November Rain
Rocket Queen
I.R.S. *


Chinese Democracy *
My Michelle
There Was A Time (T.W.A. T.) *
Paradise City

* New songs

“Don’t Cry” was strangely enough left out of the set, and was only used as a foundation for one of the way too many guitar solos.


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