in Oslo Spektrum, Oslo, Norway, June 2, 2010

Photo by Karolina E. Piwko

All photos by Karolina E. Piwko

Danko Jones

Danko Jones opened the festivities this night. The band was definitely the right band for the job, and with forty-five minutes of energetic Hard Rock they got the crowd warmed-up for the main act. Too bad though that the crowd was kept waiting for them for much longer than necessary, though for experienced concert goers who’ve lived with this crap; that was to be expected. The crowd in Oslo was blessed with a band “only” arriving one hour late. A couple of days earlier the band arrived two hours late for their concert in Bergen. Fortunately the band played for two hours and twenty minutes, so the crowd got the amount of music they paid for.

Guns N’ Roses

Photo by Karolina E. Piwko

Guns N’ Roses entered the stage with a bang and lots of fireworks and that pretty much sums up the show. It might never have been this much fireworks and confetti at a concert ever before. There were so much fireworks it was almost ridiculous, but it certainly fits the band’s idea of a grandiose show. Frontman Axl Rose seemed a bit rusty to begin with. Throughout the entire concert he struggle with long and demanding vocal lines and skipped a few lines to catch his breath. Maybe he’s a bit out of shape? He also set up his own Spinal Tap moment when someone threw a Swedish flag up on the stage, and he wrapped himself in the flag and danced around a bit. That doesn’t sit well with a Norwegian audience. Maybe he needs to memorize flags for his next tour?

The sound at the venue was pretty bad, both for Danko Jones, and for Guns N’ Roses. Rose even had to ask the band to start over with the song “This I Love” because he didn’t “hear shit.” The bass frequencies were incredibly enhanced and this caused the guitar solos (at least for the first part of the set) and the vocals to drown a bit at times. This was quite obvious during Richard Fortus’ guitar solo spot. One thing about the solo spots is that this time around the whole band plays underneath the guitarists; unlike they did during their last visit to Europe some four years ago. Fortus, who had the first spot, played some shredding solos on top of an interesting and Heavy Metal take on the James Bond theme. Too bad that the solo was drowned out so that the crowd couldn’t hear what he was playing.

Photo by Karolina E. Piwko

DJ Ashba’s solo spot seemed to fit in more with the Guns N’ Roses concept, and he also played what used to be Slash’s signature solos like “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and “Sweet Child O’Mine.” Fortus however tried to make the solos he played his own by dragging out a few tones here and there. That really doesn’t work with this material. Everyone in the crowd knows almost every vocal line and every note in every guitar solo, and you don’t want to mess with that. The third guitarist, Rob Thal, had a great Heavy Metal version of the “Pink Panther Theme” which was a fun thing to do in the middle of the set.

Photo by Karolina E. Piwko

At the end of “November Rain” the band seemed to never want to end the song, and jerked around a bit. Axl even started pounding his fist down at the piano and laughed. This and the general mood onstage seem to convey that the band has fun onstage, and that the mood is transmitted to the crowd as well. Still the band struggles to find the chemistry of a great band on stage. Axl Rose seems secure enough, but the rest of the band doesn’t share the same confidence. The setlist contained lots of great songs, but maybe they could have switched one of the ballads from Chinese Democracy with for instance “Don’t Cry” or something else from the two Use Your Illusions albums. They could even have skipped a few of the many unnecessary solo spots. Five solo spots are far too many no matter what. Two of the four songs played off the Use Your Illusions albums were covers, and the “new” version of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” was a sad performance, both from the band and from Axl, who seemed really tired.

Photo by Karolina E. Piwko

The band that started out as a five piece is now an eight man band. It seems as though the release of Chinese Democracy has enabled the band to create a more thorough concept on stage and that helps the band seem more like a unity than they did four years ago. But unfortunately, this band is still a shadow of what it once was.

Photo by Karolina E. Piwko

Guns N’ Roses Setlist

Chinese Democracy / Welcome To The Jungle / It’s So Easy / Mr. Brownstone / Guitar solo: Richard Fortus / Live And Let Die / Sorry / This I Love / Rocket Queen / Piano solo: Dizzy Reed / Street Of Dreams / You Could Be Mine / Guitar solo: DJ Ashba / Sweet Child O Mine / Piano solo: Axl Rose / November Rain / Guitar solo: Ron Thal (Pink Panther Theme) / Knockin’ On Heavens Door / Nightrain / Encore: Madagascar / Better / Paradise City

Guns N’ Roses lineup

Axl Rose – vocals, piano / Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal – guitar / DJ Ashba – guitar / Richard Fortus – guitar / Tommy Stinson – bass / Frank Ferrer – drums / Dizzy Reed – keyboards, piano / Chris Pitman – keyboard

Photo by Karolina E. Piwko


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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