Guns N Roses- Live Era Ď87-í93
Guns N Roses were easily the most talked about rock band in the 80ís. Combining powerful blues and sleazy rock n roll, the Guns perfectly fit the bill for dirty rock stars. Between Axl Roseís high pitched wailing, Slashís manic riffs and screaming solos, and an in-the-pocket rhythm section, GNR were called the Led Zeppelin of their time. This is yet another compilation which is tastefully done instrumentally and (some tracks) vocally. This ďlive" production has itís imperfections though. The vocals can get incredibly annoying on some songs, while others drag on far too long. This is a double album, and for the most part, very good (If you like GNR). Itís 22 songs, so instead of my normal run through of the album, Iíll give you my thoughts on the highlights and low points of each disc. Enjoy. By the way, the numbers next to the songs are the track numbers on the CD, so if you get confused, look at the track list. My ranks are measured in the :thumb: for highlights and :upset: for low points. The more thumbs, the better. The more upsets, the worse. Both are a maximum of 5. Enjoy!!!
Axl Rose- Vocals
Izzy Stradlin- Rhythm Guitar
Slash- Lead Guitar
Duff McKagan- Bass
Steven Adler/ Matt Sorum- Percussion
1) Night Train- Very good opener for the album. Everything about this particular performance is good. From the catchy intro riffs to that pounding bassline, to the screaming courtesy of Axl. The solos are tastefully done, with both Izzyís and Slashís dueling for spotlight with their melodic runs and soaring highs. The outro is yet again awesome, with Axl losing his mind as he wails ďIím on the Nightrain!" as Slash backs him up with a fiercely rocking guitar solo. Way to kick things off!
2) Mr. Brownstone- A tad longer than the recording, mostly for the extended intro with the drums. As soon as the drums kick in, you can feel the buildup into that awesome rock riff. Axlís vocals are quite strong on this track, especially compared to the other songs on this disc. The verseís are a little rushed though, because Axl feels the need to add profanity to them, but it doesnít subtract from the song at all. The choruses are good, and the overall groove is present throughout the entire song. Slash nails his solo with aplomb, taking names with his Les Paul. Overall one of the better tracks here.
11) November Rain- With the exception of the mindless keyboard soloing for the first three minutes (which we couldíve done without), this is probably the best track on Disc 1. The piano is excellent, and so is the orchestra, with the cellos and violins giving an exceptional contrast to the guitar melodies. Axlís voice is actually very soothing and emotional. The song is absolutely beautiful. The guitar solos are wonderful, as Slash pours his heart into his playing, especially on the softer songs here. The bass line stands out on this song a bit, especially during the piano parts. The dramatic outro is exceptional, with a screaming guitar solo, and Axl chanting ĎEverybody needs some time, your not the only one.í Best song on the first disc, without a doubt in my mind.
These Deserve- :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
6) My Michelle- The intro drags on too long, with the arpeggiated guitar line looping at least 6 times before the counter melody bass lick comes in. After the riff comes in, Axl comes in with an atrocious vocal performance. I love the recording to death, but his voice is so nasal and whiny, itís annoying. I canít stand to listen to this track because the voices get to me to much. Musically, nothing has changed from the recording, with the same riffs, and solo. Nothing spectacular, or different for that matter. Youíll agree with me if you heard his voice here, and itís very similar, but not as bad on Welcome to the Jungle.
9) Patience- From the get go, you will get fed up with this version of Patience. From the second he says the name of the song, the audience starts singing along word for word. They sing it incredibly LOUD
and it doesnít stop throughout the entire duration of the song, with the exception of the solo, where they go from singing to an overwhelming cheer. You canít hear the band playing, thatís how obnoxious this audience is. It doesnít stop there. After the actual song comes to a halt, the band feels the need to give an incredibly repetitive instrumental that drags on for a good two minutes. The drums play some cool fills, which is the most redeeming part of the song.
Those 2 Deserve- :upset: :upset: :upset: :upset:
Disc 1 Overall: With a few exceptional performances and some annoying vocals on some songs, and others where the audience preaches suicide. With the combination of the good, bad, and the ugly (patience) Disc 1 gets a [3.5/5]
Disc 2 Highlights
6) Rocket Queen- One of my favorite Guns N Roses songs, and this extended version is awesome. It starts off with Duff talking and before you know it, the drums kick in to start the groove. Duff plays that awesome funky line that sounds as if he almost slapped it. The main riff kicks in, but itís funkier because Slash hasnít joined yet. Itís still only Duff and Steven giving you an energetic groove. Itís nice to see Duff getting some attention for once. Slash joins and Axl comes in with some good vocal performance. The choruses are quite strong. The added bonus in this song is Slashís two-and-a-half minute solo. He uses a Ďtalkingí effect that is quite reminiscent of the Peter Frampton effect where the guitar sounds like itís almost talking. I love the breakdownís lyrics and the guitar melodies that follow it. One of the best songs on the CD.
8) Knockiní On Heavenís Door- Once again, a much better take on an already amazing song. From that intro salvo to the pretty, subtle verses. This Bob Dylan cover is amazing live, with the guitar solos being exceptionally beautiful, particularly the latter of the two. The plus is that there is no annoying phone call in the interlude. Whatís pretty cool is that Axl gets the crowd hyped up when he tells them to sing along with the background singers after he sings the chorus. The crowd responds quite well. Another cool part is where the band just breaks into a reggae groove jam, with tropical guitar lines and some bottom-heavy bass. Itís pretty random, but it sounds quite cool. I like it. Directly afterwards, Axl and the crowd continue to duel on the chorus, and when he says, ďLetís make this one reach the heavens" the crowd just goes crazy. This was awesome.
10) Estranged- My favorite power-ballad from GNR. The opening is kinda creepy as the audience cheers when Axl mentions suicide. But the song kicks in and the awesomeness starts. Unlike the recording, where the opening whispers are really depressing, in this he actually has some slightly melodic attributes, with his voice ringing with emotion. The guitar melodies kick arse with a bluesy feel to them. The structure of the songs seems like a bunch of verses and breakdowns, but that doesnít subtract at all from the song. The piano solo is pretty, using dynamics tastefully, as it skips from mellow to dramatic several times, before a powerful verse comes in and before you know it, a series of guitar solos kick into gear and drive the song to new heights. The solos are breathtaking. Both have a unique, distinct sound that border between soulful, blues, and hard rock. Itís amazing. Axlís heartfelt lyrics end this 10 minute epic blues ballad. Best song on Use Your Illusion II in my honest opinion.
All 3 Deserve- :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
Disc 2 Low Points :upset:
7) Sweet Child O Mine- As this epic kicks in, you feel optimistic. Unfortunately, a number of flaws takes the happiness back. The music is perfect, note for note, but the feel is kinda taken away by the upeat tempo change. It goes from Moderato to Allegro. The upbeat change is unnecessary. Axlís voice is also incredibly annoying on this one. Instead of the high-pitched whining we experienced on My Michelle, his throaty, raspy voice just doesnít fit the bill. Itís almost Janis Joplinís reincarnation in a man. The solo is top-notch, but afterwards, they hold the final note a disastrous length that just ruins the song. Thatís sad for such a great song.
11) Paradise City- Once again, same problem as above. Great music, with a horrible vocal performance. Axl seems to be rushing, out of breath, and barely keeping up with the music. His voice sounds as raspy as Muddy Waters and the little bits of extra lyrics after the verses donít add much to the energy either. Youíll also notice that this is the first time that the background singers take up a lot of the audio space during the choruses. It gets quite annoying. The music is yet again, flawless, but the vocals donít do the music justice.
These 2 deserve- :upset: :upset: :upset: and Ĺ.
Disc 2 Overall: Much better than Disc 1. The little additions to the songs are for the most part, cool, with a few exceptions here and there. Gets a [4/5]
+Music is really good
+Great guitar work
+Added grooves work well in some songs
- Voices are really annoying sometimes
- Backup singers can get annoying
- Some stuff drags on too long
- Instrumentals are sometimes crappy
- Obnoxious crowds
Album Overall: A pretty good album overall. Some stuff is incredible, while some stuff is unbearable, and others are just solid songs. Averaged with a 3.5 and a 4 give it a 3.75. But I feel generous today, so itís going to be [4/5].
Feedback is welcomed! :smash: