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Guns N’ Roses at Pacific Coliseum

Guns N Roses at Pacific Coliseum photo 2011

Review and photos – Guns N’ Roses at Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, Dec 17 2011

– review by Ria Nevada/photos by Tamara Lee

(Editor’s note: due to the lateness of the show and the Vancouver transit schedule, our reviewer was unable to stay until the end.)

The scent of sweat, beer, and popcorn led me straight to the Pacific Coliseum on Saturday night where Guns N’ Roses were slated to play a (hopefully) hit-filled show. It was obviously a night that the Gen X population of Vancouver had been waiting for. And indeed, the legendary band (well, at this point the only remaining original member in the line up is Axl Rose) tested their fans’ patience; doors opened at 7 p.m., and former GNR bassist Duff McKagan played a concise opening set, but Rose and his new arsenal didn’t make it on stage until 11.

It was apparent that half the room enjoyed killing all that time at the in-house bars. Before even entering the arena, inebriated middle-aged ladies in pleather boots and micro mini skirts with their belligerent moustached boyfriends were being escorted out of the venue by security for getting a little too rowdy at the all-ages show. Fans seemed to be coming in with the “Go big or go home mentality”, much to the chagrin of the countless bouncers in sight. Bag checks and pat-downs were especially thorough at the main entrance, and the rock divas were extremely disappointed to have their huge canisters of Aquanet confiscated.

Guns N Roses at Pacific Coliseum Dec 17 2011 photo

Guns N Roses at Pacific Coliseum Dec 17 2011. Tamara Lee photo

The crowd seemed to be reliving their early ’90s glory as much as Rose. The aging rock star emerged with guns blazing through “Chinese Democracy”, the title track of GNR’s most recent release. Dramatic as ever, the band performed backed with images of a crying Asian baby on large screens, pyrotechnics synchronized with Frank Ferrer‘s drumming lit the stage, and the trio of Ron Bumblefoot Thal, DJ Ashba, and Richard Fortus stole the show with screaming guitar solos. In fact, the most surprising and amusing point of the evening was when these three amigos busted out a rock rendition of Henry Mancini‘s Pink Panther theme.

Guns N Roses at Pacific Coliseum photo

Guns N Roses at Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, Dec 17 2011. Tamara Lee photo

Even with their mad skills, though, the show still felt a little lacklustre without the presence of the guitar god that is Slash. It was bittersweet hearing the seminal solos on “Welcome to the Jungle”, “November Rain” and “Sweet Child of Mine” without the frizzy haired man himself. That being said, the new formation of Guns N’ Roses played each classic with gusto, and even as the crowd energy started to waiver at the 90-minute mark, Rose and company just kept on chugging through.

Fashion-wise, time has stood still for Rose – he still lives in the days where flared jeans, leather jackets and fanciful hats are the picture of sex appeal. I was just relieved that he got over his beach braids phase. He’s received criticism for being a caricature of himself, but for a man pushing 50 and past his Appetite for Destruction prime, he sure can hit those notes, sway those hips and slide on stage like it was 1987. Or 2007.

More Guns N’ Roses photos:

8 responses to “Guns N’ Roses at Pacific Coliseum

  1. 9 years ago  

    Lame review. They fucking killed it & Axl’s 90’s thin. U didn’t even mention Duff & Roses.

  2. 9 years ago  

    Maybe they killed it, but they did play Chinese Democracy songs, so there you go. I should also mention that Ria doesn’t say Axl’s not ’90s thin, but I think I referred to him as “puffy” (based on the pics) in a tweet.

  3. 9 years ago  

    You’re review is actually good, but for me Axl looks phenomenal he’s lost weight definitely but when you brought Slash in… I’m sorry but that made you look extremely unprofessional, he is not part of GnR now and has not been for over 15 years, it was unnecessary… The current lineup is freaking brilliant and they have so much chemestry, I wish people would just stop wishing for the old lineup and give a chance and appreciate the “awesomeness” of this lineup after so much hardwork.

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  5. 9 years ago  

    Yes…When you brought Slash in, I almost fell asleep. BIG YAWN!!!

    Weird, in all this lamenting for the “Old Guns” Izzy Stradlin is never mentioned! After all, he co-wrote most of the hits with Rose and was the backbone of the song writing and guitars that made this band HUGE! Slash added “fluff” and solos to the meat and potatoes hard rock songs we all know and love.

    Slash is constantly on tour in some sort of band, could you not catch his show at those times?

    Great pics though!

  6. 9 years ago  

    Apologies C,

    Sometimes a few details are overlooked when trying to capture the bigger picture of the evening.

    Hi Liza!

    It was definitely an enjoyable show, and there’s no doubting that the new guys are amazing musicians – in terms of their charisma and especially their technique. Those solos were insane weren’t they?! Perhaps my wording wasn’t as clear as I’d hoped, but it was not my intention to knock these “new” guys’ or Axl Rose’s talents. But the truth of the matter is, Slash is an ICON and was a pivotal member of GNR. Heck, he’s been immortalized at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum! There is just a presence about him that unfortunately for the new guys, can never be replaced. That is simply my opinion, whatever it’s worth.

  7. 9 years ago  

    Perhaps it might have been better with Slash, although personally I really enjoyed the fact that there were 3 ‘lead’ guitarists to entertain the fans instead of 1.

    The review spends half the time talking about what people were wearing or what they looked like. I went to the show purely for the music. And it was one of the best arena rock shows I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t really care who ‘isn’t’ in the band. The 7 people who were in the band blew us all away.

  8. 9 years ago  

    > Weird, in all this lamenting for the “Old Guns”

    Wait, what? We’re lamenting for the “Old Guns?”

    I thought we were just hoping they’d fade into the dustbin of history until some decent band did a cover of Paradise City.

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