It’s no secret that Axl is hardly Mr. Punctuality to his rabid online fan base. In fact it’s a topic that’s been debated to death: Should we just get over it and accept it as part of the package? Does Axl “owe” us anything, including respect to paying fans? As time goes on I tend to place a higher value on my time, and the money I spend. So yes I do grumble after waiting an hour and a half for a start time. You would think an arena full of booing fans isn’t necessarily the way to build repeat customers. But let’s be honest: Axl doesn’t give a shit if you wait, if you boo or even if you leave. He comes on stage when he’s good and goddamned ready, so take it or leave it.
The thing though, something I’m sure he’s acutely aware of, is that when he comes on stage all is forgiven. Last night was no exception; in fact it may have been the strongest performance I’ve seen in my 20+ years following this band. I won’t lie, my heart sank watching the abysmal Rio performance a few weeks ago and I was concerned for future shows including mine. But last night everything was top notch: Axl’s vocals, band cohesiveness and most importantly energy. I’ll also hand it to DJ, while he has not necessarily won me over yet, he gets an A plus for crowd interaction. The guy knows how to work it.
In short, Friday night’s crowd was given a three hour scorcher, a total fucking bell ringer than would be impossible to leave anybody unhappy. With a fairly eclectic set list the crowd was appreciative and receptive to songs old and new. (I do wonder however, with such a large bank of songs to pull from, why they still include AC/DC covers in their shows? That being said Axl’s vocals really seem to shine on older styled rock songs such as Riff Raff, so I certainly won’t complain.)
The night also had its fair share of ups and downs all of which were awesome in their own way: An almost immediate handshake with Axl during Chinese Democracy, a drunken fan who puked on the back of my jacket, yet another who provided me with a plastic bag to wrap said jacket (thank you whoever you are), Ron handing me a guitar pick whilst playing a solo, a 300cc brained twenty something who picked a fight with my wife (here’s a hint, pick a fight with a man not a woman who could be your Mom), a handshake with what appeared to be a completely bewildered Jarmo which was totally hilarious to me (please firm up that handshake though bro.) 300 cc brain also completely leveled his bimbo sidekick in an attempt to catch Frank's drum stick, inadvertently taking her weave off and knocking 35 dollars cash out of her pocket. While this was totally unbeknownst to you (if you are reading), we wanted to thank you for buying us breakfast. We left the weave though.
When it was over at 2:30 I turned to my wife and asked her if it was worth the wait. Her reply without hesitation: Absolutely yes.
I’d have to agree with her.
Thanks for the great show, the completely dysfunctional online fan base, and even the guy who puked on my jacket.