Support: Danko Jones
I love Guns n Roses. Always have and always will….except of course nowadays what counts for Guns is not really Guns. I’m sure that if you are a rock fan then you don’t need telling that these days GNR consist of Axl and a bunch of hired hands; a very talented group of hired hands admittedly, but hired hands nonetheless.
I’ve seen the band many times, including another Dublin show in 2006 with a similar line up to tonight’s (I believe only guitarist DJ Ashba is different to then…he replaces Robin Finck)…They were good, very good in fact, I really enjoyed it. The difference is that on that night he (meaning Axl) turned up on time (a minute early if I remember rightly). Now a lot has been written about Axl and his time keeping, a lot of it exaggerated I’m sure, but in September 2010 the Dublin crowd had heard the news coverage coming out of Reading and Leeds. There were timekeeping issues.
We were in decent sprits to begin with but when an hour went by after the support band (Danko Jones, who were thankfully pretty good...kept the crowd entertained before the 90 minute wait) had left the stage then the restlessness began. Eventually coming on stage at 10.30 the majority of the crowd were pissed off or pissed. Most were both to be honest. It’s no excuse for what happened next but as an out of breath Axl came bounding on stage with the vocals being drowned out by the distorted guitars then it was no surprise that the crowd was angry. A lot of bottles were thrown (or a “plastic cup containing an unknown substance" as MCD said in a statement released the next day. Anyway after 22 minutes Axl had had enough and took the band off stage. The lights came on and we were told by staff that they wouldn't be coming back on and that we should contact MCD for a refund. At this point myself and my mate Alan had decided that we would go to the pub. As we were sipping our third pint we got word that they had indeed reappeared (half an hour after leaving the stage) and played a full set to a half empty arena. Finishing the set for contractual reasons was probably Axl’s only choice. I feel sorry for those that had already left but had actually wanted to see them. Some were just outside but were not allowed back in. One big fuck up quite frankly.
I would never throw stuff at anybody on a stage, it’s silly, stupid and could also be dangerous but at the same time I could understand the frustration from the crowd. Having waited for hours on a week night (some people had kids and or work to attend to) for a band that wasn’t really the band that was printed on the ticket (I mean come on Guns n Roses haven’t been Guns n Roses since the early ‘90s) then I could completely see why people got angry. The most annoying thing for me was that the teenagers in the crowd that night, the kids that idolise him, only got to see shit Axl. That is all they got to experience not the real thing. Shame.
I left the arena feeling let down by a musical hero of mine but incredibly I also felt great sympathy for him. I really, really felt sorry for him. Here was a man who clearly wasn’t the same man as from twenty years before. I understand that not everyone is lucky enough to keep their health but having been used to seeing Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Bono and Jon Bon Jovi running around a stage then I guess I just expected that Axl would still be up to it. Here’s the thing though. A month later they played the O2 in London and blew everyone away. Axl was great form and was even joined by Duff on stage.
I love and get pissed off by the guy in equal measures. Therein lays the enigma that is Axl Rose, one of rocks finest front men.
Ticket: September 1st 2010
Ticket Price: €71.70