GUNS N’ ROSES – Appetite For Democracy
July 31, 2014, 12 months ago
Filmed on November 21st, 2012, as part of the Guns N’ Roses residency at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Appetite For Democracy is stickered as the “first GNR concert film since 1992.” While that much is true, the only remaining members from that era’s lineup are vocalist Axl Rose and keyboardist Dizzy Reed. The band’s roster has since been overhauled completely, dividing fans as to whether or not this really constitutes Guns N’ Roses – or is it just the Axl Rose solo project under a cash-generating moniker? Arguments aside, this eye-popping 3D Blu-Ray, or standard DVD, provides nearly three hours of expertly filmed documentation. The band sounds great; but a third guitarist and second keyboard player are entirely unnecessary. Axl’s voice has been inconsistent since day one, and it’s no different this time around. However, he really hits his stride on “Estranged”, which is an absolute pleasure to hear live. The formerly combative frontman is decked out in jackets, sunglasses, and so many different chapeaus it makes him seem like poster-boy for the hat of the month club. After audience pleaser “Rocket Queen”, guitarist Richard Fortus – who bears a striking onstage resemblance to Izzy Stradlin – lays down an unnecessary solo. A temporary reprieve comes in the form of “Live And Let Die”, but then GN’R play five new era songs in a row, absolutely killing the set’s momentum. Bassist Tommy Stinson singing his solo tune “Motivation” comes across as a sad attempt at replicating Duff McKagan belting out The Misfits’ “Attitude”. “You Could Be Mine” finally gets the crowd excited again, followed by a perfectly executed “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. Covering “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)”, leading into “November Rain” was a poor decision as Axl sounds rough on the Pink Floyd classic. Then guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal takes lead vocals on his own track “Objectify” – completely unjustified. Another Guns song such as “Out Ta Get Me” or “Dead Horse” would have been much better suited. A surprise cover of “The Seeker” by The Who is a welcome treat, but “Used To Love Her” is nothing more than a train wreck. Prolonged intros to “Patience” and “Paradise City” are irritating, especially because it’s not Slash noodling away on the guitar. Even with all his breaks during the show, Axl’s throat is completely shot by the end of the concert. Bonus footage comes in the form of a silent slideshow – how hard would it have been to put this to music, really? Viewers also get interviews with Dizzy Reed, Tommy Stinson, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and DJ Ashba. They’re mildly interesting but let’s be honest, everyone wants to see an Axl interview and it’s nowhere to be found; a 12-page booklet is included though.