I realize that, for whatever reason, Axl Rose prefers to take the stage at a later hour than most performers. If we lived in a perfect world, where everyone could loll about in bed until nine or ten in the morning, only work one job - and that job a nice easy one, then it wouldn't be of any consequence whatever time Axl chose to stroll on stage. It would just be part of the fun for all of the well rested patrons. Regrettably for the masses of people who attend concerts and pay exorbitant prices for tickets to these events, a job requiring said person to get up around six or seven in the morning is in order. A performer that goes on stage at eleven o'clock seems to be out of touch with this reality. (Not to mention the plight of the poor people working concessions - they don't even have the pleasure of enjoying the show, and for many of them selling beer and tee shirts is only a part time job to supplement the regular job they'll be showing up for somewhere at eight in the morning.) I don't think Axl is the jerk the media insists on portraying him as, but this kind of insensitive behavior doesn't do anything to lessen that image.
Okay, that's all the negative I have to say. Axl Rose is still a force to contend with on the concert stage. There is a quality about him that simply demands your transfixed attention and admiration. I'm not going to comment on the silly fact that he no longer looks twenty five, as some people seem to be mired down in. For those people, perhaps an episode of "Project Runway" would be more to your liking than a rock concert. Think about it. Axl still has "It", that undefinable quality that so many performers try to project, yet so few really possess. As a front man Axl is as good as they come - and really, when has it ever been anyone other than the front man that people come to see? I'm sick to the vomiting point of people whining about "No Slash, No Duff, no 1980's or "90's", but in truth if any of these critics would bother to give the current line up of fine musicians the respect they deserve - Slash and the rest would never be missed. The band accompanying Axl does an amazing job, and their solo performances are stellar. None of them deserve the disrespect "fans" routinely heap at their feet. If you close your eyes for a short while, you'll realize this is the finest line up of GNR ever performing. Bands are ever evolving organisms, like life in general. Deal with it.
GNR played for three amazing hours, and they all played very, very well. Axl's voice was what I expected to hear, and it was as strong and insistent as ever. I literally got goose bumps a few times. As I said before, if the size of Axl's jeans is more interesting to you than his legendary voice, perhaps a night of insipid television would be more to your liking, and you should settle yourself into the old lounge chair and consider your own jean size.
Axl himself seemed the most gracious I've ever known him to be. Gone was the, sometimes pointless, ranting and posturing, and in it's place was the professionalism of a seasoned entertainer with obvious affection for his audience. Axl endeavored to please his crowd, yet he still maintained his legendary mystique.
If you have an opportunity to see GNR at some point on their tour, I heartily urge you to go. Axl Rose still understands what rock and roll's about, and knows how to deliver it.