Just back from Oklahoma, here's my review.
Band came on stage at 10:40pm and last note was played at 1:45am.
First, I want to say that I've been going to concerts for decades and have seen dozens of shows. All the big names and some bands that probably only a few on this board have heard of. Last night's show in Oklahoma was the best concert I have ever seen. Period. The set list was phenomenal, they played for more than 3 hours (who does that today?), the sound mix was excellent, and Axl's vocals were strong and clear. Just a phenomenal experience all the way around. Thanks to an excellent sound system and proper mixing the songs were very powerful, even This I Love which as I previously indicated is not one of my favorites. But last night it sounded great. Axl was super energetic, running around like it was 1991. He did not leave the stage as often as in Dallas (11/5/11) and was not gone as long. He was dancing around and having a great time.
The band played all the usual songs from this leg of the tour. I did not try to keep track, I just wanted to enjoy. But the best thing about the show was the encore--6 songs! I may have the order incorrect but it basically was:
What a treat!
I called the wife from Oklahoma this morning and told her not to look for me for a while, I had decided to not come home and just follow the band around for a few weeks. I was joking of course. But I wish that I could.
The organization of the concert: This has nothing to do with Guns, but OU had the weirdest "organization" (if you can call it that) that I ever saw.
I arrived at the venue at about 9pm. I parked and started walking to the entrance when I saw a huge long line, maybe 2000 people. I asked what it was and they said it was the line to get in. So we all waited, advancing a few steps every couple of minutes. After about 25 minutes of this (it was cold!) we were getting toward the front (frontish) and a university representative said that people with tickets could go to the side of the building (another line) and enter there. So the front main entrance was apparently will call only. It was not marked and only that one person at the front of the line was giving out this information. Why didn't she walk up and down the line? Or why did the university not hire a whole other person to have 2, or even 3 (!) people who would communicate this information? Given the enormous number of police and security inside the venue they easily could have spared one person to go outside so that thousands would not stand in line for no reason for a long time. Then on the side of the building where we were to enter there was again a huge line, but in fact there were multiple entry points but no one was there to tell concert-goers. Overall, it was very strange. I finally got inside and seated about 9:45. I never had an experience like that. Caught a few numbers by the opening band but that was fine with me since I did not think much of them.
Met some nice people in line and enjoyed listening to the uninformed rumors of the numb and naive. "They'll going to play all of CD." It was fun.
Another annoyance: they charged me twice for parking. Parking was included in the overall ticket price when I bought online, but when I got to the parking lot the guy said you have to have a little green ticket. I told him I bought online and the price included parking (like in Dallas) but he said no green ticket, no entry. So I had to pay for parking again, $10. Oh well, what are you going to do?
Beer sales: no problems. There had been rumors that you couldn't buy beer inside the venue. But I saw many neon signs that were permanent fixtures on the walls next to food vendors so that rumor was not true.
Axl's interaction with the crowd: not much at all, to be explained below. Only four instances of Axl interacting with the crowd:
1. announcing DJ's birthday (we all sung happy birthday to him).
2. After Maddy and before Shacklers Axl said, "some of you decided to stick around a while." I did not hear the Lady Gaga line but there was something Axl said at one point that I could not hear because of guitars so that may have been it.
3. At end of OTGM, Axl sang "so you can suck me, take that one to heart Oklahoma." Not really an interaction but the first time the entire show he acknowledged being in Oklahoma.
4. At end of concert, he thanked everyone for coming out and said "Hope to see you again." No promise of a return, unlike in Dallas a few days before. Reminded me of the guy who tells his date "I'll call you."
The audience was a major disappointment. Actually, it was pathetic. By the end of the show it was just plain embarrassing to be among the few who remained. I wonder what Axl thought. I know that he noticed.
The venue at full capacity holds, I guessed, about 16,000. Half of it was blocked off for the stage, so capacity would have been 8,000, give or take. At the start of the concert I estimated maybe 7000-7,500 people were in attendance--the pit was 2/3 or 3/4 full; the lower level was full, but the upper level was sparsely populated.
By the time the encore started there were maybe 4000 left, maybe even less. By OTGM, Nice Boys and Paradise there could not have been more than 1000-1200 people in the arena. It was basically empty. The pit was reduced to maybe 300 people, probably less; in the lower level there were scattered people here and there; the upper level was totally empty. At the end of Paradise Axl had to short armed the mike toss into the audience or it would have hit concrete if he had done his usual heave. I know that college students stay up to 2 am to party, so why leave the concert? I guess they were worried about their 8 am classes, and we all know how much OU is a top notch educational institution where studies come first.
Audience.2: This was the first time I saw a concert in a college town venue since, well, I was in college. I expected the crowd to be energetic, even raucous (you should have seen the piles of empty beer cans and bottles lying around outside the venue). The pit was filled with people who basically stood there. This might have been due to the throngs of security who walked through the pit the entire night--why? I expected the college crowd to know the new songs, maybe even more than the old songs. Instead, my impression was that the audience came to hear the "hits" (and especially Sweet Child, the only song for which the crowd actually went wild). The audience was polite and acknowledged the new songs, but were not wildly enthusiastic like I had expected. The audience was much more enthusiastic in Dallas about the new songs.
I loved the show, loved the band, loved the music, loved Axl, loved the whole experience. But there was a disconnect between this phenomenal show and a rather pathetic audience.
As I was lying in bed trying to sleep afterward, my ears ringing, I thought to myself:
a. it is a privilege to see GNR, one of the greatest rock bands of all time.
b. it's a privilege to see such a great show by one of the best front men of all time.
c. It's a privilege to see such a long show, who else plays for 3 hours?
So I just don't get why so many people left early. It was a major disappointment and embarrassment to be among the few who stayed to the end.
Anyway, if anyone in the band reads this review I just want to say thank you for putting on the greatest concert I have ever seen. It was an experience that I will never forget.