Sometimes with Axl Rose, all you need is just a little patience. Other times, you need a little more than a little. Guns n' Roses' Wednesday night concert in Winnipeg, Canada — their first North American date (and fifth show overall) since the release of Chinese Democracy in 2008 — was, thankfully, a case of the former.
After making the world wait nearly a generation for his sixth studio album, and then keeping fans on hold for more than a year for a tour, Rose wasted little time getting down to business in the Great White North. The frontman and his septet took the stage shortly after 10:40 p.m. — practically a matinee for the notorious Rose. And once they got down to business, they certainly made up for any lost time, treating 7,500 fans at the city's MTS Centre to a high-energy three-hour marathon of new material and classic G n' R hits.
Following the basic template laid out on the band's Asian dates in December, they kicked open the doors with the title cut from Chinese Democracy, followed by the one-two-three punch of "Welcome to the Jungle," "It's So Easy" and "Mr. Brownstone" from 1987's Appetite for Destruction. From the moment Rose opened his mouth to scream, "You know where you are? You're in the jungle, baybeeee!" it was clear his corroded air-raid siren of a voice had lost little of its range, rage or power. Likewise, the rest of the band — guitarists Richard Fortus, Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and DJ Ashba, keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman, drummer Frank Ferrer and bassist Tommy Stinson (formerly of The Replacements) — hit the ground running, tearing through most of Appetite and Democracy, with a few cuts from the 1991 Use Your Illusion albums (including covers of "Live and Let Die" and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door") sprinkled in for good measure.
Although he appeared to be in good spirits, between songs Rose kept fairly quiet, offering little beyond the usual thank-yous and how-is-everybody banter. In fact, for a guy who wields such a commanding musical presence, he spent much of the evening shining the spotlight on his bandmates, bolting from the stage during every instrumental break and introducing nearly every player for a solo segment (best of the bunch: Stinson's suitably snotty bash â€™nâ€™ pop version of the Who's "My Generation"). Rose also posted a backstage photo on his Twitter, and wrote, "Excited 2 get this rolling. In r off time we'll b helping Mounties flush out Al Qaeda. (What's that aboot, Eh? jk)" in one of his first three tweets since the new year began.
The gigantic three-runway black stage and high-tech production — which included all the requisite video screens, moving light trusses, pyro, percussion bombs and confetti cannons — also commanded plenty of attention. But not enough to overshadow Rose's and co.'s triumphant return to North America. Now, you just have to wait for them to make it to the States. All you need is just a little ... well, you know.
"Welcome to the Jungle"
"It's So Easy"
Richard Fortus Spotlight
"Live and Let Die"
"If the World"
Dizzy Reed Solo
"Street of Dreams"
"You Could Be Mine"
DJ Ashba Spotlight
"Sweet Child o' Mine"
Axl Rose Piano Solo
"O Canada" / "Pink Panther" (Bumblefoot Spotlight)
"Out Ta Get Me"
"Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
"This I Love"
Frank Ferrer Drum Solo
"My Generation" (Tommy Stinson Spotlight)
To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here
MUSIC 9 Classic Devo Videos
OLYMPICS 18 Epic Opening Ceremonies