Written By Nathan Holt
Photo By Nathan Holt

Guns N’ Roses @ The Joint at the Hard Rock Casino, Las Vegas NV 11/2/12

Guns N’ Roses have set up a string of dates in one of the most fitting cities around: Las Vegas. The residency at The Joint, a venue at The Hard Rock Casino off of the famous Las Vegas strip, began on October 31st and will stretch until November 24th. The residency entitled “Appetite For Democracy” showcases music spanning from their first album Appetite for Destruction to the most recent album, Chinese Democracy. So does the show justify a trip to Sin City?

Even though GNR has a tendency of starting late, the show only began about twenty minutes behind schedule with local Las Vegas band 333 opening for GNR. Playing a fifty minute set, the band played a decent mix of their own material as well as a few covers songs by the like AC/DC and Ozzy Osbourne to name a few. While many people just wanted GNR to come on, the band did a great job keeping the audience happy.

Guns N’ Roses finally took the stage a little behind schedule with an intro video modeled after the original Appetite for Destruction cover with a Las Vegas sign in the background. With guitarist DJ Ashba rising on a podium behind the band, the band kicked off their set with a small explosion of sparks and the first song “Chinese Democracy.” With other pyrotechnics throughout the show, it gave some nice surprises for the audience.

One such surprise was the stage that was designed for the residency. With catwalks on either side of the stage that went out and above the crowd, it gave the crowd an interesting view of the band members. This also complimented the overall feel, giving it a shared connection between their last club tour, while still bringing along every aspect of their arena shows without the large size. Three LED screens were also set up that displayed visuals and close-up shots taken by a camera crew.

Just like in their shows last year, the band interlaced member introductions with solos and cover songs like Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter,” Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” and “Mi Amor.” Speaking of cover songs, the setlist had quite a few others too like a Wings cover of “Live and Let Die,” bassist Tommy Stinson’s own “Motivation,” guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal’s “Glad To Be Here,” Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down,” AC/DC’s “Riff Raff” and Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”

Pretty much all the classics were included: “Welcome to the Jungle,” “It’s So Easy,” “Mr. Brownstone,” “Estranged,” “Rocket Queen,” “You Could Be Mine,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Don’t Cry,” “Civil War” and “Patience.” Besides “Chinese Democracy,” there were only four songs off their most recent album which included were “This I Love,” “Better,” “Street of Dreams” and “Madagascar.” Being a show that stretched across so many albums, a couple surprise plays of the songs “Used to Love Her” and “Out Ta Get Me” were thrown into the setlist.

Compared to the band’s previous opening night, the addition of a couple of songs was a welcome sight with the band telling everyone that they were going to try to make each show a little different. The band seemed relaxed, flowing from one song to the next while joking with each other on stage between songs. One of the biggest surprises came after “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2,” when Axl said “Liftoff!” the band began to play “November Rain” and his piano floated into the air over the crowd for the entirety of the song. A mentionable shower of sparks also poured down during the solo of the song.

With the first set coming to an end with the song “Nightrain,” the band returned for “Madagascar.” Wrapping up with the classic “Paradise City,” sparks and pyrotechnics exploded on-stage and confetti was shot into the eager crowd. With the band almost playing an entire month in one spot, fans should get plenty of chances to partake in Guns N’ Roses. The only question is: How will your show unfold?

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