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Guns N’ Fucking Roses-Denver, August 2, 2017: Show of a Lifetime


I had a dilemma yesterday morning, as I wasn’t sure what show I was going to see.

I’ve waited for thirty years to see both Guns N’ Roses and Slayer.  Guns N’ Roses was playing at Sports Authority Field at Mile High and Slayer was playing at First Bank Center across town.

After much pacing and after further consideration, I figured that it would be more prudent for me to see G N’ R.

I just heard that same voice in my head; the kind pertaining to relatives who were on the outs: “You know, Jimmy, Aunt Mabel doesn’t have all that much longer on this Earth.  The Good Lord might call her Home this year.”

Of course, it always worked-but only up until my mid-teens.  That’s beside the point.  The point is that I have a pretty good hunch Slayer’s coming back in town at some time in the future; whether or not they will return to Denver for this particular tour, I can’t say. Bassist Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry  King would know that more than I would. However, given GN’R’s turbulent history over the last 32 years, it just seemed to me that I should go cross another band off of the bucket list.

The metal bands I saw in the 1980s were as follows:

Kiss…………………………………………1987 (Crazy, Crazy Nights video shoot)
Kingdom Come……………………….1988
Van Halen……………………………….1988

The 1990s were loaded with more bands, as were the 2000s and this particular decade, from Kiss to Volbeat, to Motley Crue, to Black Sabbath, to Def Leppard, to Anthrax; from Opeth, to Megadeth.

Guns N’ Roses was a special show for me because I never had the opportunity to see them play at the Whiskey in Los Angeles, nor the Country Club in Reseda, California.  Sure it was only Duff McKagen, W. Axl Rose, and Slash, but I didn’t care.

Tune after tune, it was like they never lost it.  Axl can still hit the high notes without his vocals cracking.  Slash bent his notes perfectly and Duff was all over the place.  I remember the No Fucks Given shirt he wore, which would have been a huge problem thirty years ago.

We got sent home from school for wearing shirts like that, but now you find sanitized versions of the same kinds of shirts in Walmart-which makes me want to walk out of an airplane without a parachute in mid-flight, to be quite honest.   It’s not that the objection has become old it’s that it’s become hip.  Just remember that Simpson’s episode when everyone in Springfield began to act like Bart.  The nature of his antisocial behavior lost all meaning.

Coma was a tune that I just couldn’t stop singing out loud, nor was My Michelle.  Patience made me think of a very horrible relationship that I was in nearly thirty years ago, but I know that she paid for all she did to me, so it’s easier to let go of now.  Night Train is a period of life most of us experience at one time or another (early thirties for me), and Axl killed it on all the piano parts, which made me wish I had taken lessons for two more years.

I remember reading about Guns N’ Roses in Hit Parader right when Appetite for Destruction was released in 1987.  My favorite track from that album was Mr. Brownstone, but KNAC didn’t play that nearly as often as they played Welcome to the Jungle-the tune that Pirate Radio played to death, as Pirate was a wanna-be KNAC.  They censored most of the heavy metal tunes that they “dared” to play, so I would listen to KNAC whenever I drove to the Valley (San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles).  At least KNAC played Slayer, Anthrax, Leatherwolf, and Metallica after 11 p.m., whereas Pirate wouldn’t play those bands at all.

I look back at all the shows I’ve gone to over the period of time-mostly a year or so apart in most cases, with the exception of a few occasions.

I saw Slipknot when bassist Paul Grey was still alive.
I met Lemmy Kilmister across the street from the Rainbow Bar and Grille in Hollywood.
I saw Metallica the first time they were cool.

Are there anymore bands I would like to see, other than Slayer?  The list is getting shorter and it maybe just about time for me to start a new period of life; a more important period, domestically speaking.   I mean, thirty years of heavy metal concerts is represent a lot of bands and almost as many venues, some of which no longer exist (FM Station, I miss ye!).

Don’t worry…I’ve always worn ear plugs.

In closing, I want to thank Guns N’ Roses for making last night’s show one in a million, because I had waited decades to see them play.  I may not have had the best seats (Bob Uecker level), but hearing them on stage was all that mattered to me.

I would like to know how Axl keeps his voice in shape.  I mean, I sing metal, but I don’t sing every day like he does.  You sing for two hours per night like that for over thirty years, and you figure something’s going to slip.  After all, the body is a machine and I kind of see vocal chords as having the elasticity of a timing belt in a car or a sanding belt on a sander.  Things wear out in time.

In Axl’s case, I hope he can keep that voice going for a few more years, because I want to see G N’ F’ R at least one more time!