Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

June 6, 2013

GNR delivers in visit to Buffalo's Outer Harbor

Niagara Gazette — March 12, 1993. 

Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ont.

Before Wednesday, that was the last time I saw Axl Rose perform live. 

It was a memorable show for many right, and one wrong, reasons. 

Rose, known to be an irascible sort at times, stormed off the stage during the closing number — "Paradise City" — after he got hit in the head by a flashlight thrown at him by some clown in the audience.

His old Guns n' Roses bandmates — former guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan — stepped in and finished the tune, performing it well enough to prevent the disappointed crowd from breaking into a full on riot. 

Wednesday's GNR concert at Buffalo's Outer Harbor was an entirely different experience. 

Yes, the show started late. It was announced beforehand that the 8 p.m. start time for GNR had been pushed back to 10 p.m., with opening band "Monster Truck" — a solid sounding group of hard rockers in their own right — taking the stage at 9 p.m.

Fans in the crowd speculated about whether the notoriously tardy Rose might not go on stage until 10:30 p.m. at the earliest. 

My thought: "It's Axl Rose people. Deal." 

The band kicked in with the title track off their last studio album - 2008's "Chinese Democracy" - at 10:04 p.m. by my cell phone clock. 

Not bad at all, actually. 

It appeared to me right from the start that despite several references to the chill in the air brought on by the unseasonably cool breeze coming off the water, Rose was very much interested in giving his fans the type of performance they paid to see. He cracked a few jokes about the Buffalo weather and even smiled a couple of times. 

Axl's new bandmates gave him, and the crowd, reason to be happy. While Slash, Duff and all of the other members of the original lineup are long gone, Rose did a smart thing by bringing in new guys with talent who add a tremendous amount of energy to the old GNR standards while giving the newer material real, raw rock power. 

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