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Axl Rose and Guns N’ Roses Rock Out Philips Arena Wednesday Night

Iconic frontman Axl Rose and his revamped Guns N’ Roses performed at Philips Arena on Wednesday night. This was the fourth date of the long-awaited tour, and the building was close to half full. Despite the slight turnout, and starting late at 11:00, Rose and his new bandmates were in excellent form. Buckcherry(pictured) and Kelen Heller were the openers.

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(From Wiki) Guns N’ Roses (sometimes abbreviated as G N’ R or GnR) is a hard rock band, formed in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, in 1985. The band has released six studio albums, three EPs, and one live album. The classic original lineup, as signed to Geffen records, consisted of lead vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler. Co-founder Axl Rose is the only current original member of Guns N’ Roses. The band has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, including shipments of 45 million in the United States. The band’s 1987 major label debut album, Appetite for Destruction, has sold in excess of 28 million copies worldwide and reached No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 and is also the highest selling debut album of all time in the US. In addition, the album charted three Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Sweet Child o’ Mine” which reached No. 1. Appetite was followed by the eight-song album G N’ R Lies in 1988. The 1991 albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II debuted on the two highest spots on the Billboard 200 and have sold a combined 14 million copies in the United States alone and 35 million worldwide. An album of covers titled “The Spaghetti Incident?” was the last album that featured Slash, Duff, and Sorum. After over a decade of work and many lineup changes, the band released their follow-up album, Chinese Democracy, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum in the United States.

The current lineup comprises lead vocalist and pianist Axl Rose, lead guitarists Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and DJ Ashba, rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus, bassist Tommy Stinson, keyboardists and backing vocalists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman and drummer Frank Ferrer. On Tuesday, September 27, 2011, Guns N’ Roses was announced as nominee for 2012 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

AJC photographer Robb Cohen covered the event with his camera. See the photo gallery here. What did you think of the concert? What is your favorite GnR song? 

 (Photo Credit: Robb D. Cohen/ www.robbsphotos.com)  For other concert photography linked to Access Atlanta, please visit  Atlanta ConcertPhotography Galleries.)

83 comments Add your comment

richard whiskey

November 3rd, 2011
9:02 am

who would be dumb enough to waste time and money to go watch an old,bald washed up has been like axl rose,who is only doing this because he is broke,and without the original band members, no onder it was less than half full

J.B.

November 3rd, 2011
9:15 am

I was very skeptical but couldnt pass up the opportunity to go. My expectations were far exceeded and I was pleasantly surprised. Excellent show. The concert Slash put on last september at Center Stage with Miles Kennedy singing was better but this was definitely worth the price of a ticket.

Chrissy

November 3rd, 2011
9:20 am

This show was amazing!!!!!

Robert

November 3rd, 2011
9:27 am

Why was the concert so late starting? GNR have transportation problems to Atlanta. What time did the first front band perform. I am sure the promoter and Spirit will here from the city!

Eddie Money

November 3rd, 2011
9:28 am

Nice review that said noting about the show. For those of us who decided to check out the show last night, we were lucky enough to witness one of the greatest frontmen of all time deliver an amazing performance that out-rocked anything I have seen come through this city in the past 10 years.

The band consists of three of the best guitarists touring today. Richard Forthus, Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal, and DJ Ashba traded riffs and alternated lead parts throughout the night. Unknown to most of the audience, these guys have been in the band for a long time and they play well together. They play the classic songs as good, if not better than, the line-up that most people remember (Slash, Izzy, Duff, and Steven Adler).

Axl’s performance reminded our city what a real rock star should look and sound like. He was in a great mood throughout his 3 hour set and frequently joked with band members and his audience. He mentioned his last visit to Atlanta and how he was arrested on-stage for punching a security guard at the Omni. He expressed a heartfelt appreciation for the good reception he received from the audience. I think Axl was surprised that the crowd was with him throughout the night and when the show ended at nearly 2am with Paradise City, many of the people stayed and sang every word to the songs they knew. The setlist consisted of all of the favorites from the bands earlier albums – Welcome to the Jungle, Sweet Child O’ Mine, November Rain, Patience, and their standard covers Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and Live and Let Die. He also played 6 or 7 of the newer songs from the Chinese Democracy album. The crowd stood at attention during these numbers, especially when he sang a vocally challenging piano ballad called “This I Love”, which exposed the strength of Axl’s vocals since there was little accompaniment though much of the song. In some of the other numbers from Chinese Democracy, his voice tends to be overpowered by the three guitars, two keyboards, and drums. Once This I Love was played, you could tell that the once skeptical audience had realized that they were witnessing something special.

Thank you Axl and Guns N’ Roses for visiting our city and reminding us of how a real rock show should look and sound. I expect your turnout to be much greater should you ever return because people will be buzzing about your performance when they go to work tomorrow (I doubt many of them actually made it in today). We hope to see you soon.

Eddie Money

November 3rd, 2011
9:36 am

Richard Whiskey – It’s too bad you didn’t go. Your opinion would be very different today. Robert, it’s likely that the concert was set-up this way from the start. In some of the other cities, the opening band doesn’t go on until 9pm Axl likes to play late. There were really no delays. The openers played longer than other supporting acts. Also, is there really an ordinance against playing late concerts indoors? I know there is one if the show occurs at an outdoor venue such as Aaron’s Amphitheater. I’m assuming they could have played until daylight if they had made the proper arrangements with Philips Arena and the city.

Michelle

November 3rd, 2011
9:40 am

I thought about going, when I saw tickets in the lower arena were still available for $20, but when I read reviews from earlier shows that they didn’t even hit the stage until 11:30 and performed for 3 hours I decided to skip it. Axl said in an interview back in the 90’s, “If you have to get up early the next day to go to work, than don’t bother. Just stay home.” What excellenet advice! It’s’ exactly what I did. Some of us have real jobs.

Matt

November 3rd, 2011
10:08 am

Eddie Money…your review hit the nail on the head. Appreciate you taking the time to write that up–I believe it captured the moment perfectly from last night.

As an avid concert goer who goes to between 30 and 40 shows a year, it’s been a while since I’ve felt goosebumps at a show. Last night, I got the goosebumps once again–and not just one time but throughout the show. It was an incredible experience and I’m so happy I got to take it all in. Absolutely no regrets–even after only getting 3 hours of sleep before coming into work this morning!

Mike

November 3rd, 2011
10:10 am

The show was awesome. I stood for 7 hours by the stage and most of that time there was a band on stage performing. I got 3 hours sleep and made it into work just fine. :)

timthebrave

November 3rd, 2011
10:41 am

I didn’t know what to expect without Slash and the originals but they can still put on a great show. There are some really good musicians playing with Guns n Roses. I was there for the 3+ hour show and was glad I stayed. It was cool to see them after so many years and closed it out with Paradise City. They played all the old favorites plus chinese democracy. Also played a pink floyd, who, and several other covers. Lots of instrument solos and I was blown away….It was far from a sellout and those of us that stayed are glad we went….GNR still rocks…And still got up and made it to work

Michelle

November 3rd, 2011
11:50 am

How in the hell did you get home at 2:30 in the morning? Does Marta even run that late?

ebbuga97

November 3rd, 2011
11:52 am

Awesome show…. I was skeptical as well heading into it with all the bad press Axl has had lately (yellow duckie jumpsuit in Rock for Rio did not help) … However when the show kicked off it was one of the most memorable concerts I’ve experienced… As has been said already, this is how a true rock lead man handles himself and while would have been great to have Slash there just from nostalgia perspective, the guitarist were excellent…

Phillip Johnson

November 3rd, 2011
11:56 am

If you missed this show you missed out. Three hours of Gn’R what more do you need.The band was tight.Hope it is not another 24 years before another Atlanta Show.

OZZFEST

November 3rd, 2011
12:00 pm

OZZY IN NASHVILLE LAST FEBRUARY WAS MUCH BETTER.
AXLE IS AN ABSOLUTE SCUMBAG IDIOT…11:30? WHY NOT JUST PLAY CLUB SHOWS WHERE FANS CAN PARTY TIL 4AM.

BY THE WAY, THEY CUT OFF ALCOHOL SALES BEFORE G&R STARTED. REALLY?

wade

November 3rd, 2011
12:05 pm

There will always be those people who will never move on from 1988, and continue to rip Axl any chance they get. These are probably the same people that believe every thing they read in the paper about Axl. But one thing is true for sure….A very good majority of people attending Guns N Roses concerts lately are saying similar things…”It was AWESOME”! Seriously, how many other bands play for 3 hours every night?? Isnt that what it’s all about people…the music? And for those of you who don’t know, GNR has come on stage between 11-12am their entire careers.

Robb Cohen

November 3rd, 2011
12:12 pm

I wanted to thank everyone for posting comments. I’d like to chime in that I was very skeptical that with all of the drama and missteps in GNR and Axl’s life over the past decade(s), including cancelled tours, lawsuits, long-delayed albums, etc., I was very skeptical that the concert would actually happen; also, as a photographer who is on deadline immedialtely following the show, I was less than thrilled when I arrived at Philips last night and was told the earliest GNR would hit the stage was 11:00, and they didn’t come on until midnight in Greenville a couple nights ago.

However, with that said, and coming from the perpective of someone who is a bit jaded and has shot and witnessed literally thousands of artists, I thought Axl was awesome, both in moving around the stage and his voice sounded great! Also, his band was excellent…a very pleasant surprise…ROCK ON!!

Joseph Schmitt

November 3rd, 2011
12:23 pm

This show was absolutely mind-blowing from start to finish. I did not want to be one of those sitting at home wondering whether or not I should have gone to the show, even given the flurry of bad press about Axl’s recent performances (just check out the Rock in Rio 2011 show). Needless to say, he could not have sounded any better than he did last night. Musically, this show was literally flawless. All three lead guitarists brought their A-game last night. It’s almost as if someone had threatened the whole band with their lives backstage if they didn’t put on the best show of their careers. I would even go so far as to say that the original line-up could not have pulled this show off. Until now, the Live in Tokyo DVDs from 1992 have been the benchmark GnR performance, but this made even that look like a joke by comparison. They *nailed* Estranged and November Rain, which is quite a feat live, but the Chinese Democracy material (particularly Sorry, Better, and This I Love) was the highlight of my evening.

If a time machine is ever invented, and you got once shot at it, I highly recommend heading back to Phillips Arena last night

Joseph Schmitt

November 3rd, 2011
12:24 pm

**one shot, that is**

Frank

November 3rd, 2011
12:27 pm

Just like the comments before mine….They ROCKED the joint! I went because I wanted to see if Axl can still do it. I wasn’t let down. The last time I tried to see them (in West Palm Beach) they canceled the show while I was en route. The time before that was in Toronto on their Use Your Illusion wave and they played with Skid Row and Metallica…a superb concert it was. Last night didn’t let anyone down…variety, solos, covers, new stuff and lots of what we all wanted to hear.

I unfortunately left just before the two very last songs…my wife wasn’t happy as my babysitter’s Mom was texting her asking where her daughter was!!!…that sure wasn’t a problem 20 years ago!!!

I also think Eddie Money pegged it in his review…way to go guy and welcome to ATL!

Like everyone else…I got up and got to work in time for my 8a meetings.

Scotty

November 3rd, 2011
12:47 pm

I def wanted to go – I attended many a pool party in 1989-90 and App 4 Destruct was the soundtrack all summer. I work in Transportation which means a Wednesday night 11:30pm show is simply not an option if I want to have the slightest amount of productivity the next day. After reading the reviews I may have to go travel now to see it, I wasn’t expecting the raving comments. Really hope he comes back at a decent day and time, and in the spring or summer, even better, when everyone is really ready to party.

Chris Veal

November 3rd, 2011
1:02 pm

What a great show. I must admit I was expecting much at all given the crap i read online lately. But after seeing KISS, Rolling Stones, The Gorillaz, Just about any band I can think of I can still say that was maybe the best show ive ever seen. For any moron that listens to crap online and passed on the chance to see that show im glad you stayed at home and missed out. GREAT SHOW and very nice to see axl smile and look like he was having a good time with everyone else.

billy shears

November 3rd, 2011
1:08 pm

i too was pleasantly surprised by the show last night. axl was in a jovial mood and frequently jogged back and forth to both sides of the stage, never running out of breath to sing. everytime the pyro effects went off i jumped in my seat a little. i saw some young kids there which was cool. why was axl jogging back and forth to the side stage every 8 minutes? i imagine to poor honey down his throat so he can sing in that screeching style night after night. did i mention there was confetti if you stayed till the end? CONFETTI! and could the opening bands be anymore boring? tommy stinson was my favorite musician portion of the night. that dude is awesome. that MAO head really tripped me out. what did john lennon say about carrying around pictures of that guy? haha

Chris Veal

November 3rd, 2011
1:09 pm

and for all the people complaining that the gnr didnt start till 11 quit being so damn old. its a rock show for crying out load sorry you wasnt home in time for murder she wrote.

James

November 3rd, 2011
1:34 pm

Incredible show. Came in to it with pretty low expectations, but those guys rocked. Axl seemed to be in a good mood and didn’t try to punch anyone. I guess he finally gave up on trying to stop fans from recording the show. Today turned out to be a great sick day…. 3 hrs sleep… Sheesh!

J Weeks

November 3rd, 2011
1:36 pm

I went last night because I had to satisfy my curiosity. Axl has been a hermit the last 15 years. He can’t really sing like he used too can he? I went into the night expecting the worse. Boy was I wrong! Like everyone else mentioned above, it was truly an amazing show. 3 hours straight without any breaks! Are you kidding me? I have allready started looking around at the rest of the tour dates. Nashville in December? Hmmmm….

jenna martin

November 3rd, 2011
1:53 pm

axl what’s up with the hat and sunglasses ,i know you are old and bald and look like hell,but if you are gonna charge us big bucks at least make eye contact with the crowd

Donna Griffin

November 3rd, 2011
2:04 pm

It was absolutely the best concert I have seen anywhere, anytime!! Axl still has it and his voice is incredible. The musicians that play with him are some of the best and rocked us all night long. If you missed seeing this incredible show, then you missed out!! GNR forever!!!!!!!!

Mike

November 3rd, 2011
2:05 pm

Anyone that did not go to the show last night missed out big time. One of the best concerts I have ever seen. This is an iconic band and will one day be in the rock and roll hall of fame for sure. True musicians. Axl’s voice sounded good and got better and better as the night went on. They owned Phillips arena last night.

Amby

November 3rd, 2011
2:15 pm

What did everyone think of Kelen Heller?

Tired Today

November 3rd, 2011
2:42 pm

What a shame that this coddled, self-indulged rock has been decided the heck with his loyal fans on a Wednesday night. Why would this clown think he is worth keeping hard working people up this late to see his re-hashed band? I know Axl didn’t have to wake his lazy butt up until noon or later today, but why torture the people that paid for you to be there by coming on at 11:00? Too many fans had to leave due to baby sitters or simply having to go home to get some sleep before the alarm went off at 6:00am. Those that took MARTA had to leave before the concert was over as the last trains for the night left around 1:20. For those of you who loved the show, I’m glad for you. Otherwise, last night was the epitome of a selfish over the hill rocker spitting in the face of those who helped make him a star… sad, really sad.

Where's Paul

November 3rd, 2011
2:51 pm

I got dragged to the show by a friend last night. Okay, Axl sounds like an old lady with a sinus infection! “Live and Let Die” is a Paul McCartney song. GNR’s light show to that one was about the exact same as when Wings first did it it live in 1976.Wow, GNR, great production…not. And, what’s up with coming on at 11:00 on a Wedneday night? Half of the crowd was gone by the end.

Shawn Smith

November 3rd, 2011
2:53 pm

What a fantastic show indeed. I even took a co-worker with me who is not the biggest fan of the music, and he thought it was also good. I am very impressed and happy I went even though I am dragging a little today, it was very much worth it. I do disagree though with the crowd size as the place looked pretty full to me including the suites at the start. Any way, it literally was one of the best concerts I have been to.

Mary

November 3rd, 2011
2:53 pm

Why do you say it was less than half-full? There has been a lot of reports it was almost full until people had to leave to get home in time. A shame about that though…

Very Tired

November 3rd, 2011
2:55 pm

I’m running off of 1 hour and 45 mins sleep today and Yes I went to work! It was so worth it! Axel put on a heck of a show! All the band members went above and beyond last night! I’m so glad I had a chance to see this show!

Where's Paul

November 3rd, 2011
2:57 pm

First of all, it appeared there were only 7,000 to 8,000 people there at the beginning. The entire top level of the arena was closed and draped off. The entire back stage portion of the arena was closed. From where I was sitting, people were heading out from just after they came on stage, which was just before 11:00. A lot of people left around mid-night and people kept trickling out from then until the end.

Sleepy Steve

November 3rd, 2011
3:00 pm

I agree with the post about the size of the crowd. This would have been better suited for a smaller venue with the size of the crowd they had. They should have come in the summer and played outdoors.

maxman

November 3rd, 2011
3:10 pm

wow!this guy looks totally unregognizable from what he did look like in 1987,makes me think damn it must be tough getting old

AG

November 3rd, 2011
3:11 pm

Tired Today,

You have no one to blame but yourself. GN’R’s documented start time was 10:45 p.m. They are contracted to play for at least 2 hours. You should’ve done your homework on this one. The information was out there if you made the effort to find it. It’s your fault, not Axl’s , that you are “tired today”.

Janie J

November 3rd, 2011
3:13 pm

I agree with the sentiment the crowd was not very large with much of the arena closed off. While I have always loved GNR, I too was a little peeved with the late start of the show as I had to leave in time to ride the MARTA train or else pay a $$$$$ cab to get back to Alpharetta. Hey Axl, some of us do have a real life!

Tired Today

November 3rd, 2011
3:19 pm

AG
What well documented start time? This was the 4th stop of this tour and I bought the tickets months before the first show this past Friday night. I had the information, but that is still no excuse for the late start. If he wants to play that late, let him go find some hole in the wall club where he can come on at 1:00 and play until 4:00.

Janie J

November 3rd, 2011
3:21 pm

If the show was on a weekend, then fine, but for a Wednesday, it was a little extreme.

AG

November 3rd, 2011
3:32 pm

The documented start time for these shows has been 10:45 p.m. Buckcherry from ~9 to 10 p.m. 10 to 10:45 p.m. is the change over time.

You had the information and yet you STILL chose to go to the show and be “tired today”. Take some responsibility for making that choice. You could have sold the tickets once you found that information out about the start times, yet you didn’t. You knew it was going to happen. That’s all I’m saying.

Baba O Reilly

November 3rd, 2011
3:33 pm

For those of you who say this was the best concert you ever saw, I feel for you. Note all the classic rockers he covered in his set. You should have seen the Who, Paul Macca, Elton John and Bob Dylan in their hey days. If you had, you would be sayin Axl who? today!

Mike

November 3rd, 2011
3:34 pm

I thought GnR were very entertaining. The set list and stage show were great. The guitarists were tight. No one is going to replace Slash, but these guys did a hell of a job. I was very impressed. I liked how they mixed up who was playing lead from time to time.

I think the cheap seats price of $50 killed them here. If they had originally sold those tickets for the $20 they ended up selling them for day of, I think the turnout would have been a lot better.

For those haters or those that want to relive the show check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgDdDLS5DCw&feature=related

It is from their show in Rio a month ago. Broadcast quality.

Tired Today

November 3rd, 2011
3:38 pm

AG
Okay, so I did know he had come on so late over the first weekend and on Halloween. I had called Philips Arena and they said the show was supposed to be over at 1:00. I was actually hoping that being a Wednesday might mean they would not run quite so late…stupid me, I know. But, by the numbers of people I saw leaving long before the set was over, there were a lot of others who agreed and were in the same boat. Perhaps that is why he only sold the 8,000 or so tickets that he did instead of selling out at 20,000 seat arena.

timthebrave

November 3rd, 2011
3:49 pm

Tired Today, Go to a Justin Bieber show with the rest of the kids so you aren’t up past your bedtime.

AG

November 3rd, 2011
3:50 pm

I have never seen a band who adjusts their start time depending on the day of the week. I don’t know where you have ever seen or heard of that. It doesn’t happen. I don’t know why anyone would assume that. The information was out there, you admit you knew it in advance. I just think you should take some responsibility for the calculated risk you took instead of making it to be all Axl’s fault you’re “tired today”.

Regardless, glad to see so many people had a great time!

Eddie

November 3rd, 2011
3:53 pm

The show rocked and I did get my money’s worth of great entertainment I was smart enough to get seats for the 7 hour show, Buck Cherry rocked the opening and when GNR came out it was the best show I seen live plenty of lights and fireworks and hard hitting vocals the stage was rocking and this band made a complete showing of their talents!

Tired Today

November 3rd, 2011
3:55 pm

Timthebrave
Glad you enjoyed the show. I am only saying there were roughly 4,000 others, that for whatever reason, could not stay or did not want to stay to the end. Perhaps it was a baby sitter issue, a MARTA issue or a personal issue. All I am saying is that it is a shame many artists live in their own little dream world with little to no regard for the people who are paying the freight for them to drag their pampered asses around the country…

timthebrave

November 3rd, 2011
4:05 pm

Tired Today, artists now play for an hour and half and then it’s peace out. So if they did that and got you out of there by 12:30 it makes them better to their fans then playing for over 3 hours….ummmm…ok..I wish it was the weekend but knew what I was getting into