Concert Review

by Adam Dershowitz

Guns and Fuckin' Roses, at the Garden.

The stage for the evening was already set as I tried to leave North Station. The crowd was pushing and shoving, trying to get out of one door, and failing. Screams of ``Welcome to the Jungle'' could be heard. I, of course, decided to use the large door right next to the one that this crowd was unable to operate. I was now right in front of Boston Garden, earplugs at the ready, and I was going to see Guns and Roses.

But why? A message the night before said that I had tickets to Guns and Roses waiting at the box office. ``Why?'' I asked. That story goes back to a concert in St. Louis where Axl Rose allegedly jumped into the crowd and beat up some fans... Now, through a long turn of events, I had tickets that I did not want. But what the hell, they were free, and it was Saint Patrick's Day, and I had seen the Star Trek rerun that night anyway. Besides, maybe I too could fight with Axl. I went and picked up the tickets. Inside the envelope were backstage passes, something that I was not expecting. The passes were something. A circular sticker, with a caricature of a woman. Well really a caricature of breasts, with a head attached. Pretty offensive in my opinion. Even the passes had the band's middle initial on them, ``G N F'n R's.''

I went and grabbed a beer at a nearby bar to get ready for this event. Then on into the Garden. On the way in I saw a woman with long purple hair. She was up on current events, her shirt said ``Sid Vicious is Dead". Then someone else handed me a leaflet explaining that Jesus wasn't. The Sid Girl really stood out, as did I, because the hair color of the evening was blond, and the style, long, both male and female.

Once inside, I discovered a serious problem. They were not selling any beer, and I couldn't handle this event sober. What to do?

The opening band on stage was loud and not very interesting. Time to try to go back stage. At first the guy blocking the door was not too sure what to do. He looked at my pass, then back at something on his side of the wall, then back at the pass. I could see that the list he was looking at was for different kinds of back stage passes. To make this guys life easier the passes were different shapes. He was trying to decide whether the pass was a circle, a square, or a triangle. It was a circle, the good kind. Finally he let me in. I hung back stage for a while, but there was nothing happening, so I left.

Out front, the opening band was still playing, but had become more bearable. The band all had long hair, except for the one balding guy. The backup singers were wearing high heels and bell bottom pants... are these coming back in or what? The keyboard player's name, as you might expect, was Spike. The acoustics in Boston Garden suck, not that you could really tell with this band.

When the opening band was done, it was time to try backstage again. The hospitality room was still not open. A big guy was standing there, not letting anyone in. All of us with circles, were sent ``back there, behind that curtain", where we found free soda. Digging through the ice, there it was, FREE BEER. Well, Bud, which is close enough to beer. There were about a dozen of us waiting there. Mostly people who did not look like we should be at the show. A guy walked into our little area, pointed to the four pretty woman, who had on miniskirts, black leather, and long hair, and said, ``Girls". They got up, and followed him away to the more back part of back stage.

I grabbed a few for the road and went back out front, to face the crowd yet again. I overheard one teenager walking by say, ``I feel like I look like a little girl.'' She did. My companion told me that there were men in the woman's rest room. It was not because there was a big line in the men's room. Despite selling no beer, and searching people on the way in, there were lots o' drunks around. In fact the drunkest person that I saw was an MIT student, trying to handle the ``walking'' concept. Despite smoking regulations, there was a thick toxic cloud which limited visibility in the arena.

When we got back to our seats, still between bands, there was a large drunk guy standing by both seats. He was screaming at the stage. My companion tried to explain that these were our seats. Nothing! He did not get it. I finally stepped in and tried using caveman instead. I pointed and grunted. This time he got the idea and moved back a row. When he was behind us I was finally able to understand some of his poetry, ``YAH Mothah Fuckah!!'' and ``Pussy, Yo Pussy!!'' were some of his favorites. The crowd was particularly impressed by the technology of video. Sometimes a camera would point at them, putting them on the big projection screen , and they went crazy. In case you were there, I was the one not screaming my head off, and not wearing a flannel shirt. Finally the lights dimmed. The traditional lighters were lit (the first time that I saw this, it was for ``Candle in the Wind", and it made sense then), thumbs were burned, and the band came out. There were TelePrompters, with lyrics for the band. Axl was wearing a T-shirt with ``Charles don't surf'' on the back, and a picture of Charles Manson on the front. For one song he had to slowly explain to the crowd, ``I say, `Nice boys', then you say, `don't play rock and roll{'", in case they could not remember the lyrics. After a couple of songs, suddenly Axl wants a spot light. A bottle had been thrown at the stage and he is pissed. He is holding the bottle in his hand, and says, ``Have a good fuckin' night", drops the bottle and leaves the stage, with the rest of the band. I guess he was mad that someone else got to throw something first.

Then the crowd got ugly(er?)! Yelling things at the stage. ``Fuck You!'' Or rearranged their name: ``Fuck Guns and Roses!'' The neanderthal behind us said, ``If I had a bottle I would fuckin' throw it off his head'' Then, because things were too calm, a manager came out, and turned up the house lights. He said, ``Look around, if your neighbor has a bottle, take it away.'' Not very neighborly if you ask me. My New York instincts had kicked in at this point, and I was watching my back. Fortunately I only had cans, and they were hidden under the seat. During this intermission, I only saw one fight. I also warned my companion to watch for objects, or people, from the balcony above us, but this turned out to just be my paranoia. The woman next to us said, ``Hey I say we fuckin' staht a RIOT!'' She was obviously unclear on the concept.

After about 15 minutes, once the crowd was in a good mood, Guns and Roses came back out. They had this really upsetting bank of strobe lights behind the stage, that would have made Doc Edgerton proud. Halfway through the set, the bass player walked up to a microphone and made his only comment of the evening, ``Who ever threw that bottle, I will kick your mother fuckin ass". Axl liked the banner in the audience that said, ``Fuck St. Louis'', although that is what brought me to this event. The set included such lyrics as, ``I used to love her, so I had to kill her. I knew I'd miss her, so I had to keep her.'' The favorite lyric of the evening was ``Fuck'' in all of it's forms. The guitar solo included stolen Who and Led Zeppelin riffs. I am having trouble reading my notes (all that beer, and it was dark) but I think it says, ``Jesus, Axl can actually play piano,'' but I would not swear to this. He also smoked on stage to get that special tonal quality to his voice, that he is famous for.

In conclusion, the favorite clothing color of the evening was black, especially leather. Favorite bra color of the evening was black, especially leather. Tattoos were also a big plus. No, I am not about to get one, or to go buy an album for that matter. I was just there for the experience. It was a lot like going to the zoo. Maybe Axl said it best, as he left the stage, ``Happy Fuckin' Saint Patrick's Day!''