Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Democracy 3D

by Kevin Wierzbicki

By now Guns N' Roses fans are used to waiting. The number of years it took GNR front man Axl Rose to finish 2008's Chinese Democracy, the band's latest, is debatable. What's not debatable is that prior to the release of Chinese Democracy GNR had not put out any new original music for 17-years, since the Use Your Illusion albums. And it boggles the mind to think that Appetite for Democracy is the band's first live concert film in 22-years. The upside is that Appetite for Democracy is so good that fans will probably never have to wait for another concert film; this is the definitive performance right here.

First, and always a question with Guns N' Roses, the line-up. Backing Axl are three stellar guitarists, DJ Ashba, Richard Fortus and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, keyboards player Dizzy Reed, bassist Tommy Stinson, keyboards player Chris Pitman and drummer Frank Ferrer. Those out front have their rock 'n' roll posturing down pat; the four ax men mug and pout and often join Rose in wildly strutting the stage, never missing a single fiery lick while wielding their guitars like the objects of adoration that they've become. The show opens on a powerful note with "Chinese Democracy" followed by three biggies from Appetite for Destruction, "Welcome to the Jungle," "It's So Easy" and "Mr. Brownstone" before moving into Use Your Illusion II's lengthiest cut, "Estranged." There's no stage patter and there's never a lull in the show as laser lighting, flash pots and three scantily-clad ladies dancing and performing on stripper poles add eye candy to the band's highly-polished sound.

As the film's title indicates with its combination of the album titles Appetite for Destruction and Chinese Democracy, fully half of the 25-song set list comes from those albums. And there are surprises; a take on the lesser-played "Rocket Queen," a cover of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2," bass man Stinson leading the Axl-less band through the Stooges-like "Motivation" from his Village Gorilla Head solo album, Bumblefoot playing "Objectify" from his solo album and a super hot solo from Ashba leading into "Sweet Child O'Mine." Another highlight, and one that is not given credit in the set list, is a Dizzy Reed piano solo that evolves into a cover of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter." Another treat is a roaring cover of the Who's "The Seeker" with Rose sounding positively Daltrey-esque.

The show's quieter moments, like during Chinese Democracy's "Catcher in the Rye" and "Street of Dreams," are also stunning. But the most spectacular of the more subdued moments comes during "November Rain" with Rose crooning and playing piano aboard a circular rig that, suspended from the ceiling by cables, "floats" him right out over the audience. "Used to Love Her" and "Patience" from the Lies album are end of show high points bookended by manic takes on "Nightrain" and a 10-minute jam on the show-closing "Paradise City" that comes complete with an enormous confetti explosion and a light show that's the most frenetic of the evening.

The combination of excellent musicianship, mesmerizing rock 'n' roll stage presence and superior film work make this show practically jump right into your lap anyway, but Appetite for Democracy can be viewed in 3D for those with the proper gear. The phrase "worth the wait" hardly does this show justice.

Order the Blu-ray here or the DVD here.

Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Democracy 3D

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