Be prepared to take a nap before heading to the Appetite for Democracy three-week residency (ending Nov. 24). The show didn’t start until just before midnight, and rocked through three hours of musical nostalgia. Aside from Axl Rose’s typical obnoxiously late start (some impatient fans were demanding refunds by 11 p.m.), the set could have offered a little less Democracy and a lot more Appetite. There were tons of pyrotechnics, scantily clad dancing women, the latest in digital stage effects and … low volume.
Appetite features the band’s current lineup, which should perhaps be called Hired Guns N’ Roses, as Rose is the only original member. Three respected guitarists all performed solos; lead guitarist DJ Ashba’s was the standout. But none could take the place of original members Slash and Izzy Stradlin (why three guitarists now, anyway?).
From the “Chinese Democracy” opener to the confetti-covered “Paradise City” encore, Rose sang his ass off. And the band didn’t disappoint with hit after hit. Dizzy Reed, GNR’s longtime keyboard player, jammed on an instrumental version of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter.” Rose performed “November Rain” on a levitating piano above the crowd, and the band took turns running up and down the side stages that extended well above the first 10 rows. I only wished they’d turned it up a bit. I woke up the next day and my ears weren’t ringing like they used to back in the day when I saw the original lineup. ★★★★☆