GUNS N’ROSES, SKID ROW & ROSE TATTOO at Eastern Creek, 1993

Published on November 4th, 2016

Gig review – Guns N’Roses, Skid Row & Rose Tattoo – Eastern Creek Raceway, January 30 1992


(Author’s note: I thought about not posting this review, which I wrote for Kerrang! in 1993 just after my 24th birthday. I thought about changing it. I no longer think of Skid Row as tuneless or directionless. Any time they are in my vicinity, I shell out to see them. Sebastian, on the other hand, is still capable of being “silly divisive and destructive” As for Guns, some of he observations here still seem apt, if rather harsh. Now, over to a rather arrogant 24-year-old me)

THE NIGHT before Rose Tattoo left for Britain in 1981, legend has it that only 50 people showed up to watch them in Sydney. Today, in the merciless late afternoon sun at Eastern Creek, at least 10,000 fists are punching the air as Angry Anderson rips into ‘Bad Boy For Love’. It’s a fickle business.

The reformed Rose Tattoo – average age 45 – don’t take too long to show they’re bad enough to make the Gunners look like Nelson. Still hairless and ugly, Angry introduces ‘Nice Boys (Don’t Play Rock ‘N’ Roll)’ by announcing, “This song’s for the Gunners. They made it famous. We wrote it.”

Aside from ’18 And Life’ and ‘Youth Gone Wild’, Skid Row have always been tuneless and directionless. They’re lucky, and that’s about all.

By midway through opener ‘Slave To The Grind’, though, you can’t help but be impressed by the giant Sebastian Bach striding the stage in great leaps, while Rachel Bolan and ‘Snake’ Sabo go completely nuts around him. And that washed-out sound (they obviously can’t have bothered soundchecking) DID kinda suit them.

But as soon as Bach opens his mouth, you might as well go off and line up for a hot-dog – in New Zealand. On a day with only four arrests and Heavy Metal belying its two dimensional image with a victory over negative publicity, Bach is silly, divisive and destructive.

First he slams the promoters for banning alcohol (and stopping him from getting spat at, abused and pelted with bottles of piss, no doubt), and then he holds up the gig until he gets a case of lager onstage. He just waits, leaving the rest of the band to pull their puds.(continued below)
Bach, a man who’s been sued for throwing a bottle at a girl in the crowd, then lobs cans of beer 30 feet into the air before they plunge sickeningly downwards into the crowd.

The Skids were on for an hour-and-a-quarter, plus encore, and Sebastian’s inane insistence on basking in his own influence over such a large crowd must have taken up at least a quarter of that time.

Guns N’ Roses’ poor reviews of late, with accusations of them becoming a cabaret act, are hard to ignore. But after five songs – ‘It’s So Easy’, ‘Mr Brownstone’, ‘Live And Let Die’, a cover of The Misfits’ ‘Attitude’ and ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ – they seem capable of transcending the pompous surroundings and coming close to reproducing their early aggression.

The flame-throwers, lights and explosions before a record Australian concert crowd of 85,000 actually add to the opening songs. However, when Slash and Gilby Clarke stretch “Double Talkin’ Jive”  out to tedious length with intricate solos and even a voice synthesiser, the rot sets in.

From then on, fans endure a Clarke solo, a seven-minute effort from drummer Matt Sorum, and a scandalously self-serving blues solo from Slash. The fireworks and lights truly befit such an awesome setting, but the showmanship, sadly, does not.

But at least they’ve got money. Axl lobs a S1,000 microphone into the crowd just for the sound it makes, after the now predictable ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’. And the formal ending, with fireworks on the hillside behind after an encore consisting of ‘Yesterdays’ and ‘Paradise City’, Should give Spinal Tap some ideas if they’re planning a sequel…

Still one of the best days out I can remember – but oh, for 1988, when no drum riser meant an infinitely better show!

This review first appeared in Kerrang! Magazine

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