It was no illusion on December 5th for the sold-out crowd at the Worcester Centrum when Guns N’ Roses stormed through the arena to begin the second leg of their 1991-1992 world tour. On their first headlining jaunt, dubbed “Get in the Ring [expletive],” Guns N’ Roses played with absolute perfection, even though this was their first show in over a month. The band, which at times included 12 members on stage at once, performed like a smooth, well-oiled unit. After a squirming and dull hour-plus wait, the band finally hit the stage, with the appropriate opener, “Welcome to the Jungle.” Their stage set was simple: a large black floor imprinted with their logo and two ramps. The band lacked pyrotechnics, but instead featured an excellent light show which enhanced the full impact of the songs.
However, the fans were there for the music, and hard rockin’ music they got. After the opening number, Guns N’ Roses proceeded through such earth-shakin’ cuts as “Mr. Brownstone” and “Double Talkin’ Jive.” New rhythm guitarist Gilby Clarke proved to be a substantial replacement for the absent Izzy Stradlin, who reportedly had left the band. During this three-hour show, Guns N’ Roses gave their fans a wide variety of new and old material, from the updated version of “Move to the City” (complete with a horn section) to the fast-paced frenzy of “Bad Obsession.” Lead vocalist Axl Rose sang with
emotion and skill in his distinct scratchy voice, even though he was growing hoarse near the end of the show.
“This is a song we did with Mr. Arnold,” stated Axl as new drummer Matt Sorum began the opening drum thunder to “You Could Be Mine.” During the lengthy guitar solos of numerous songs, Axl Rose bounded offstage and later reappeared in new attire. He sported a “Rebel” jacket and top hat during the mind-blowing performance of “Civil War.” Lead guitarist Slash was the night’s top performer. Covered with his shaggy black hair, Slash picked out brilliant riffs and leads, among them the familiar sounds of the “Godfather” theme. His mixture of all styles resulted in a unique sound that could never be imitated.
Throughout the show, when Axl wasn’t either lecturing the crowd or singing the band’s new songs, he was taking out his anger and frustrations on his microphone stand, breaking it several times. After relieving such tension, Axl sat down at the piano for the elegant ballad “November Rain,” a fine song, even in the dreary December slush.
After all the hype, the wait, the impatience and the excitement, Boston fans finally were treated to a night of rock n’ roll by one of the most controversial bands in the world. Guns N’ Roses entertained their fans for two sold-out nights, and their return is already eagerly awaited.