From brassy to trashy, the Hollywood Palladium has a storied history of big bands blowing away small audiences. Trouble is, the new Guns N' Roses isn't a big band, and Friday's show wasn't about making a small audience feel special, it was about making a giant ego feel big.
In fact, the tight quarters of the not-sold-out "LA Takeover" kickoff date only amplified the reality that no one cared about the new songs, and no one cared about the new band. Former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson alone can not bring the rock, two keyboardists can not compensate for delusion and insecurity, and everyone knows there's nothing under Axl Roses' hat.
Guns hasn’t played LA since gas was $2 a gallon. Guns hasn't had a hit since gas was $1.50 a gallon. Guns had no business trying to play three Los Angeles club shows with triple digit ticket prices when the average heritage fan can't name the new guitar player or most recent album.
Prince played 21 nights in LA last year. Can you name his lead guitarist? The answer is: Prince. And still he only charged $25.
People in L.A. have options, and a few of them chose to start their weekend with a post-midnight performance in which Rose opened the show with a new song, and then "Welcome to the Jungle".
Was it fun to sing along? Not really. Venue volume was not to rock-god decibels, plus it was difficult to focus with wobbly cougars spilling $14 Newcastles everywhere (mostly on this reporter). Making fun of fat-Axl even fell flat because only his head is bloated, and he still has a decent voice.
Mostly, the show's holdouts held together in an unspoken group-think that sounded something like this: "MAN THIS GUY REALLY WOULD BE REALLY GREAT IN YOU KNOW… GUNS N' ROSES."
The band's final performance on the Sunset Strip concludes tonight at the House of Blues. Unlike the other two events, this show is sold out.
To Axl's credit, his sideshow cash cow does exceedingly well in Brazil.
But this isn't Brazil.
This is the jungle.