Guns N' Roses at the Joint is a lesson in 'risk managment' and understanding ...
Nousha Salimi / AP
Axl Rose of Guns Nâ Roses sings during a 2010 concert in Abu Dhabi. The band will close out its 2011 U.S. tour with a Dec. 31 show at the Joint at the Hard RockÂ Hotel.
By John Katsilometes
Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011 | 12:45 p.m.
As a live act, Guns Nâ Roses has long been the Judy Garland of hard rock: Classic but unsteady. Classically unsteady, even.
Even in its late 1980s and early 1990s heyday, Guns Nâ Roses was not known for its punctuality or dependability onstage. Famous for showing up hours late for concerts frequently marred by riots, and punctuated by the between-songs rants of frontman Axl Rose, Guns Nâ Roses has always represented a wild card among rock acts. This is a band whose lead singer -- Rose -- once got into a scuffle with Tommy Hilfiger at a New York nightclub. Not a guy wearing Tommy Hilfiger clothing, but the real Tommy Hilfiger.
And if you find yourself in a dust-up with Tommy Hilfiger, the possibilities for conduct are boundless.
Even on its current U.S. tour, Guns Nâ Roses has roused some discord. The band has had to win over fans who have waited up to 3 hours after the posted start time for the musicians to charge onstage.
GN'R walked onstage at 11:30 p.m. for its show in Hartford, Conn., on Saturday. Tuesday in Chicago, they hit the stage at 11:10 p.m. In each instance, fans grew restless, and the growling audiences have been turned over to such GN'R contemporaries as Sebastian Bach to extend opening-act segments to appease the impatient.
Accounts of those shows are typically qualified by the bandâs tardiness, with reviewers gauging the performances not on their own merit, but if the shows were actually worth a 2 Â½- or 3-hour wait.
Fortunately -- and here is where the current incarnation of GN'R prospers -- the band has soared in its current live performances. Betting on the bandâs resurgence as a fulfilling-if-tardy live act, officials at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel have signed Guns Nâ Roses to play New Yearâs Eve.
A roll of the dice? Maybe. But Hard Rock Hotel Vice President of Entertainment Paul Davis says the risk (calculated) is worth the reward (a terrific show to usher in 2012).
âOn this tour, Iâve heard about a lot of shows and gotten some good, good reports,â Davis said during an interview last week. âTheyâve been playing for 2 Â½ and 3 hours. Word of mouth is really good. The candid reports Iâve been getting back are good.â
Davis is relying primarily on his colleagues with AEG Live, which is producing and promoting the Guns Nâ Roses tour.
âPeople with AEG have been telling me the shows are coming off with no issues,â Davis said, but did add, âAxl is Axl, and we understand the rock and roll business.â
Before Davisâ arrival as an official at the hotel, Hard Rock hosted a Guns Nâ Roses show at the old Joint in 2001. âMost of my staff who was at the hotel then said it was a great show,â Davis said.
The concert will be one of New Yearâs Eveâs more fascinating events in Vegas, regardless of the outcome. The current lineup is loaded (musically), with Rose in fine voice as the bandâs only remaining charter member. Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal is a âcrazy, crazyâ guitarist, as Davis notes. The band is expected to play all the hits youâd want to hear at a GNR show (âMr. Brownstone,â âSweet Child Oâ Mine,â âWelcome to the Jungle,â all of those), along with covers of such hard-rock classics as AC/DCâs âWhole Lotta Rosie.â
Itâs a great idea -- on paper.
âPart of my job is risk management and mitigation,â Davis said. âWe understand what weâre getting into. But I feel really good.â Itâs such a feeling worth waiting for.
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