The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
LIVE Guns n Roses ZZ Top Australia 2013






9th MARCH 2013




If Axl Rose ever gets to read a review that doesn’t prominently mention the fact that Guns n’ Roses used to have other members in the band; or if ZZ Top ever read a review that doesn’t mention beards, or that Frank is the only member that doesn’t have one even though his surname is…. Beard, then you’ll know that journalism has turned a small corner. Until that day…


Sadly tonight our original opening act Doc Neeson’s version of The Angels was replaced well before the first date of the tour by the always entertaining Rose Tattoo, a band which of course Gunners have a well-known affinity with. We wish Doc well in his recovery.
As far as tours go Perth always seems to get the end of things these days so it’s always great to get the opportunity to see a tour like this before our Eastern States cousins know what’s coming. Rose Tattoo was, as always, enjoyable, and Angry was, well just like Angry always is: full of smiles and with a stage patter that hasn’t probably changed in decades; greeting the audience with the usual ‘brothers and sisters’ welcome.


Rose Tattoo is tight and pulls out the hits and gets the job done, their place as bona fide Aussie Rock Legends has long been established and they manage to pull a decent crowd in early to see what all the noise is about.






I Thank You
Waitin' for the Bus
Jesus Just Left Chicago
Heard it on the X
I Gotsta Get Paid
Gimme All Your Lovin'
My Head's in Mississippi
Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers
Sharp Dressed Man
Tube Snake Boogie
La Grange


Those Texan gentlemen ZZ Top are another thing entirely and tonight they are flawless in a performance that showcases why these guys have been at the top for so long. Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill appear in sparkling rhinestone jackets and immediately get down to business.


For a band that first set foot on stage in 1970 and hasn’t stopped since its remarkably not only that all of the original members are onstage tonight but also that they are making some of the best music of their career with last year’s LA FUTURA on a par with their finest.


Sonically ZZ Top are precision made, this is blues played faultlessly yet which still remains soaked in soul and real feeling. Gibbon’s voice too is one of those that if anything seems to have intensified and aged beautifully over the years like well cellared vanilla-barrelled bourbon.


Starting off with the traditional opener and only cover song ‘I thank you’ in their shortened support set it’s hard to think of how they could have done a better job is distilling the essence of ZZ Top, sure the fans like me will always be disappointed that they didn’t play longer or that they missed this song or that but at the end of the day we got what we wanted – the best from over the years plus the hits from their commercial highpoint – ‘Eliminator’.    


It may have only been 2011 when we last saw these guys down in Kwinana but if anything the condensed set makes you want more and if I were over East I’d be sure I had tickets to the intimate Metro Theatre show on March 15.







Chinese Democracy
Welcome to the Jungle
It's So Easy
Mr. Brownstone
Richard Fortus Guitar Solo
Live and Let Die
Rocket Queen
Used to Love Her
This I Love (with band introductions)
Dizzy Reed Piano Solo
Catcher in the Rye
You Could Be Mine
DJ Ashba Guitar Solo
Sweet Child O' Mine
Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
November Rain
Objectify (Bumblefoot on vocals)
Don't Cry
Knockin' on Heaven's Door


Paradise City



Now normally this wouldn’t even warrant a mention from most bands but tonight Guns n’ Roses take the stage early and catch a goof few people out in the process.


With a visually spectacular entrance they launch into ‘Chinese Democracy’ in a brilliant white burst of pyro. Initially it’s clear that Axl just missed a couple of notes: but for a band that hasn’t played live since the Japan shows in December (with the exception of a low key LA date)  it’s more than understandable though I’m sure the doom-sayers will be having a field day with that one.


As a unit Gunners 2013 are pretty much as we saw them last time around – a well-rehearsed, tight unit who put on a show packed with set-pieces and pyro and huge screens. It’s an all-round experience that the band does undoubtedly well: everyone has the limelight and a chance to shine and looking at the production as a spectacle it’s up there will the Kiss and Motley Crue shows.


 If you want to know how to win over a crowd then the trio of Appetite songs that followed: ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, ‘It's So Easy’ and ‘Mr. Brownstone’ did the trick and throughout the night we get a full seven from that iconic debut. It’s quite telling this visit that the quota of songs from ‘Chinese Democracy’ has been pared back but in a way that actually does the newer material a favour and lets it stand up on its own against the older songs and as a result songs like ‘Better’, ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and ‘This I love’ especially stack up remarkably well.


In a night peppered with showcases from Axl’s troupe: DJ Ashba, Thal and Fortus solos shine as does Dizzy Reed’s cameo, seated on the piano, centre stage. For those nostalgic about past line-ups all seems to be forgotten when the band burst into songs like ‘Sweet Child O' Mine’ especially when Rose’s vocals are largely drowned out by the crowd screaming the words for all their worth. Some cynics will undoubtedly tell you that Rose had a few dodgy moments vocally tonight but who the hell out there can hit some of the notes he reached almost 26 years ago!  There is no doubt Axl’s voice has changed over the years and it suits the ‘seated’ section of the show where he sails through a cover of Pink Floyd's ‘Another Brick In The Wall Part 2’ before continuing into ‘November Rain’, ‘Don't Cry’ and a stunning rendition of ‘Knockin' On Heaven's Door’.


Closing the set proper with a great rendition of ‘Night Train’ the crowd has clearly enjoyed the evening’s entertainment and the acoustic introduction to the first of the encores: ‘Patience’ set up the crowd favourite beautifully. Everyone knew what was coming next and as the first notes rang out the whole arena seemed to surge for ‘Paradise City’ but whether it was the few months off of Axl simply over-reaching himself his vocals didn’t quite get there. On balance it wasn’t something that took away from the event as a whole; and these days with pop-stars using auto-tune (or worse) as a matter of course this is at least a man who has the guts to do it in the raw.



A great evening of music from two of America’s finest Rock bands.




by Mark Diggins