Guns ‘N Roses – Brooklyn Bowl (Brooklyn, NY)

Guns n Roses Brooklyn BowlGuns ‘N Roses played a semi-surprise show at Brooklyn’s most interesting bowling alley, packing the joint with thirty-somethings almost—but not quite—in ecstasy.

Obviously, the band isn’t used to playing “small” joints, and with all the running back-and-forth in an attempt to keep the energy flowing, the crowded stage resembled a bunch of lab rats in a box, looking unsuccessfully for a spot to hide. Amid studious Rock God posturing by Rose and his guitarist sidekicks, the band rolled out their hits one after another in a lengthy, well-orchestrated, very professional show.

If Bill Monroe defined the “High Lonesome” sound, Axl Rose defines “High Scratchy.” Rose, wearing shades, a hat and enough crosses to ward off Count Dracula and Sting was in good voice throughout, nailing “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Live and Let Die” and “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” Rose disappeared from the stage a number of times, allowing his three replacement guitarists (DJ Ashba, Tommy Stinson, Richard Fortus) to each take a solo number. I found that Ashba (who wore a neo-Slash top hat throughout the show) played the most interesting set: it concluded with a hard-rock version of “Fly Me To The Moon,” and actually worked.

A good show for those who’ve never seen the band live, but for most of us, an out-of-body experience. I felt I was watching sci-fi clones of a great band. I heard the music, but I didn’t feel the heat.

– Suzanne Cadgene

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