|Even after all of these years, there's still nothing quite like a Guns N' Roses concert.
2012 saw the band enjoy a few live milestones—more than most can cop to. First off, back in March, Guns N' Roses initiated its "L.A. Takeover". They put on three iconic shows at intimate Los Angeles venues including The Palladium, The Wiltern, and The Sunset Strip House of Blues. The gigs proved to be star-studded affairs with everyone from Charlie Sheen to Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose appearing in the audiences. However, the real stars were the band.
DJ Ashba, Richard Fortus, and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal shredded with incisive six-string virtuosity, teetering between visceral and vibrant. Tommy Stinson's punk-i-fied bass wallop punched intensely. Meanwhile, Frank Ferrer pounded out stadium-size grooves that practically broke the Richter scale. Of course, we can't forget Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman sprinkling classical elegance during the likes of "Estranged" and industrial violence on "Shackler's Revenge".
Axl Rose stood at the helm of this well-oiled rock 'n' roll monster, guiding it like Godzilla decimating Southern California. Rose sounded insurmountably alive as he ignited classics like "November Rain" and "You Could Be Mine" with an unshakable delivery. His charisma remains legendary, as he transfixed the jaded Los Angeles crowd holding in the "Jungle" for over three hours each night. They gyrated along with him and begged for more even in the staggering set list.
After the "Takeover", the group transplanted this mind-blowing experience to The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas for Appetite for Democracy. After going on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Rose provided the entire audience tickets to the residency. For the month of November, the band consistently slayed Sin City audiences with a transcendent show including everything from Rose flying over the crowd while playing the piano for "November Rain", to pyro as hot as "Mr. Brownstone", and a bevy of writhing dancers. It was everything an evening in Vegas should be and so much more.
Guns N' Roses capped the year off with an historical run of India. Watching the band multiple times, it feels like the start of the next phase still. There's no place like the jungle run by Mr. Axl Rose, and there never will be. That's why we're naming Guns N' Roses our Best Live Act of 2012.