"Live Era '87'93" reviews

Guns N' Roses - Live Era '87 - '93

Rolling Stone:

If ever there was a contender for a "What the Hell Took You So Long?" award, this is it. A live Guns n' Roses set was overdue even back in the day when they indulged in such nonsense as releasing multiple albums on the same day and recording throw-away punk covers. Now, several years -- and musical revolutions -- down the line, a double live album from the long-dead original version of the band finally surfaces. Some will scoff; many more might not even give a s---. Pray for these fools, because they're f------ crazy. Bar a couple of exceptions, the twenty-one tracks on Live Era capture one of the last truly great American rock & roll bands in peak form, tearing ruthlessly through more than two hours of the most dangerous beautiful noise to ever ignite a club or shake a stadium. The guitars still slash (pun intended) and burn like Attilla the Hun on a rampage, the hooks still rip your heart in two and when Axl Rose introduces "Welcome to the Jungle" by screaming, "Wake up...time to diiiiiiie!" you just know you're gonna get hurt. And the songs! When was the last time a bridge floored you like that sucker punch at the end of "Rocket Queen"? The band's cover of "Live and Let Die" didn't make it on here, but songs as brilliantly crafted as "Rocket Queen" and "Estranged" would have done McCartney proud in his prime. Quibbles? Sure. A little identification on where and when the different tracks were recorded -- if only to know, say, when you're hearing Gilby Clarke on rhythm instead of Izzy Stradlin -- would have been nice. And surely a couple of the ten songs here from Appetite for Destruction could have been swapped for another gem or two from the Use Your Illusion albums ("My Michelle" or even "Mr. Brownstone" for the underrated "Dead Horse" or the magnificent "Civil War" would have been a sweet trade). But one good shot of the terrifyingly intense "Out Ta Get Me," "Pretty Tied Up" or pretty much any other random cut here and all the minor shortcomings are forgiven. Grab the nearest available Mansonites or children of Korn, blast this at them until they're broken down and shaking like Axl in the old "Jungle" video, and say, "Here kid, this is how it's done right." (RICHARD SKANSE)

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Copyright © 1999 Jarmo Luukkonen