Axl Rose Shows Up at His Own Concert in Camden

Unfortunately, the Guns N’ Roses frontman showing up is less exciting than him not showing up

The last time 11 p.m. rolled around at a Philly-area Guns N’ Roses show with no sign of Guns N’ Roses, unrest was in the air. It was December 6, 2002, and some version of Axl’s band had managed to sell out the 17,500-seat First Union Center (now Wells Fargo Center) more than a decade after releasing any notable material. When word came shortly after 11 that Axl had decided to take the night off, fans rioted, destroying sound equipment and leading to the hospitalization of several people. Promoters canceled the remainder of the tour.

On Saturday night at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, the mood was decidedly calmer, even when Axl and friends took the stage at 11 p.m. sharp with pyrotechnics and the 1987 breakthrough hit “Welcome to the Jungle.” The 6,500-seat venue was almost full, though nearly a quarter of those in attendance got their tickets for free. Prior to the start, there were no “Guns. And. Roses!” chants, no fights, no unruly behavior of any kind. Just a lot of well-behaved people drinking a lot of beer. $12 beer.

The current tour got off to a seriously rocky start in October when Guns N’ Roses headlined Brazil’s Rock In Rio festival. They didn’t take the stage until 2:40 a.m., the production was rife with technical issues, Axl botched the lyrics to some of his most memorable songs, and, perhaps worst of all for the rock-and-roll image, he seemed bloated and fat. (Yellow is so not your color, my man.)

But other than a lame, unappreciative crowd (and an even lamer light show and video projection element, which seemed like a middle-school project rather than state-of-the-art animations and graphics), there was little to complain about at the Camden performance.

A leaner-than-Rio Axl blazed through all of the hits, including the often underrated “Estranged” (here’s live video of that tune), as well as a hefty amount of material from 2008’s Chinese Democracy, one of the most expensive albums ever made and a commercial disaster. Fans used the Democracy spots in the set list (and the drawn-out, indulgent instrumentalist solos that are obligatory in a two-and-a-half hour rock concert) as opportunities to get beer, use the bathroom, or catch a smoke outside.

The highlight came mid-show after “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” The band’s two guitarists (Slash is long gone) traded licks from Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In the Wall Part I” before a Monster-swilling Axl appeared at a grand piano, leading into “Another Brick In the Wall Part II” (aka “We Don’t Need No Education”). The crowd halfheartedly sang along. Axl abruptly cut short that song, played a little bit of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” followed by even less of Sir Elton’s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” before eventually landing on the nine-minute “November Rain.” “Epic!” texted a friend also in attendance, and he was right.

Axl Rose may be as crazy as they say he is, but the man wrote some great songs and performed them well on Saturday night. But short of a full scale Guns N’ Roses reunion, which has been hinted at in light of the original lineup’s nomination to the 2012 Rock Hall of Fame (Sammy Hagar wants to manage them), there’s little chance that he’ll ever be coming back here again.

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  • Joseph

    first of all your an idiot, a. youtube shacklers revenge with fight in camden, i was in the fight when axl stopped the show, b. the whole place was chanting guns n roses….like were u even there? do u just write this shit and make up what youd like it to be? axl had an awesome time the whole place was singing, im sure he’ll be back!!!!

  • Joseph

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  • Joseph

    vic your a douchebag and i doubt you were even there, ive never read such shit, theres no way you were even there

  • Victor Fiorillo

    Oh so you were in the fight when Axl stopped the show, and I’m the one who is a douchebag and an idiot? Got it.

  • josephcamdenshow1

    yes vic your a douchebag, your whole fn artical sounds as if you never attended due to the fact that nothing you said was true, i coulda got the little you did know outside in the lot after, unfortunately there was another douchebag who unfortunately WAS there while i was front row and trying to push my girlfriend so yes there was a fight and yes you are a douche, you should be sued, i mean wtf gives you the right to just write whatever and noooo fact whatsoever, guess your not one of those journalist who feels a responsibility to the truth, next time try writing what actually happened, or better yet actually go to the show im sure your boss would appreciate it.

  • josephcamdenshow1

    from your first fact….no guns n roses chants, that is a lie, no fights that is a lie, it was calm you say? that is a lie,…you know vic, the concert is on tape brother, anyone watching it on youtube or even listening to the mp3 wich was released online has the right to call you a douche and a liar………….

  • josephcamdenshow1

    chances are we will see axl again soon, the man had a good time i was two feet from him, the whole place was chanting and singing and going crazy, axl addressed one fight but it seemed the problem was removed………that would have been a good end instead of ..LIES, and bitching about tshirt costs