Project 400 In 365 # 5: Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion Live In Japan (2 discs)

In Movie Reviews on October 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Now, before everyone gets all “you are supposed to be doing movies” on me….I never said I was just going to do movies in this little project.  There are some great DVDs out there that are not movies, and I wanted to share and explore those as well.

Before I decided to review this one, I wanted to make sure that it is available to the public (many of these concert DVDs are only available through fan clubs or are limited released imports).  Both of these discs are available through Amazon, so I am clear.

I wanted to see if my memory was clear, and that there was a time when this band was the greatest rock band on the planet.  I wanted to try to forget the debacle that was Chinese Democracy from a couple years back.  I wanted to wipe from my memory the Slash / Axl feud, and all the subsequent side projects that resulted from the band fracturing.

As soon as the first notes of Nightrain hit, I remembered why these guys were legends in their time.  In this form (meaning with Matt Sorum instead of Steve Adler on drums), these guys WERE the greatest rock band to walk the face of the earth.  These dvds, which capture 3 nights at the Tokyo Dome, will give all fans of the band a great trip down memory lane.  The band is tight, sharp and on point every step of the way. This is rock the way it was meant to be, and today’s up and coming bands could use this set as an example of why you don’t need fancy stage shows to engage a crowd.

But you are left with an uneasy “what might have been” feeling.  Imagine if Axl had actually been nice…and the group would have been able to stay together.  We have all heard Velvet Revolver…but Scott Weiland is no match for Axl.  And as good as Slash’s solo work is with Myles Kennedy…it can not come close to the work done here.

This set is a great trip into the era when this band was all that mattered in music.

4 out of 5 stars




Mr. Brownstone

Live and Let Die

It’s So Easy

Bad Obsession


Pretty Tied Up

Welcome to the Jungle

Don’t Cry

Double Talkin’ Jive

Civil War

Wild Horses


November Rain

You Could Be Mine

drum solo and guitar solo

Theme from The Godfather

Sweet Child o’ Mine

So Fine

Rocket Queen

Move to the City

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door


Paradise City



The Use Your Illusion Tour was a promotional tour for the albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. The tour started on May 24, 1991, approximately when the long-awaited follow-up to G N’ R Lies was to be released, and ended over two years later. The release date of the album, or albums, since there were now two of them, was pushed back to September but the tour began as originally scheduled. The tour marked a high point in the popularity of Guns N’ Roses, with a total of over 7 million[1] fans attending, and accompanied by high worldwide album sales.

Live recordings from the tour would later be issued as a two video/DVD set, Use Your Illusion I and II, featuring footage from a 1992 concert in Tokyo, Japan and would also provide content for the 2-disc set Live Era: ’87-’93. The tour also provided a large volume of footage for music videos, including “Dead Horse” and their popular cover of Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die”. Also, at one time, footage of much of the tour was to be released as a documentary, titled The Perfect Crime. The footage consisted of Guns N’ Roses’ time on the road, concert footage, and information about the riots and other major events of the tour. It was never released and never spoken about after the tour. Slash mentioned in his biography that Axl is in control of the footage, and that Slash would be interested in viewing it, as he thought it captured some “killer moments” from the tour.[citation needed]

The conduct of the band, and particularly Axl Rose, during the Use Your Illusion Tour generated negative press, notably from the magazines Spin, Kerrang!, Circus, and Hit Parader. These magazines were mentioned in the song “Get in the Ring” where Axl Rose attacked writers who had written negative articles dealing with Rose’s attitude.

The shows were all varied, as a set list was never chosen by the band. They did, however, usually open with “Welcome to the Jungle”, “It’s So Easy”, “Nightrain” or “Perfect Crime” and would shortly after one another play “Mr. Brownstone” or “Live and Let Die”, and closed with “Paradise City”. Each show featured many guitar solos from Slash and a drum solo from drummer Matt Sorum, usually 6 minutes in length.[citation needed]

The Use Your Illusion Tour was massive not just in the number and size of performances, but also in its technical aspects and the size of the crew. A total of 80 working personnel traveled with the band during the tour. The trade magazine Performance named the tour crew “Crew of the Year” for 1991.
[edit] Notable events

At the June 10, 1991 show, at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Axl requested that the crowd shout “Get In The Ring!” over and over again, as it was being recorded for the new album. This chanting was used in the song by the same name on Use Your Illusion II.

On June 13, 1991, during the show in Philadelphia, Axl Rose erupted after a fan had gotten into a fight with Guns N’ Roses’ photographer Robert John when the fan kicked the camera out of his hands. Axl cursed out the fan, and challenged him to a fight. After the fan was ejected from the concert, the show continued.

On Tuesday, July 2, 1991, at a show at the Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights, Missouri, Axl spotted a spectator recording the concert with a video camera, and jumped into the audience after him when concert security failed to respond to Rose’s request to apprehend the man. After returning to the stage, Axl replied: “Well, thanks to the lame ass security, I’m going home!” then slammed the mic on the stage, sparking the infamous Riverport riot. Axl then stormed off the stage; some people thought when he slammed the mic, because of the noise, that he shot someone. Slash told them, “He just slammed his mic on the floor. We’re outta here.” He then proceeded to flip off the crowd and follow Axl. The band followed. The band was looking to come back out and finish the show, but as the police and security were trying to calm down the audience, a riot broke out. The footage was captured by Robert John who was documenting the entire tour. Sixty fans were injured. The band lost most of their equipment and Axl was charged with inciting a riot. He was acquitted due to lack of evidence.

On August 3, 1991, the day the Illusion albums were finished being mixed, Guns N’ Roses played the longest show of the tour at the L.A. Forum. It lasted three and a half hours.[2]

On November 7, 1991, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin quit the band after the release of Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, his last show was on August 31, 1991 at Wembley Stadium, on December 5 replacement rhythm guitarist Gilby Clarke made his debut in Worcester, it was the first show after the release of Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II.

On April 13 and 14, 1992, two concerts had to be canceled when a warrant was issued for Axl’s arrest due to the St. Louis show.

On April 20, 1992, the band performed at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, an effort for AIDS Awareness in London. Guns N’ Roses were a controversial addition to the lineup, as many in the gay community were still angry over Axl using a gay slur in the song “One in a Million.” The band opened with “Paradise City” and closed with “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” During the famous “Paradise City” opening, Axl pointed at a group of protesters in the audience and yelled “SHOVE IT!”[citation needed][clarification needed] He had planned to address the controversy between songs, but was asked not to by the band as it would pull the spotlight from Queen and Freddie Mercury. As Slash concluded a short cover of Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed,” bassist Duff McKagan kept an eye on Axl, who approached the front of the stage. When Slash finished the song, then strummed the beginning of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Duff walked over to Axl and shook his hand as an act of appreciation. Later in the show, Slash joined Joe Elliott of Def Leppard and the surviving members of Queen for “Tie Your Mother Down.” Axl sang “We Will Rock You” and finished “Bohemian Rhapsody” with Elton John and Queen. The show was broadcast live around the world via satellite, gathering the largest audience for a music concert in history.

On August 8, 1992, in Montreal, Quebec during the famously troubled GNR-Metallica Stadium Tour portion, Metallica frontman/guitarist James Hetfield’s left arm was badly burned due to misunderstanding about some new pyrotechnics added to Metallica’s stage setup. Metallica was forced to end their set early. However, the band was not present at the arena to begin before the scheduled time leaving fans to wait several hours before Guns N’ Roses finally took the stage. A few songs into the very late Guns N’ Roses’ set, audio problems resulted in the band not being able to hear themselves play and Axl stormed off stage due to vocal issues, sparking a huge riot that spilled into the streets.

On November 25, 1992, the band performed in Caracas, Venezuela, in front of a crowd of 45,000. Just two days later, the Venezuela Air Force launched a failed military coup, making it impossible for half of the band’s crew and all of their equipment to leave the country.[citation needed]

On November 30, 1992, the band performed for the first time in Bogotá, Colombia. When they started to play “November Rain”, a soft rain fell over the city and stopped right after they finished the song. Axl later stated this was a special moment for him because “November Rain” was #1 in Colombia for 60 weeks. Axl stated that the band were at risk of electrocution and must stop to dry the stage. The band moved backstage and returned to finish with “Don’t Cry” and “Paradise City.”

On December 2, 1992, the band performed in Santiago, Chile at Estadio Nacional in front of 85,535 people, breaking an attendance record in the stadium. At their arriving at Chile Axl attacked some graphic reporters and a camera man was injured. Before the concert, Axl got drunk and arrived at the stadium two hours later. While the band performed “Civil War” some people threw bottles to the stage, and Axl stopped four minutes the show. The concert ended with 50 people arrested outside the stadium, and a teenage fan with several injuries, dying two days later.

On July 17, 1993, the band performed in Buenos Aires, Argentina at River Plate Stadium in front of 80,000 people. It was their last show with most of the Use Your Illusion-era lineup (Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, Dizzy Reed and Gilby Clarke). The tour was renamed the “Skin N’ Bones Tour” for the last couple of legs and was a variation of the Use Your Illusion Tour, which included an unplugged performance in a living room set. A highlight of the night was Cozy Powell dressed as a Domino’s Pizza delivery boy playing drums with Sorum.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: