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Appetite for repetition: Guns N’ Roses’ latest residency offers more of the same

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Guns N Roses marked its return to The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to launch its second residency, An Evening of Destruction, No Trickery!, on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.
Photo: Erik Kabik

Three stars

Guns N' Roses May 30 & 31; June 4, 6 & 7; times vary, $50-$195. The Joint, 693-5222.

Back in 2001, when Axl Rose came to Las Vegas to stage the first Guns N’ Roses concert in eight years, it seemed like a miracle, even if the band didn’t include any of the other original members, and the new songs were from an album whose release date was some vague point in the future. Thirteen years later, a Guns N’ Roses concert is no longer a once-in-a-lifetime event; some of the members of Rose’s new band have been around far longer than any of the original members ever were, and songs from Chinese Democracy (finally released in 2008) are now time-fillers rather than exciting glimpses into the future.

So there were no surprises during the second show of the band’s latest residency at the Joint, which, despite a new title, is almost exactly the same show as the previous residency in 2012. Rose and his seven bandmates cut down a bit on the Chinese Democracy songs (only four, including the dreadful dirges “This I Love” and “Catcher in the Rye”), but the lengthy show (running about two hours and 40 minutes) still included momentum-killing solo spotlights for all three guitarists (Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, Richard Fortus, DJ Ashba), bassist Tommy Stinson and keyboardist Dizzy Reed, plus various instrumental jams, to give Rose ample time to spend backstage.

Rose’s mysterious breaks can probably be credited for the top-notch condition of his voice, which remains GNR’s biggest draw. As usual, he started off a bit shaky, but by the time he hit the epic “Estranged,” he sounded as strong as ever, and hearing him tear through songs like “Live and Let Die,” “Civil War” and “Don’t Cry” nearly made all the tedious down time worth it. And although their solo segments are underwhelming at best, Rose’s fellow GNR members are all talented musicians who brought every one of the band’s classics to life. A decade ago, Rose was fighting against the idea of being seen as a hard rock nostalgia act, and just because that’s exactly what GNR has become doesn’t mean they can’t deliver on it.

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