August 31, 2002

W/R/T Axl: People are taking a lot of pleasure in talking about how bad the G 'n' R performance was. It wasn't so bad. Axl can't hit the high notes like he used to, and that's unfortunate, cuz that was his ace in the hole. But the new song he did -- the snippet in between "Jungle" and "Paradise City" -- sounded lovely. It'd be nice if Axl could grow old gracefully and stop trying to be something he was 13 years ago; he's got a good voice when he's not being Cornholio, and he should make the most of that. Not everyone can be Roger Daltrey or Steven Tyler -- at age 40, Axl is much younger than either of those guys, and he doesn't have to spend the rest of his life being a karaoke singer.

The new band wasn't half-bad, but I have reservations about calling them "Guns 'n' Roses" -- that's like having a stepfather insist that you address him as "dad." It's just weird looking up at the stage, seeing Axl, and NOT seeing Slash, Izzy, and Duff. I never thought of it as singluarly Axl's band, so that whole Axl-plus-rotating-lineup conceit doesn't feel right to me, plus it's unfair to the other members of the original group.

He seemed extremely lucid and articulate in the post-show interview with Kurt Loder, so I can't buy into the myth that he's spent the last decade in a Brian Wilsonesque schizotropic haze. I wonder what he has been doing, besides working on Chinese Democracy.