‘GUNS OF AGES’
Split has, as it should be when you’re in the heart ofDalmatia, in the early afternoon of Tuesday welcomed us bathed but the sun. Hour after hour in a good company flew fast and some minutes after the19:00Spaladium Arena has opened the doors. Fans are filling first rows and very soon on the stage is the young local band, Maršal, the first opening act for legendary Guns N’ Roses. Maršal iz coming from Sinj and play good, old hard rock. Gathered audiences has positive response to theri show and everything would be almost idyllic if guys add a bit style diversity into their music because their show is a bit monotonous and if you’re not ready to that you’ll soon consider the short walk to get the beer or something similar. But despite of that Maršal is really young and perspective band worth of attention.
After the short break and instrument changing on the stage is minion of Croatian rock audience, Zoran Mišić and shortly before Guns N’ Roses he’s burning the stage with songs from his album ”Strah od nepoznatog” (The fear of the unknown) among which, as was expected, the laureate is the song ”Gdje si sad”, his first single. Zoran Mišić has opened his show with heavy ”Moja generacija’‘ and within the moment proved why he is considered as the best vocals of the rock vawe on Croatian scene. Zoki played also ”Izgubljeni raj”, ”Hridi samoće” and ”Vodi me”. Already then Guns N’ Roses stageheads were giving the signals it’s time to Zoran Mišić and his band to leave the stage that should be preapared for the stars of the night. Zoki has closed his set with one of the strongest songs on his album, ”Dolina suza and leaving the Spaladium Arena ready for Guns N’ Roses.
The time is slowly passing while the stage is getting ready for Guns N’ Roses. Their show time is scheduled for22:00and there is more and more people on the standing area, sitting area is filled with people and everyone is excited to see Axl Rose and his band. And exactly at the moment when the impatient audience was thinking Axl will in his well known manner late few more minutes, at 22:30 the lights are off and the intro ”Splitting the Atom” by Massive Attack is on. On the first beats of ”Chinese Democracy” when Axl is coming out on the stage on the standing area is literally ”jungle”, few thousands of people in a wild run is trying to reach the front rows in which the audience is trying to hold the protective fence and catch some air. Axl is noticing the chaos that could, as it is about many people, easily result even with a death cause and stopping the concert with asking the audience on the standings to do the step backwards. I guess only a few did it when the concert continued with timeless hits ”Welcome to the Jungle” or ”Mr. Brownstone”. The security guys then took the situation in theri hands, few of guys from the front rows are taken to the ”0-row” to be able to breathe and concert gets the picture of the real spectacle. Axl Rose, whom we had the chance only 20 days ago in Graz, has shown the better shape inSplit, vocally and physically and truly enthused during the three hours long show. His expressive performance of the song ”Sorry’‘ from the album ”Chinese Democracy” has once again aroused audience’s interest but still the old hits ”Rocket Queen” that even 20 years after its premiere sounds fresh and a bit provocative and legendary ”Estranged” was audience’s favorites. The great combination of the ”This I Love” that is the ballade with the same strong potential as timeless ”Don’t Cry” and ”Used To Loved Her” were trigger not only for the audience but also to Axl Rose who was smiling on the stage. ”Street Of Dreams” is another song from the album ”Chinese Democracy” that had very loud support from the audience and Axl and the guys additionally excited the audience with very devoted stage approach and constant interaction with the audience. There was also the time for Richard Fortus’ solo and later also DJ Ashba’s solo and when it comes to Mr. Ashba, the audience adjudicated after the concert he is just a perfect one to replace Slash. ”Sweet Child O’Mine” was the reason for another, this time positive, chaos in the hall in which will from time to time on the stage ended t-shirts with messages for the one of the strongest frontman in rock music, bandanas, bras…… while Axl Rose regaled Spaladium Arena with his piano performance of the cult Pink Floyd’ ”Another Brick In The Wall” on which the band ‘attached” one and only ‘‘November Rain” during which voices of the audience melted with Axl’s. Bumblefoot than cheered us up with ”Glad To Be Here” and the audience was, following Bumblefoot’s solo, continued the concert by singing the song ”Don’t Cry”. At least until the moment when Axl Rose dressed in white jacket and hat appeared on the stage and started again from the firs like: ‘‘Talk to me softly, there’s something in your eyes….” followed the Spaladium and there were even some tears in audiences eyes. Then it was a time for AC/DC ”Whole Lotta Roise” cover, Bumblefoot’s guitar almost remained in the audience and ”Civil War” additionally deepened the enthusiasm the same as ”Knocking On Heaven’s Door” and in the end ”Nightrain”. Guns N’ Roses are in the overheat atmosphere leaving the stage, the audience get them back so Axl continue with ‘‘Madagascar”, ”Patience”….. DJ Ashba is leaving the stage and goes among the audience on the grandstands…. Spaladium is only a step away from the explosion! And then… ”Paradise City” and thousands of confetti are falling on the audience.
Even after three hours long concert the Splita udience wanted more. In the end, it wouldn’t be fair to wish anything else but wide smile on Axl Rose and other musician’s faces and deep bow to Croatian audience that, it seems, once again delighted and positive surprised them. And Axl Rose has proved once again it’s really hard to keep the speed with him when it is about singing and as a frontman of one of the biggest rock bands in the world he’s with his 50 year of age still one of the greatest.
To be in Spaladium Arena on Guns N’ Roses concert, their second in Croatia, was to be honest cultural obligation of everyone who keeps up his/her rock reputation. Around 6000 people haven’t left Spaladium Arena dissatisfied. Moreover, heavy and bombastic audience response has been an invitation to Axl Rose and his Guns N ‘Roses to return to Croatia at least one more time. I hope soon!
Report: Ivana Sataić
Photo: Anastazija Vržina, Vedran Levi