Concert Review : Guns N Roses Live in Jakarta 16-12-2012

There were three main impressions I got on my indirect ‘survey’ from fellow attendance coming to see GnR that day before the concert.
1. GnR is not cool without Slash and co., should be Axl band not GnR.
2. Axl is 50, he won’t cut it anymore..at least they’re coming to Indonesia
3. I don’t recognize them. What could the new members give to us? Slash is God.

As a real GnR and Axl fan that always follow the band, I was a bit

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DREAM COMES TRUE.

Venue : Mata Elang International Stadium, Jakarta
Att. : +/- 7000

Two years back prior to the concert, I had dreamed of Axl Rose coming to my country. They had already been touring for 2 years since then, total 4 years if the 2006-2007 tour is counted. To me it looked impossible literally. And given their records of being late coming to stage, I didn’t have any idea what would be the reaction over here if that case happened. And Slash is also very popular in this country, so what is the point of seeing new Guns N Roses when there is no Slash, Duff, Adler, and Izzy. So personally it is up in the air, hoping but not expecting. (Don’t get me wrong, I really love the new band and their album)

But about two months ago, what I read came as a total shock to me. Guns N Roses is coming to Jakarta 15th of December 2012. Woaa! I automatically checked other GnR websites and other local media to verify my excitement. YES, it is positive. I erupted in joy and sweared that I will sacrifice everything to be able to come to their upcoming show over here, in Jakarta. And realizing that only India, Indonesia, and Japan that GnR are going to visit, this become very special. They decided to entertain us, what on earth this would be!

Chinese Democracy was certified gold time ago. Very good to this current standard, but long time ago Appetite and Illusions got a big sales over here, so of course we are expecting those hits. The challenge for GnR will be two things : new materials and the new members. What will we get? (read my preview above)

Okay , let’s go to the show.
The show started around 01.30 PM, 30 minutes late from the originial schedule, 01.00 PM. (an achievement, isn’t it? :D)
After waited for one hour or more (12 AM we have entered the venue), finally the show began.

1. Chinese Democracy
The lights go down (altough not 100%, we could see Richard went up the drum raiser)
And the famous riff I always hear on You Tube, now we got it on the flesh. Always a great opener, the song raised our voice up and hit the top when Axl finally came up as the last man. Although I believe not many were familiar with the song, but we enjoyed that.

2. Welcome To The Jungle
…and the show began. One no needs to explain how is this song always working on stage. People jumping, screaming, and of course helping Axl singing the song. To me this is the main gear when all the ‘new’ members started to catch the attention of all the crowds (read my prelude above)

3. It’s so Easy
Almost no warning, the Jungle sequenced into the bass intro of another Appetite tracks, and of course it wAs also worked out.

4. Mr. Brownstone
Quite 5 seconds after It’s So Easy, we were ‘introduced’ with the ‘new’ drummer, Frank Ferrer. He re-shaped the drum intro a bit, the people shake their bodies and clapped. When the guitar riff began, we screamed again and then erupted when Axl started singing. Although not a sing-along, but it was a top performance. Up until this one Axl haven’t yet greet us and still continue talking with their music. Oh yeah, Axl voice was on 100% top, almost erased the doubt of many audience that he could not cut it anymore.

5. Estranged
Time to give the tempo some rest. But Indonesian commonly have big crush with ballad, slow rock. So this gorgeous epic song became one of the highlight of the show. The guitar riff and solo are the cupcakes of this song, 3 guitarists played it so brilliant that it was highlighted on the 4 screens available on the venue.

6. Rocket Queen
Still no chat from the members, we were automatically transferred into another rock’n roll party, that is Rocket Queen. A fan favorite, I was more amazed with how Axl can still sing all the high notes although not 100% seamlessly like in the album. To me this is the highlight, I sang the lyrics so loud as this is my favorite song.

7. Richard Fortus solo
Finally Axl says something. Not so clear but he said something like “Thank you. This is maybe the first time I say this on concert. Good Afternoon!” with smiling on his face. Of course we all cheered up. Then Axl introduced Richard to play the solo. I consider him as the ‘3rd’ guitarist behind DJ and Bumblefoot, but he was really cool on that performance. Most audience who wasn’t familiar with all the guitarists (unlike me) got goosebumps watching Richard played. Great!

8. Live and Let Die
Another sing-along. Tje Paul McCartney track really worked out life. Despite not the very best flares and pyros, but we loved the performance (okay, not so many know how the pyros worked on another LaLD performances). Moat of the audience sang the lyric, such a fascinating moment. In the middle I recalled how bad Axl sang this on Rock Am Ring 2006 but here in 2012 he sang it flawlessly, such a great energy.

9. This I Love
The ‘new’ trIack. A clever way to put Chinese materials in the middle of the show. I believe not many of the audience know the new songs but I always believe this is Axl favorite song, so now I can watch him singing this ballad in the flesh and not searching on You Tube. The song works, Axl sang it so beautiful and flawless (altough not a sing along A as expected) and we clapped our hands before a very emotive and hot Axl Rose.

10. Better
The should-be-first-single track from Chinese Democracy. I was very anxious to see this song performed and as always, it worked out. The song was so powerful and we enjoyed that (although somehow I missed Robin Finck touch on this). Axl falsetto and anger style are very visible on this song, the crowds love it.

*Band Introduction
Finally it’s time for Axl to introduce his new band. In my eyes, on Indonesian audience, that was the baptism ceremony of the new members that opened our eyes about how extra ordinary those musician are regardless of our crush with Slash and co. This answers my impressions above. Another thing, how Axl introduced them, and consider how long they have been with Axl, I can proudly scream to my colleagues around that they are looking like best friends, brothers, something that I believe didn’t happen during the Illusion years.

11. Motivation
Tommy Stinson stepped forward to the microphone and performed this song so graciously while also unbelievably played the electric bass. More like post-punk/alternative track, it gave new dimension to this concert especially with Growling and unique Stinson vocal style.

12. “No Quarter”
although labeled as Dizzy’s solo, it was more of the band performance with Dizzy as the leader. JPJ used programmed piano for this one but Dizzy used the normal piano. He played the melody so beautifully with the band played the rhythm. I had no idea who played the guitar riff, but I’m sure more than one guitarist. I love this Led Zeppelin track although it’s obvious my friends around me had no idea what that fuck is that song :). So I sang the lyrics so loud with most of the people staring at me LOL

13. Catcher in the Rye
The ‘new’ track that the band had just performed in the last 1 or 2 year of their 4-years-ongoing tour. I was not familiar with this one, so as with other audience I listened to it carefully and yes, it is a great track. Maybe a more acoustic approach will do a lot of favor to this song’s performance on the stage.

14. The Blues
My favorite track from CD. Honestly I am very waiting of this since the concert began. While other colleagues didn’t know much about the song, I lonely sang this song so loud after the band performance. The band played it very beautiful, much better than what I saw on Rock Am Ring video, perhaps the best performance of the new track. The crowds cheered very loud after the song ends, as I say we love ballads / slow rock. Axl sang the melody so perfect and gorgeous.

15. You Could Be Mine
After ‘momentary’ Chinese Democracy session, the show now back on purpose. The thunderous drumming of Frank Ferrer lift the bar again and we are jumping and screaming. The band were on fire.

16. Sweet Child of Mine
Big Cheers, Massive sing-along, Jumping, screaming, fantastic guitars, and Axl incredible voice. Well, need I say more
But at this moment I felt that the people celebrated DJ Ashba as the Slash’s ideal replacement as he played the riff and the wonderful solos, not to mention his hat which is very similar to Slash’s one.

17. Another Brick in the Wall
Currently, the played this song in its entirety, contrary to 2010 earlier where they only played snippet off this song). This is my favorite Pink Floyd track. Much to my surprise, many people know the track and sang the lyric together with Axl who was already sitting in the front of the piano. The jam of ABitW I and ABitW II was so enjoyable, keyboardists added some delicate sounds that made the moment more haunting.

18 November Rain
I believe we all love the song. So of course naturally it always be one of the highlights of every Guns N Roses show. We all helped Axl sing the song as expected. The nice thing was that Axl many times took the opportunity to stare at us while singing the song and it was so personal, very intimate. I think he knows how much we love the song. Another memorable part is that the 3 guitarists worked together to play all the solos on this epic. Well, we didn’t miss Slash literally, did we?

19 Objectivity (Bumblefoot Solo)
Up until this time Bumblefoot was looked like overshadowed by cool appearance of Richard and the virtuoso Slash-lookalike DJ Ashba. It was his turn now, he sang one from his solo album with also playing guitar. A punk music, nice addition to make this show more colorful

20 “Indonesia Raya”
The moment that we will never forget. Bumblefoot really stole the show at this time. He played our national anthem with guitar only and the people like WOW!! No need to order, we step forwaRD to help him sing the lyrics altogether and what a moment that was! A lovely way to touch us and of course it became headlines on our national media the following day.

21 Don’t cry
What a haunting moment when the band performed this. The sing-along from the beginning with a slow tempo, plus the blue-lighting on the stage made this moment perhaps the top of the game on this show. I can see from other eyes around me that this song meant a lot to us, we sang it from our heart. I repeat, this is the top.

22 The Seeker
A pleasure to see GnR played this song. Catchy track from The Who, GnR as always made it their own. But I think Axl can sang it better. Not many people recognize the song except me and the few others. Towards the end of the song I presume that maybe this track is kind of resort for the band on their show, opportunity to make some rest especially Axl.

23 Civil War
I think this is when Axl was really on the height of his game that day. Incredible range, perfect screaming, he sang it so emotionally that people might think he is a victim of a real civil war. It was an epic, maybe only I.R.S (track from Chinese D,) who can stand side by side with Civil war in terms of theme and arrangement.

24 Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
I don’t need to explain how this song worked live eh? Another sing-along definitely. And Axl reached all the high notes, my god more than 2 hours and he is still able to cut it??

25 Nightrain
The closing song of the main chapter of this show. As an Appetite track, of course the crowds cheered it. But somehow I think the band can do it better or was it just me think the crowd didn’t enjoy the entire song. I thought it was maybe because the highlights of the who had preceded this song (“Sweet Child of Mine”, “November Rain”, “Don’t Cry”, “Knockin on Heaven’s Door”, “Civil War”) where the crowd at their feet and now become tired when Nightrain came on . Fortunately the last chorus when Axl screamed his lungs out and fantastic guitar interplays raised the bar again and the crowds jumping and screaming a lot.

26 Jam “Waiting on A Friend”.
Richard, Bumblefoot, and Dj Ashba came on to the stage with acoustic guitars after about 5-minutes”We want more” chants. Not many know, but after 1 minute the famous riff was played I already know that will they play. Funny moment when a string of audience in then back of us sang two Indonesian pop songs who surprisingly fit in with the acoustic jam.

27 Patience
Again I recalled when Axl struggled to sing this song on many occasions on You Tube (well, I’m YT freak_. But again he erased my doubt, from the whispering till the last chorus he sang it like a gentleman. And of course as I said earlier, it’s another sing-along (how many sing-along on this concert already happened?). Such a sweet performance, the three guitarists also played the harmony so gracefully.

28 Paradise City
Begun with a jam, this epic song really top off the show. We sang this anthem together with Axl, and then started jumping on our feet. The band show what they can do to fire this hole, and what a perfect song to end the show. The performance maybe wasn’t the same mega as with other concerts due to quick preparation, but We Love It!! It’s a fucking screamer.

After the show they appreciated us and then went backstage. So funny, they came back again and hugged in front of us and then in the end bowed out and leave. Axl still stood and greet us that we were very amazing, which we responded so enormously. He also took the chance to apologize for the postponing of the show and then throw the mike stand while smiling. Again he bowed us and then finally leave, left us who were still in another horizon can’t believe what we had just seen. A hell of a show. Paradise of course!!

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TRAIN Concert Review – Jakarta, December 5th 2011

Monday evening, 5th of December 2011. It was the best day of my life.
My dream comes true, I could watch my favorite band Train play in front of my eyes after 10 years hearing them in my car’s tape, radio, television, and You Tube. Guys, you must know how it feels watching your favorite band come and play the songs that you love!

VENUE
The venue is Oval Plaza, in Epicentrum Walk, a prestigious high-class area in the central of Jakarta city. Originally it is an open space inside a mall, but the Epicentrum Walk has used it for music concert place. Surely the place was not intended as a musical venue, so we won’t expect fantastic sound and it was true, the sound during the concert wasn’t perfect, especially the echoes and the unbalanced mix of instrument’s sounds during the opening and Train show. Surrounded by two floors of the shopping center filled with cafe and small restaurants (access was blocked during the concert), the promoters re-arrange the entire place to be like a real concert stage.

Almost 2000 people showed up for Train concert in Jakarta, about 250 people are foreigners and some are coming from Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. It is make sense since this is the first Train visit to Indonesia and they are just popular over here thanks to “Hey Soul Sister”, while they their first album was out at since 1996 actually. Also the announcement for the concert came just two weeks ago.

THE CONCERT
Enough story, let’s go to the music. The Jakarta concert was late 1,5 hours due to technical difficulties. But nobody seems aware :). Music starts at 8.00 and everybody was standing up.The opening act was Aditya, an Indonesian male singer which seems to have a modest professional career since his first album out at 2005. But anyway, he put a fine show and those funky pop 8 songs are well received by unfamiliar audience. IMO, he has a great movement and know how to interact with the audience, didn’t look pedestrian despite the fact most of the crowds didn’t know him before. Another Indonesian great prospect..

Then after 40 minutes intermission, finally at 09.40 PM (too long, supposed to be 8.00) the locomotive sound echoing through the PS. Everybody cheers, then comes the 4 players of Train band (Train is only 3 members). I came very early at 6.30 to reach the front row and fortunately I got Jimmy Stafford standing in front of me. After 1 minute intro, Pat Monahan came out and singing the first lyric of “Parachute”
And Oh My God, I couldn’t believe my self, my favorite band esp. Pat were standing in front of my eyes. No I don’t care the expensive ticket, it was just heaven.. I’m in cloud no.9 ^_^
I even didn’t bring my camera because I won’t let any minute of this concert go away, this is my most favorite band FFS.

To make my review more structured, I’ll review song by song 🙂

1. Parachute
The opening. I was surprised they open with a new song, and a non single song. Well, I can say most of the people didn’t know the song except the fans that have bought the CD. But anyway, this is Indonesia, and don’t ever expect people watching concert eating their bubblegum or chat with friends during song that they don’t know. We all screaming and cheering through the song, some are jumping to follow rhythm. The music was powerful although I see the engineers busily check and adjust the already woo sounds. And as expected, the air become a parade of blackberries, mobile phones, and digital cameras.

2.If It’s Love
Only 5 seconds interception with Pat say “Hello Jakarta”, the band went into ‘If It’s Love’. A more familiar song, the audience singing the chorus together and paying attention carefully (or should I say listening?) when Pat singing the rest of the song. Well, I can say the band rocks! Wish it was inside a real concert venue..

3. Meet Virginia
“Could we go to the old school days?” says Pat before starting ‘Meet Virginia’. With average sound quality, I was struggling to hear the nice intro like on the record. However I see most of the audience didn’t know the song. And it was confirmed when Pat asked how many of us know that song. Since Train was very popular in Indonesia because “Drops of Jupiter” and “Hey Soul Sister”, so it is reasonable. But as I say above, we all enjoyed the song. I sang some lyrics but hey, Train songs were rarely sing-along compositions except the mass chorus. The live version surely is a much rockier version than the country-flavored recording version. Everybody is clapping and screaming after the song finished. Oh those girls’ frenetic screaming were just never stopped..

4. Get To Me
Due to bad audio, we were struggling to hear the opening verses of “Get To Me” and Pat several times did eye contacts with the sound engineers. Fortunately when Pat screamed the chorus (that was the time I realized which song they play then), they have fixed the buzz sound. The crowds enjoy the funky beat song very much although apparently only me and a few sang the song together with the band. But in the end the band repeat chorus over and over again because the audience finally sang the chorus so loud, seems the band were surprised how quick Indonesia audience can got the lyrics for songs they rarely heard before. Scott played the drums later part like a disco beat. So that was a happy ending of ‘Get To Me’

5. Don’t Stop Believing (Journey cover)
Pat said he needs someone to help him sing the next song because he was amazed with the crowds so far. He also said thank you for inviting them to Indonesia, and sorry for coming now after so long.
And when that famous piano intro began, I was surprised. They play Journey song! Unfortunately Pat picked a girl to accompany him on stage singing ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ although I had raised my hands when he asked who know this song. Well, the majesty of this song was interrupted because that girl didn’t know the lyric much (the 2nd verse). And Jimmy can’t play the solo fluently like Neal Schon. At least the band play this cover fine.

6. She’s On Fire
Hmm, I cheered up again when Jimmy played the intro, and all the people again screaming and singing the chorus together. Shockingly, Pat stopped after the first chorus, asking who love country music. He then picked the acoustic guitar and a cowboy hat, singing the rest of the song in country-style. And while the Christmas is far away, Pat threw his cowboy to the crowd, and My God he gave that acoustic guitar with his autograph to a lucky bastard boy in the front row, and it was not me!

7. Dance music intro and Hey Soul Sister(snippet)
It’s party time. Before the music of ‘She’s on Fire’ really end, Pat invites two girls to the stage and dance together to end the song. And then abruptly Pat invites more girls to come on stage, well how can I describe you, it was like a riot or moshing. But peacefully the security helped around 18 girls to jump the fence and went to the stage with Pat just steadily watching from the corner, while the bands keep playing some funky rhythm led by Scott Underwood.
And then Pat order two girls to dance as crazy as they can when Scott and co played a disco beat. “I don’t know why I have to watch this shit” Pat grumbled followed by all people laughing out loud. Then with keyboard background, they sing ‘Hey Soul Sister’ chorus together three times. Sooo sweet Pat!! I don’t know if you also did this at other concerts..
And without warning, all girls refused to leave the stage until the security pulled them out haha 🙂

8. Calling All Angels
The hit from their 3rd album, and this is one of my favorite. They sang this full and what a performance. Pat screamed his lungs out and Jimmy delivered the melody so fluently with strong keyboard playing. To be honest I really love the studio recording, it is so beautiful. In live performance, we cannot expect the hiding violin or other instruments, just full rock! So I’m not complaining 🙂
Pat and the audience sang the “I won’t give up, you wont give up” together numerous times until the song faded away..

9.Save Me, San Francisco
The staple vocal intro in the live version of this song, and we all cheered up and sang together. It’s a happy song, everybody’s clapping and shaking their bodies. One of three highlights of the show but certainly my most favorite song with ‘Calling All Angels’. If the arena was big, then we could jump..

10. I Got You
A more straight-forward song from the new album. While most people seemed unfamiliar with the lyric, but the rockier tune successfully tuned up us again and made the crowd didn’t forget that was a rock concert. A steady rhythm from Scott and the bass player, it was well received. Well so far none songs weren’t well received.

11. Marry Me
Another highlight. Pat said it has been a tradition in North America that he always goes down the stage to take photo. Before that he presented the song for those who wants to get married. Wish there was an unexpected proposing on stage hmm…
Jimmy started the intro and yes, it’s a staple of a Train show nowadays. Pat walked from side to side under the stage and took photos with the front audience using their cameras, he climbed the hence and having the crowd as the background. Lucky I get one with my friend’s camera, I’ll keep it till I die 🙂 . I Counted he did about 12 photos with the front audience while still keep singing with beautiful voice. So romantic!

12. Hey, Soul Sister
“And now it’s time to party” Pat said after the last song finished. Jimmy took the ukulele and everybody on earth erupted in joy while they hear the intro of the song they know and really love for good. At some point, I’d rather go to You Tube hearing this song ,rather than in concert, because everybody was singing it so loud. But then I sang it together and without doubt, we all erupted in joy forget the fact that 50% weren’t Train fans actually. The band play it fluently despite the mass crowd singing, and that’s it, the end of the main concert. All the players went backstage then followed by big chants “We Want More! We Want More!” 5 foreign girls beside me (European) screamed “Lagi! Lagi” made me laughed (‘Lagi'{Indonesia} = More)

Encore:
13. Words
7 minutes is enough. They came back and played another new song “Words”. WOW! 8 NEW SONGS from total 14 despite that album hit the shelves at 2009. A brave but reasonable step from Train. Unlike Parachute or I Got You, I viewed the crowds were also familiar and sang the chorus together save the fact that this song is a non single/hit

14. Drops of Jupiter.
Just exactly “Words” ended, Jerry Becker the additional keyboardist played the famous piano intro. My tear was almost fallen since I already know this is their definitive closing song at their concert since 2001. Well, I decided to pay attention 100% to this performance and enjoy the song, singing it passionately with my throat almost got sucked to dry. As always, the mass choir on chorus and what a perfect song to a perfect end of a perfect show. “Na na na na na na na na na…” and then it ended. They shared a hug and lovely waved goodbye to us. God I almost cried but that’s it, the best evening, the best day of my life.

I was still standing for 10 minutes after Train left the stage, could not believe my self and tried to recall the views I have witnessed and overjoyed. That was the band whose musics have accompanied me during car driving and spare times.
Meanwhile, I also got 4 new great friends, Timothy, Dion, Lydia, and Lina with whom I watched the concert together in the front. Well they aren’t Train fans unfortunately :D, but we enjoyed the concert together, singing at most choruses. Maybe we’ll meet again at Katy Perry’s concert next year 🙂
Fin.