Guns N’ Roses really did play Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit

on October 22, 2012, 5:03pm

GNR Bridge School

Guns N’ Roses — or Axl Rose, for that matter — did the impossible and actually appeared on-time for their set at Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit this past weekend. The band brought their foul-mouthed swagger (spitting a few “fucks” in front of kids, no less) and stripped down their traditional 53 electric guitar medley for an acoustic-laden set that culled material off the band’s landmark 1987 debut Appetite for Destruction, 1988′s live GN’R Lies EP, and their latest album, ahem, 2008′s Chinese Democracy.

While Rose has long performed acoustic renditions of “You’re Crazy”, “Used to Love Her”, or “Patience”, heavier flair like “Better”, “Welcome to the Jungle”, and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” don’t traditionally receive the ol’ college dorm room try. Not surprisingly, those three cuts sounded beyond awful — especially “Better” — yet smilar to those creepy statues on Easter Island, it’s just something you need to see for yourself.

The evening also included a brief appearance by surprise opening act Eddie Vedder, who was reportedly tapped in case the band stuck to their usual set time of being two hours late. As he put it, “Good evening. I woke up this morning, this is the last thing I thought I’d be doing: opening up for Guns N’ Roses with an acoustic guitar.” The longtime friend and fan of Young rolled out acoustic cuts of Wayne Cochran’s “Last Kiss” and Pearl Jam’s “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”.

Replay the set’s official streams below (via Hidden Track).

“Welcome to the Jungle”:


“You’re Crazy”:

“Used to Love Her”:


“Sweet Child O’ Mine”:

“Last Kiss”, “Elderly Woman…” (Eddie Vedder):


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Summer Rose
November 9, 2012 at 11:55 am

The poor guy had strep throat for God’s sake..enough bashing him already. He did the benefit regardless of his condition of not being well. Show some appreciation.

November 4, 2012 at 8:33 pm

most excellent

October 24, 2012 at 1:24 am

To contribute to Bridge School also benefits myself from the pleasure of live music at the annual show. It’s all entertaining acoustics. Some so-so. Some recharges you and makes you happy. The irrelevant opening statement about Axl that he, ‘…did the impossible and actually appeared’, etc can be appreicated. I’ve read the media.

Years ago i was bummed when GNR broke up. I never got to hear them Live! I was surprised when I learned they were on BSB ticket. Would Axl flake? Simultaneously I rejoiced that I’d finally get to hear them live. Ok, so Slash and the original et al wouldn’t be there. I like Slash. Personality and talent. He has it all to play anywhere with anyone. With Velvet Revolver. However, vocal talent is as unique as a fingerprint. From Maria Callas to Roseanne Barr. Yes, there’s no i in team. The quarterback doesn’t win the game, the team and touchdowns do. True, no one’s indispensable but some are irreplaceable. Not to take away from Slash or anyone – their talents aren’t diminished because of it – fact is Axl’s voice makes GNR. If we must hear Slash without Axl then we must and vice versa. They’re equally talented and entertaining and the pleasure of hearing them is worth paying for. That stated, it would be nice if they’d appreciate each other and play together. For auld lang zyne. Maybe eventually they would’ve achieved success and fame separately or with others but did not – they made IT together.
Axl the ROCKSTAR spewed 2 “f” bombs at the SUNDAY show. I’d expect no less. Would it be more appropriate for a Lalapalooza? Uh, this is put on by…Neil Young. It was in front of not only kids spectating from onstage but also kids who sat amid the THC-permeated air above the lawn with me – which is more dangerous? Second-hand smoke really is unhealthy to everybody especially kids. Steve Martin remarked incredulously during his set, “I smell POT!” Actually, twice. Ben-e-fit + rockstars sometimes = little bad with good. Kudos to Shoreline’s vigilance at stopping smokers in our lawn section (it is a non-smoking venue now).

Ya think acoustic renditions of GNR don’t traditionally get the ol’ college dorm room try? Check youtube. Any song that is not originally acoustic that’s played acoustic, is going to sound different but that doesn’t mean awful. Mark Foster of FTP said that when he was asked to play he responded, “Are you sure you got the right band?…You know we play Electronica…”At SUNDAY’s show GNR didn’t sound awful (nor did FTP).

I couldn’t wait to hear Axl hit the highs and see him dance(as I’d seen on MTV). My concert mates scoffed. “He’s older now,” said they. I recalled once reading that Axl sang in his youth at church. Some are born to sing. Some are born to learn how to sing. Some just can’t sing(me). And then the band played. From the deepest growls to the highs, he hit ‘em – toward the end he didn’t wane he erupted. He moved to the music..then, a little more, and then, BOOM! He cut loose – the familiar slither dance! Afterwards, we all agreed “Jungle” rocked. Then we talked about which songs we liked best — there wasn’t one we disliked.
As far as the reference to the inanimate statues on Easter Island, I just cannot relate.

To be fair to this writer I did replay an official stream from Saturday’s performance. Hm, GNR sounded somewhat reserved. Axl ‘s Saturday voice wasn’t as strong as Sunday – some notes were shortened, some not as high, less stamina. Maybe Saturday warmed them up because at SUNDAY’s show GNR DID NOT DISAPPOINT! Last night Axl Rose made me happy.

DW Fraser
October 23, 2012 at 2:55 am

that was fucking horrible

October 22, 2012 at 7:03 pm

forget that it was for charity. forget the Axl-late-to-stage jokes. forget that it was unplugged. it was simply a terrible showing by Axl, and I have to believe even he, as an artist who probably *wants* to deliver a good product, would agree. Listen to Welcome to the Jungle (above). His voice blew out. He should have apologized and gracefully bowed out of the rest of the performance. This crowd, of all crowds, would’ve forgiven that – and preferred that – this washed-up, karaoke version of a potentially great set. Hopefully night 2 was better. This was an indefensibly, inarguably terrible showing for old man Axl. Time to move on and be a producer.

Rory Biller
October 22, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Have you all sat and watched these videos? The reviewer isn’t wrong…they butchered most of the songs. I don’t get it…somebody can’t call it shit because it was a benefit show?

I kind of liked the album version of ‘Better’, but that acoustic version should never happen again. I’ve seen other cover bands in local bars do better jobs of covering ‘Welcome to the Jungle’.

I get it. I’ve seen the new GNR a handful of times. Each experience offered something fun and unexpected. But when I got home and listened to recordings from the shows…that was a different story.

October 22, 2012 at 4:06 pm

way better than i expected, as i expected no axl at all, hearing the new cut acoustic was a real treat,

October 22, 2012 at 3:26 pm

It’s funny how everyone’s making a big deal about how he sang “fuck” in front of kids. Sure, he’s been a douche bag many times over the years but do we really need to know every time he cusses in front of kids. Those are the lyrics to the songs, for fuck’s sake, I’m sure he’s not the first person to ever say “fuck” in front of the kids, families, teachers etc at the Bridge School Benifit Concerts. In fact ” nice guy” Eddie Vedder, sang “fuck” at Bridge School as recently as 2010, so I don’t think it’s fair to point out any little thing that Axl Rose does that is offensive. Getting in fights in airports or refusing admission into the Rock Hall; this is what I’m talking about, I’m only interested in hearing about major acts of douchebaggery.

October 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Your a loser. And the joke of GNR not showing up is getting really old! You look at ALL the shows they have done over their career, they aren’t any different than most other bands. But yet, it’s “cool” to rip on Axl right? idiot

Lisa Donadio
October 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Really? Knocking someone for appearing at a benefit? Classy.

I was there night 2
October 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Look for night 2 feeds, they did much better, tightened a lot of things up.

October 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm

It was an acoustic benefit concert for special needs students. ACOUSTIC. Obviously, the band did it gratis. What is the point of kicking them in the arse with your “review”?

October 22, 2012 at 11:40 am

Geez man, Axl was not that bad… It was what it was…. His voice seemed surprisingly good, especially harmonizing with Neil last night during Don’t Let it Bring You Down..


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