Jul 31, 2021

Guns N Roses / Mammoth WVH - Hershey, PA

Category: Live Reviews

GUNS N ROSES / MAMMOTH WVH

7/31/21

Hershey, PA

 

Guns N Roses Set List:  

It’s So Easy, Mr. Brownstone, Chinese Democracy, Welcome To The Jungle, Double Talkin’ Jive, Slither (Velvet Revolver cover), Better, Estranged, Live and Let Die, You’re Crazy, Rocket Queen, You Could Be Mine, I Wanna Be Your Dog (Iggy Pop cover), Civil War (with Jimi Hendrix “Machine Gun” outro), Dead Horse, Slash Guitar Solo (Mannish Boy), Sweet Child O’ Mine, November Rain, Knockin’ on Heavens Door, Nightrain,  ENCORE: Paradise City

 Mammoth WVH Set List:

Don’t Back Down, You’ll Be The One, Mammoth, Mr. Ed, Resolve, Think It Over, You’re To Blame, Stone, Distance, Epiphany

 Opening Night of the 2021 Guns N Roses world tour, this was GNR’s  first big show post Covid Pandemic that took place in the land of Chocolate with Mr. Wolfgang Van Halen’s band serving as direct support.  The weather was beautiful with mid 80’s temperature and the tailgating was an affirmation that rock n roll concerts were back.  The entire side parking lot was loud music, barbecue grills, coolers, generators, corn hole games, and everyone was happy to be out, at a rock show, and partying their asses off.

 Guns N Roses had a tour trailer which offered fans first dibs at tour merch before doors opened and for the early birds there was a limited edition of 250, hand numbered, tour lithos for the Hershey show.  Most tour shirts were $50 and the merch was exactly what you’d expect:  shirts, hoodies, posters, beer koozies, bandanas, and patches.

 The show times changed week of show and gates opened at 5 PM, this made little difference though because Wolfie’s band did not take the stage until after 6:30 PM.

 For those who arrived early there was a fun treat:  Hearing Guns N Roses soundcheck and perform “Shadow of Your Love”, “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and another song.  “Dog” featured vocals by Duff McKagan while the other tracks were instrumental.  Mammoth WVH performed “Distance” without vocals during soundcheck and pieces of other tracks.

 Mammoth WVH were a great opener and the crowd absolutely adored their performance.  The only true issue with their set was a bad sound mix which made Wolfie’s vocals hard to hear at times depending upon where you were in the venue.  By the end of the bands performance the vocal issues were cleared up and “Distance” came through loud and clear.  Guitarist Frank Sidoris had a wardrobe malfunction midway through their set when his pants split.  After a certain point they were completely open in the crotch but he somehow never seemed to notice and finished the set with that area exposed.

 Mammoth WVH have powerhouse players in the band and bassist Ronnie Ficarro is an energetic performer who held the groove down tight with drummer Garret Whitlock.  

 Did I mention how amazing the weather was?  The cool 80 degree temperature made the transition from day to night perfect and the cool breeze made the long stage transitions bearable.  Mammoth WVH were done after 7 PM and Guns N Roses took the stage just around 8:30 PM.

 Guns N Roses are rock royalty, they created one of the most iconic rock records of all time in “Appetite for Destruction” and they’ve molded an entire career after that one record.  It’s ironic that the band has been around for 30+ years yet only released a handful of studio releases.  

 Frank, Dizzy, and Melissa did a prayer before taking the stage behind their riser area while AXL pranced into his tent where he would frequently go for shirt, hat, and bandana changes.

 The houselights dropped down, the PA stopped playing music and an announcer yelled, “You Wanted The Best but they couldn’t make it, so here’s what you get….from Hollywood, GUNS N ROSES!” and then AXL, Slash, Duff, and company took the stage to set Hersehy on fire!

 Opening with “It’s So Easy” Duff’s bass set the tone for the organized chaos that is Guns N Roses.  Slash looked healthy and slimmed down, Duff looked muscular and buff, Richard Fortus is looking like a taller Steve Stevens these days, while AXL seemed annoyed at times due to equipment issues and he joked that he was feeling his way back after the pandemic and having so much time off.

 “Dead Horse” was an interesting train wreck when AXL came in too early with the chorus, he played it off but it was noticeable.

 “Slither” originally by Velvet Revolver was an interesting surprise.  The band sounded excellent but AXL’s vocals were not as solid as the late Scott Weiland’s on that track.

 “Estranged” was the true center piece of this show and probably the most epic moment in the set where all band members shined bright and this was one of the show highlights.

 At times Slash’s guitar would drop too low and Fortus’s guitar would overpower his leaving Slash’s solo’s and rhythm parts almost impossible to hear at times from where I was.

 A surprise cover of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” featuring Duff McKagan on vocals was another highlight in the set.

 During “November Rain” AXL stopped the song and demanded his roadie fix his falling mic.  AXL came off diva-ish at times and changed his hats and shirts throughout the night.

 This show was definitely a bit shorter than previous shows with only 21 songs, and ending just before 11 PM.  There was no band bows at the end of the night and the encore consisted of one song, “Paradise City” with no confetti cannons.

 There were very few guitar picks tossed out, no drum sticks tossed out, and absolutely no crowd interaction due to covid.  Roadies wore masks onstage at times and Slash was seen before the show sporting a covid mask, glasses, and hat.  Post pandemic things are different but slowly coming back with “New” things in place.  Most concessions and merch tables accepted no cash.  

 In the crowd there were no masks worn, fans seemed excited to get back to normal life, and it definitely felt like old times with a few new rules in place.

 Interesting side note.  There was a huge drop in ticket prices closer to the show date.  Originally GA Pit tickets were around $250 but two weeks prior to show date they dropped down to $200.  The week of the show those same tickets dropped down to $149 and this was the Ticketmaster price.  On Stub Hub those same tickets went as low as $100 so word to the wise, if you are willing to wait it out on these higher priced shows you can definitely find cheaper prices closer to show date.  The upper level seats dropped down to $29 two weeks prior to show date.

 All in all Guns N Roses and Mammoth WVH delivered a real deal, big rock show that made everyone in attendance very happy!

 

Author: Bob Suehs