Jun 26, 2016

Gun N Roses / Alice in Chains - Fed Ex Field

By Bob Suehs

GUNS N ROSES / ALICE IN CHAINS

June 26, 2016

Fed Ex Field

Washington, DC

 Guns N Roses Set List: It’s So Easy, Mr. Brownstone, Chinese Democracy, Welcome To The Jungle, Double Talkin’ Jive, Estranged, Rocket Queen, You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory/Raw Power, You Could Be Mine, This I Love, Civil War, Coma, Godfather Theme (Slash solo), Sweet Child o’ Mine, Better, Out Ta Get Me, Wish You Were Here/Laya, November Rain, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, Nightrain, ENCORE: Patience, The Seeker, Paradise City

 Alternate Songs: Nice Boys, Think About You, Used To Love Her, Perfect Crime, Yesterdays, Sorry, Slither, Whole Lotta Rosie

 Alice in Chains Set List:  Stone, Them Bones, Again, Check My Brain, Rooster, Got Me Wrong, No Excuses, Man In The Box, Would?

 Alice in Chains took the stage at 8PM sharp and the stadium was a little more than 1/2 filled.  By the time Guns N Roses took the stage at 9:25 PM the venue was filled in tight with the only open area being the sides of the General Admission area.

 I blame the excessive tail gating for the small crowd Alice in Chains played to.  Fed Ex Field parking was $55 and those who parked on the premises decided to get the most for their money by using several parking spaces for large tables, grills, lawn chairs, corn hole games, and other random crap which took up a large chunk of the parking spaces.

 To my surprise there were no bootleg shirt sales anywhere near the venue and ALL band shirts were $40 and up.  The Guns N Roses “Washington, DC 2016” shirts sold totally out by the nights end.

 Alice in Chains set can be summed up in one word; “Lackluster”.

 I’m not sure why Jerry Cantrell and company decided to play such a safe set but their song selections were at times boring with too many slow numbers in play rather than sticking to an uptempo rock set.  “Rooster” was a lull in the set and “No Excuses” failed to move the stadium crowd which came to rock.  

 Jerry Cantrell looked haggard and William was the only member that commanded any sort of attention onstage.  Alice in Chains are great in a large club but fall flat on the larger stadium stages.  

 For the record, I am a fan of Alice in Chains but with this performance I felt like the band chose a rocky set list that didn’t hit the mark with the crowd.  

 We were all taking bets as to when Axl would take the stage and to everyone’s surprise Guns N Roses took the stage at 9:25 PM!

 10 minutes prior to showtime, a clip of a gun being fired was looped which made the crowd jump to their feet in anticipation of Axl and company.

 When the stadium lights went down the entire stage was lit in purple lights and it looked more like a Prince stage than a Guns N Roses stage.  In a flash the members of GNR took the stage with the opening number “It’s So Easy” which brought the crowd to their feet and then the reality hit; Guns N F**king Roses were back!

 Axl’s voice sounded great for most of the night and the only part of the set where he sounded iffy was during “Better”. Speaking of “Better”, I have to state for the record that it was odd seeing Slash perform 3 songs from the Chinese Democracy record.  Reading Slash’s body language during those 3 songs it reminded me of when Slash was on TV playing with Michael Jackson.   Those moments in the set proved who controlled/dictated the band and who was just a paid player. 

 On a side note, the onstage set list had several “Alternate” songs they could play if they decided to alter the set list on the spot and to my surprise one of the songs on that list was “Slither” by Velvet Revolver!

 Duff McKagan’s punk rock moment was a definite highlight but I’m not sure how many people truly enjoyed or even knew it was a tribute to Johnny Thunders and Iggy Pop.

 The instrumental interlude of “Wish you were here/Layla” was absolutely beautiful and one of the more touching moments of the night.

 The night ended with “Paradise City” which utilized massive confetti cannons in front of the stage while behind the stage a large amount of professional fireworks were launched.

 This show was the real deal.  Guns N Roses delivered a stadium sized set that picked up where the “Use Your Illusion” era left off.  Axl sounded good, Slash rocked, Duff and Frank held down the rhythm, and Richard did a great job filling in for Izzy.