While this double cd set may be a said memory of a band that imploded under pressure, it is also a thrill ride, hightlighting a band that dominated their time. While it was recorded across the world, geffen did a great job of making it feel like one big show.Disc 1 kicks off with Nightrain, a fast, adrenaline rush thatwill get you jumping around the house. Next comes a AFD classic, Mr. Brownstone. Its an average version of the song, but the highlight is the 2 minute soundclip of Axl trying to get the crowd to back up after the song. Next comes another AFD classic, Its so Easy, which is a thumping reminder of the bands past. Next comes the GnR trademark song, Welcome to the Jungle, featuring a heart pounding intro by Axl. Next comes a underrated song sung by Izzy, Dust n Bones, which is by far better than the recording. Next comes the song My Michelle which on record was a dark song, but live seemed not quite so intimidating. Then you get You’re Crazy which features a monotone sounding Axl. After that you get one of Gnr’s most controversial songs, Used to Love Her, with a funny yet disturbing intro. Then comes the only Lies hit, Patience, with a very excited crowd that sings along louder than Axl. Next is It’s Alright as an okay intro to the monster hit, November Rain, which ends CD 1 on a nice note.Disc 2 starts with a boring version of Out Ta Get Me, then a better than recording version of the ever ironic song, Pretty Tied Up. Next is the happy song, Yesterdays. Then you get the low point of the set, Move to the City, which includes a 5 minute solo section by the unecessary horn section. After that the rest of the cd is amazing, which is the reason of my rating. You get You Could Be Mine, Rocket Queen, Sweet Child O’ Mine, Knockin on Heavens Door, Dont Cry, Estranged and Paradise City.While disc 1 is aimed for the hardcore fan that knows the songs that werent hits, disc 2 is aimed for everyone with a run of monster hits. Any Gnr fan, hardcore or casual should definetely pick up this set, which hightlights the last great rock band, Guns N’ Roses.
Guns N’ Roses’ career could be neatly summed up in a lyric from their song ”Pretty Tied Up”: ”I just found a million dollars that someone else forgot.” Indeed, GNR satisfied a grassroots public hunger for bigger-than-life hard rock at a time when legions of alternative bands were enjoying their first burst of overweening critical attention and commercial cachet. The last and most spectacularly successful band to prosper from Hollywood’s burgeoning 1980s Sunset Strip glam-metal scene wrapped a couple decade’s worth of sometimes tired clichés around a tight, assaultive musical attack that enticed millions yearning for poor role models. And if their edgy songs often blurred fantasy and reality, the best of them had a street-level honesty that couldn’t be denied. A de facto greatest-hits collection culled from performances recorded around the world, Live Era best documents the early, ferocious performing prime of GNR’s original quintet on its first disc, leaning heavily on their landmark Appetite for Destruction album to great effect. But the second volume often chronicles the band’s steady decline into bloated self-parody and neo-Vegas ”professionalism.” This band needs a horn section like Slash needs another drink! –Jerry McCulley
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Live Era is a fantastic collection of live Guns N’ Roses tracks. “Recorded across the universe between 1987 and 1993″ as the booklet says, it presents a pretty awesome portrait of the band as a live act. For those of us who were too young to catch G N’R in their prime, this set is most welcome. The song list is great, just about any Guns song you most want to hear live is included. Every track from Appetite For Destruction except for two (“Think About You” and “Anything Goes”) are performed on this CD, as well as some of the best tracks from Use Your Illusion. “Patience”, “Used To Love Her” and “Move To The City” from G N’ R Lies are here and a cover of Black Sabbath’s piano-based “It’s Alright”. The performances are high energy and hard rocking. Axl is in good voice (most of the time), Slash plays with his usual intensity, Izzy (sometimes Gilby Clarke) provides the solid rhythm guitar and Duff and Steven/Matt anchor the band very well. The only problem really is the fact that the performance dates and locations are not listed, so what performances these are is anybody’s guess. Still, it’s great stuff and should be welcome in any rock fan’s collection.Guns N’ Roses was an electrifying hard rock band and these two discs give us a glimpse of what this rock behemoth sounded like at the peak of their power. Hopefully more live performances will be released from the vaults in the future. As the success of the recent Greatest Hits collection shows, the world is hungry for more Guns N’ Roses.
When I first listened to Guns N’ Roses The Live Era ‘87-’93 I was amazed. Not since Appetite For Destruction have I heard such a powerful cd. I enjoyed that it had several of Guns N’ Roses songs that were wild as well as calm (Nightrain, Mr. Brownstone, November Rain, Don’t Cry) My very favorite part of the cd, is that Axl explains some of his songs, Used to Love Her: is a joke, Estranged is a like a walk in the park…, there is even a part where Axl tells people to stop smashing others. Unlike some other live albums Axl and the band sound great. Also this has some really cool band pictures.
As I listened to this CD, I wondered if I had hyped it too much in my mind. I saw GnR in Baton Rouge in 1992. They blew the roof off of the Assembly Center. They rocked for 3 1/2 hours. This CD does not have 1/10 the energy of that show. Who selected these cuts? What about Coma, Don’t Damn Me, Double Talkin’ Jive, Garden of Eden, Civil War, etc. Anything but Move to the City. Where are the elaborate intros to Sweet Child, Paradise City, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door. Why do we hear Axl asking the crowd to move back from the stage. Why not one of his trademark rants? Where and when were these songs recorded? Across the Universe? What is that? I can only hope they correct their mistakes and put out another live CD. This time I will listen to it first.
For six years, between 1987 and 1993, Guns N’ Roses ruled the rock world. It was six years of accusations of being racist, riots, tempter tantrums, swearing on live TV, urinating on planes, very public feuds with other bands, and of course, unbelievably great rock n’ roll. From the days of when GN’R brought authenticity back to rock n’ roll, when Bon Jovi were considered the premier rock band, to surviving the onslaught of grunge, GN’R were rock gods. In 1999, five years after the semi-original Guns N’ Roses rocked an arena for the last time, the posthumous “Live Era ‘87-’93″ hit the stores.
While “Live Era” is quite good, it could have been better. Guns N’ Roses was a great band, and put on an exciting live show, there’s no denying that. “Live Era” is filled with classics, from each release, minus “The Spaghetti Incident” (1993). The band sounds great and performance on each track is top-notch. That said, “Live Era” is flawed in two ways-its chronology and production.
As the back of the CD states, the songs on this CD were “recorded across the universe between 1987 and 1993.” For some bands, like Nirvana or Motley Crue, it wouldn’t be any problem to compile a live album with songs from different years. With Guns N’ Roses, however, it doesn’t quite work. That’s because the original Guns N’ Roses went through four distinct phases:
Phase I: 1986-1990: Axl Rose- vocals, Slash- lead guitar, Izzy Stradlin- rhythm guitar, Duff McKagan- Bass, Steven Adler- Drums. This lineup, generally regarded as the definitive one, recorded “Appetite for Destruction” (1987) and “GN’R Lies” (1998). This lineup was basically Aerosmith on speed, with an element of punk and the Rolling Stones.
Phase II: 1991: Axl Rose- vocals, Slash- lead guitar, Izzy Stradlin- rhythm guitar, Duff McKagan- Bass, Matt Sorum- Drums, Dizzy Reed- Keyboards. The addition of the very proficient, yet slightly bombastic Matt Sorum and keyboard player Dizzy Reed made GN’R’s sound slicker, less rough-around the edges. With this lineup, the band ventured out and experimented considerably, with the very ambitious epic “Use Your Illusion I” and “Use Your Illusion II” (1991).
Phase III: 1992: Axl Rose- vocals, Slash- lead guitar, Gilby Clarke- rhythm guitar, Duff McKagan- Bass, Matt Sorum- Drums, Dizzy Reed- Keyboards. In addition, many backup musicians, such as female backup singers and a horn section were added. GN’R purists often regarded this period as the weakest link in the bands career. It is said that GN’R became very bloated during this leg of the tour and all the horns and added singers watered down the bands sound. I tend to disagree with that assessment. It was an interesting phase in the band’s career and many of the songs, like “Move to the City” and “November Rain” sound enhanced with the extra musicians. Unfortunately, in 1992, when compared to the stripped down, unadulterated rock n’ roll of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Guns N’ Roses huge backup entourage seemed excessive and bloated. Still, it was just an experimental phase, something that people often forget. As a live guitarist, Gilby Clarke outshined Stradlin.
Phase IV: 1993: Axl Rose- vocals, Slash- lead guitar, Gilby Clarke- rhythm guitar, Duff McKagan- Bass, Matt Sorum- Drums, Dizzy Reed- Keyboards. All the excess musicians are gone. While not as raunchy as the early days, GN’R comes full circle and goes back to playing pure rock n’ roll. Many of the songs are played even more stripped down, acoustically.
The problem with “Live Era” is that there will be one song from the AFD/Lies era, then one song from the horn era, then back to the AFD/Lies era, and then will leap into ‘93, before going back to ‘91 and so on. While the songs are great, no doubt, the album overall is a little disjointed. It would have been better if disc 1 were strictly from the ‘87-’90 AFD/Lies era,, and disc II were from the experimental, ‘92 horn era.
The other problem with “Live Era” is it sounds overproduced. The songs sound tampered with. There is some speculation that Axl Rose even re-recorded his vocals (although this is just speculation). They should have just left the songs as is, without trying to touch them up.
While this list of criticisms seems long, it is not meant to imply that “Live Era” is a bad album. Indeed, the songs are still classics and if you are a fan of the band “Live Era” is well worth owning.