Big, dumb fun

For all intents and purposes, Guns N’ Roses produced only three albums in its questionably vague lifetime, and it’s only one album that really allows the dysfunctional group any stake in the continuum of pop music history.

Officially, Guns N’ Roses intends to release a new album, titled Chinese Democracy, in 2000. In reality, Guns N’ Roses features only two of its original six members, the remaining members dispersed over various projects. (Slash’s Snakepit is readying a new album.)

Thus, Live Era: ’87-’93 could be considered Guns N’ Roses final album, depending upon which line-up you consider to be the “real” Guns N’ Roses. (The Notebook’s litmus test states GN’R must include Axl and Slash, but since the new album features only the former, the new Guns N’ Roses feels as much like the old as post-Andy Taylor Duran duran feels like early Duran Duran.)

Live Era: ’87-’93 serves as the perfect souvenir for anyone who missed out on a GN’R concert. (They never played in Hawaiʻi.) All the usual suspects are there — even Steve Adler is listed in the credits — and the two discs span the group’s entire career.

The Notebook doesn’t own a copy of GN’R Lies, so it forgot the band even wrote such a song as “Used to Love Her.”

Perhaps the most intriguing moment in the album comes after “Mr. Brownstone” in the form of stage banter. Axl Rose asks people to take a step back to give room to people getting crushed in the front row. He doesn’t like to see people in pain, he says. Wow. He actually cared about performing? This from a guy who stood up a crowd in New York City for two hours? Listen closely, and you’ll hear some guys snicker at Axl’s earnestness.

Live Era: ’87-’93 is dumb, angry and at times sophmoric rock music owing too much to Led Zepplin and Black Sabbath. In short, it’s pretty fucking cool.