Saturday, April 14, 2012

Duff McKagan Live in Cleveland: A Punk's Revue Review!

Duff McKagan has lived one tumultuous life.  As a founding member of Guns N' Roses, Duff was catapulted to the apex of rock and roll success and crashed back down as hard and fast as anyone could.  After reading his autobiography, 'It's So Easy...and other lies", it is absolutely stunning that he's lived to tell.

Last night at the House of Blues in Cleveland Ohio, McKagan hosted a multi-media extravaganza in an intimate and personal presentation of his life story.

The evening began with an earnest announcement by the HOB staff explaining to the crowd that what we were about to see was not going to be a concert, but instead a book reading/spoken word event.  Anyone that insisted on disrupting the proceedings "would have to be asked to leave the premises."

Walking onto the tea candle-lit stage, Duff sat down on a bar stool, put on his glasses and began to read.   I'll admit that when he began with the story of his own 13 year old daughter's birthday party, I started to get choked up.  Here's one of the world's most famous Rockstars admitting to me that his daughters think that he's a "dork."

Whoa.  This guy is cool!

Reciting passages from his best seller, he wove the tragic yet inspiring tale of his adventures.  Accompanied by a backing track of live music and a Power Point slide show presentation, the selected passages were powerful and poignant.

I've never seen anyone try to pull off an evening like this one, and Duff absolutely nailed it.  He captivated the sold-out crowd and won us over strictly because of his honest and genuine delivery.  He talked about the wicked drug and alcohol abuse that came with fame.  He talked about the near-tragic and life-ending events that led to his sobriety.  He talked about the saving grace of love from his wife.  He talked about his love for the members of Guns N' Roses.

I compliment McKagan on sticking to his plan, and I think he only disappointed 3 or 4 unruly patrons.  In fairness, it was awful hard not to expect the stage to erupt into a Gn'R reunion since it was the night before the induction ceremonies.

Guns' fans were rewarded with the multiple appearances from Matt Sorum, also of Velvet Revolver.  Sorum slinked on and off the stage a number of times, appearing quietly from the wings to add perfectly placed percussion.

Gilby Clarke came out as well, strumming and adding to the music without ever stealing the spotlight from Duff.  Yes, they actually played an abbreviated version of 'Sweet Child O' Mine' and a crowd-pleasing version of 'Patience' complete with Duff encouraging us to sing "the Axl parts"!!!!

The show ended with McKagan's thoughts on the Rock Hall Induction:
"It doesn't matter...if somebody doesn't want to come, that's totally fine.  It's not about who's here.  It's not about us.  It's about those songs and how they related to our fans."

"And with 11 and 14 year old daughters at home, I don't have time for drama.  I've got enough of that shit at home.  I'm just honored to be in Cleveland and pay my respect to the fans."

Thank you, Duff McKagan.


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