I can’t remember all of Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell off the
top of my head, but as far as I’m concerned, traffic on the Las Vegas strip
should be a strong #3.

And if you’re a fan of the band and have read these
write-ups before, you can probably guess what’s coming next.

Yep, with a 15 passenger van full of band, management,
girlfriends, and family, I took a wrong turn off the horrible traffic on the strip
and got us lost briefly on the way to the gig.

Let’s face it, you’re never really lost with modern technology
sitting right in your hand, and someone in the back of the van had Siri on the
case in no time.

But you know what? Siri is a jerk who likes to try and send
you to a T-Mobile store in Henderson Nevada when you’re trying to go to the
T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, so after being bombarded with multiple comments
and suggestions from the back of the van, along with Siri’s repeated annoying
and incorrect instructions to “Make a u-turn in 500 feet”, I was ready to jump
out of the van and go look for a cocktail instead of the gig.

By that time most of the human cargo in the van had joined
Siri in insisting that I make the u-turn, but as I started to do it, I was
swarmed by security guys outside of the casino we were in front of, and I was
forced to take a left.

Which by some stroke of luck led us right to the backstage
entrance of the arena.

So lesson #1 from night #1 is that sometimes four angry
security dudes yelling at you are a better source of directions than a computer
generated voice in your phone.

(Screw you Siri)

Lesson #2?

Opening the first official show for the reunited Guns N’
Roses is like taking a circus, putting it inside a giant snow globe filled with
beautiful and famous people, and then shaking it up so hard that all the clocks
get messed up and time becomes a very fluid and malleable thing.

That’s my fancy way of saying that a little GNR rubbed off
on AIC, and the guys started their set 25 minutes late on night number one.

I’m not sure if that came at the GNR camp’s request or if we
asked for it, but our guys usually start right on schedule, so I think I know
the answer to that question.  

The guys played and sounded great, but the highlight for me
came during Would?.

I was standing out in the crowd, about 20 feet from the
stage, when Dave Grohl & Taylor Hawkins strolled by and stopped to watch.

They were rocking out and banging their heads,
re-establishing in my mind that they not only have great musical taste, but
they’re just normal dudes who aren’t afraid to head out in the heart of the crowd
and mix with us regular folks.

Nice.

So with Alice’s set in the books, it was time to sit back
and wait.

Which wasn’t too bad actually, as Guns N’ Roses started
right around midnight (they were scheduled for 11:00).

Earlier in the night I was nearly run down in the hallway as
crew guys were rolling Dave Grohl’s throne into the venue.

Dave Broke his foot last year on tour and was nice enough to
loan his hand made throne to Axl, who had broken his foot the previous week
during their surprise show in L.A.

Unfortunately this kind of rock star frontman broken footed technology
didn’t exist back in 1992 when Layne broke his foot on tour.

He just did the gigs in a wheelchair, on crutches, and even
a couch for a couple songs.

Back to present day though.

Guns N’ Roses were great, even with Axl glued to his seat.

Their show is full of everything that makes a rock show
great; fire, bombs, lights, dancing girls, and of course an assload of timeless
songs.

However, the real highlight for me came between bands.

A short woman with a bit of a weight issue came into the
band’s dressing room after the show. She was decked out in T-Mobile gear, so we
knew she was a venue employee.

The room was packed with band and crew and guests at the
time.

It’s a bit unusual for venue staff to come into the dressing
room area while it’s still being used, but we thought maybe she was there to
clean something up or freshen up the food area, since that’s where she was
headed.

She slowly made her way across the room, and she just
mumbled incoherently when Sean’s tech Curtis and I said hello as she passed by.

He turned to me and said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if she went
over there and started eating stuff?”.

And then that’s exactly what she did.

She picked up a cracker, sniffed it, and then stuffed it in
her mouth.

Then she looked around a bit before reaching into an open
bag of chips, grabbing one out, and dunking it in a bowl of ranch dip.

We were looking at each wondering what in the hell was going
on, so Curtis walked over and told her she couldn’t be eating the band’s food.

Then she just looked at him for a second and slowly waddled back out of the room without saying a word.

It’s a bit sad that on an epic night in recent music
history, one of the highlights for me was watching a peculiar venue employee
eat the band’s food, but it was highly entertaining (to us at least).

Also weirdly entertaining was walking around to the side of
the stage during GNR’s set and almost running into famed Las Vegas comedian
Carrot Top.

This came only a few hours after nearly running into famed
adult film star Ron Jeremy on the floor of the casino we stayed at.

This is somewhat indicative of the downward trajectory of my
career running into famous people.

Years ago when Soundgarden played Saturday Night Live I
literally ran into Elle Macpherson at the after party. She was very soft and
girly and supermodel-y.

Nowadays it’s Carrot Top & Ron Jeremy.

And if you’re not familiar with either of them, do a (safe)
google search and then prepare to rinse your eyes out with soap.

I don’t like the direction my encounters with famous people have gone.

But there was still another show to go and a chance that a
more palatable collection of famous folks would be backstage.

Show #2 rolled around and Alice played another short yet
powerful 50 minute set, which got me thinking:

Alice In Chains and Guns N’ Roses go together like a punch
in the neck and a kick to the crotch.

They both have a staggering catalog of songs, they both
put on stellar shows, and they both have a ton of loyal fans.

It’d be cool if this could happen again.

But regardless of whether these two amazing bands play more shows together
or not, it was an incredible couple of nights in Las Vegas.

Just ask Dave Grohl, Carrot Top, and a hungry T-Mobile Arena
staffer…

Rainier Fog

Available August 24