Thursday, June 28, 2012


Object of my teenage obsession: Slash (Travis Shinn)

Guns N' Roses, Metallica and Motörhead

Oct. 3, 1992 @ The Rose Bowl (Pasadena)

While most girls my age were obsessing over the guys on "Beverly Hills, 90210," my good friend Victoria was head over heels in love with Axl Rose and I was totally infatuated with Slash. Guns N' Roses posters and magazine photos of the guitarist covered my bedroom walls. So much so, that my mom would often proclaim how hesitant she was to go into my room because of all those "scary pictures."

When Use Your Illusion I and II came out, Victoria and I would talk on the phone for hours, dissecting every song while simultaneously watching the "November Rain" video on MTV (her puking at Stephanie Seymour, me drooling over Slash's solo). Once the huge stadium tour was announced, we made a pact to go together. However, my mom had seen footage of the riot at the Missouri concert and wasn't about to her 15-year-old go alone. I finally convinced her to let her best friend's 20-something son, Mike, chaperone Victoria and I to the show. It was all we could talk about for the next few months: our dreams of sneaking backstage and, more practically, our plans on how to smuggle a camera into the show.

Finally, the day arrived. And after an hour-long lecture from mom about how we should never leave Mike's side and the hour-long trek to Pasadena from Orange, we stood in the Rose Bowl parking lot – Victoria with a disposable camera lodged between the back of her neck and her lace turtleneck. At this point, I'm not even sure where Mike wandered off to, but he had his ticket so we were sure that we would meet up him at our seats on the floor.

All I remember of Motörhead's set was thinking that Lemmy didn't look as ragged as expected for being ancient at 47 and us singing "Ace of Spades" over and over. Likewise, Metallica's set is sort of a blur. I do remember excitedly screaming when the first strains of "One" could be heard and feeling bad for James Hetfield's burned and bandaged arm.

But all hell pretty much broke loose when Slash's guitar riffs filled the stadium, and the band roared onto the stage with "Welcome to the Jungle." The audience was jumping around so much that Victoria and I could barely remain standing on our chairs, but it didn't matter. We were having the time of our lives being bounced around  to "Mr Brownstone" and "It's So Easy."

GNR cooled things down a bit with a cover of Paul McCartney & Wings' "Live and Let Die" and Duff taking over lead vocals for a cover of "Attitude" (Misfits). Right about then, Mike finally sauntered to his seat, just in time to partake of whatever the guy next to him was passing around (Ha, what a chaperone!). Besides "Nightrain" and "Patience," they mainly stuck to Use Your Illusion tracks, including "Bad Obsession," "Yesterdays," "Double Talkin' Jive," "You Could Be Mine" and "Estranged." Matt Sorum had a wicked solo after "Civil War," while Gilby Clarke and Slash added unique flourishes to between-song breaks: The Godfather theme song, bits of "Wild Horses."

As the show drew to a close with "Paradise City," I remember Victoria and I held hands and yelled every word right back to the stage. Even though we knew that we would never run off and elope with Axl and Slash, we were still almost in tears because we were so happy just being there together, watching our favorite band and making a memory we would cherish forever.

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