I had a long car ride yesterday and I was listening to some old school GNR and when I got home I finally checked on youtube to see if the live show from the Ritz was up there. Of course it is, gotta love youtube, the whole show is there.
The show is from early February, 1988, taped for MTV (which was kind of a first, I believe) right when they were blowing up. It totally rocked my 13 year old world. I recorded it and must have watched the VHS tape 100 times. That show and the album Appetite for Destruction had me start learning guitar and changed my life.
The moment they come out and start with "It's So Easy" is so intense the band can barely keep up with the energy. Can you watch this show and not agree that this was one of the baddest rock bands ever? Is Axl not one of the greatest rock stars ever? He can be a bit campy with his song intros and his high-leg kicks, but what a fucking badass.
A few highlights: Axl jumps into the mosh-pit during the end of "Paradise City" and the crowd literally tears at him; as security finally gets him back on stage they tear off his shirt and Axl has cuts on his hands and torso. During the encore of Rocket Queen Axl walks off the stage during the second chorus leaving his confused bandmates looking around. He resurfaces during the mid-section jam with a cigarette. Then at the end he sees something off-stage that infuriates him and he hurls the mike at it/him/her and walks off the stage again, leaving the final refrain unsung. That's how the show ends, hahaha.