The second CD delivers a little more to debate. Let me start by expressing the disappointment I personally feel about the fact that the demo version, of better the versions, of ‘November Rain’ cannot be found on this disc. Despite the fact I’ve had to the back teeth with this particular song, it obviously is an evergreen that belongs in all pop-top lists, which you simply cannot go around. It is the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ of its time. And how that song is built and shaped up bit by bit is in fact more interesting than the live covers they used to play in the beginning, which have already been published before too. The fact that a controversial track like ‘One In A Million’ is not on this collection, is something you could feel disappointed about, but in this day and age it simply asks for too much explanation about the story behind it, and then still the soup didn’t get any cooler. So I think that is a very wise decision. ‘I Used To Love Her’ however did make the cut of their self-censorship.
What is really cool, is to get a glimpse of the endeavour of a band in search for their own musical identity. And that is where the covers do pay contribution to, I admit. And that quest for their own sound never really stopped. So don’t expect a ‘Use Your Illusion III’ of them anymore. Songs that have by now become overly familiar you can hear back in an earlier stadium, after which they fondled around with the details of them. And they added and arranged quite some relevant parts, so it shows. It also comes to show that just having a cool riff and a good vocal melody line is not nearly enough to become the biggest band of your generation.
Let me make a couple of remarks on an individual level. Guitarist Slash is one of the single most ridiculed guitarists on internet fora. But nobody has his touch, his timing and his feel to place a solo just right and that makes him completely unique. If you play his parts, you will never really sound like him, even though there are countless of guitarists who are way more impressive, in terms of technique. Rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, hailing from the same little town as singer Axl, is a guitarist with a lot of limitations, but it is there in those limitations where he has shown to be a master in song writing. And to close off with drummer Steven Adler. He is unpredictable and unreliable. And maybe that volatility made him more interesting than his successor drummer Matt Sorum, who has a skinsman on ‘Use Your Illusion’ has left a way too flat performance.
All-in all it is not as if you morally need to support this band, like you do have to do with smaller bands. So you have to be a crazed collector who wants to have his collection complete, in order to crave this release. But then again, there are also people who only had cassettes and CD-Rs in those days, so they now have a terrific excuses to get the real deal. It does indeed sound a bit better .But apart from that, there is little to no added value to it. But hey, long live nostalgia.