Guns N’Roses/Oasis/Papa Roach: Rock In Rio

The third day of Rock In Rio sees Guns N'Roses easily outrock the Gallaghers...

The third night of the Rock In Rio festival was one of the most anticipated by the Brazilian audience – and, not surprisingly, it was also bound to disappoint. The first international band to get onstage is Papa Roach or, as the Brazilians might put it, “Papa who?” The band is hardly known in this country and, making conclusions from the name, many thought they were some kind of reggae act. Anyway, it’s not totally bad, and putting in a lot of effort Papa Roach manage to lift the audience with songs such as ‘Broken Home’ and ‘Last Resort’. It’s not enough, though.

And matters only get worse when Oasis follow with a completely workmanlike performance, showing clearly that the only bit of fun the band are going to have will be when getting the cheque from the Rock In Rio organizers. They play the usual, ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, ‘Live Forever’, ‘Champagne Supernova’ and ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’ – but the Gallaghers are boringly well-behaved, and what good is there in Oasis without a bit of brotherly rivalry? ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Star’, the last song, is dedicated to “Mr. Rose”. With a note of sarcasm? Maybe, but it’s definitely not enough to cheer up an audience of 200,000 people with a bit of heat exhaustion.

The main attraction, of course, is the previously mentioned Mr. Rose. It’s almost 2 am, one hour later than scheduled, when the helicopter transporting Axl Rose and his band lands backstage at the City Of Rock. By then, the atmosphere of expectation is so dense you could cut it with a knife, and when Rose and his troupe finally make onstage, Rock In Rio holds its breath and comes to a standstill. Even the shops close to see the Guns’ performance.

But first we have to endure an animation and then a long pause (the first of

many). When finally the frontman of the Guns comes onstage, he looks like, well, Ozzy Osbourne: shades, a few more pounds, Adidas trousers and open shirt. However, in all other aspects he remains, thankfully, pretty much himself: potent voice, energy, funny dances and arrogance. He starts with ‘Welcome To The Jungle’, followed by ‘Easy’, ‘Mr Brown Stone’ and ‘Live And Let Die’. During the set, other old-time classics such as ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ and ‘Paradise City’ are also included.

With the help of an interpreter, the singer talks many times to the audience about former members of the band, the internet (“a load of crap”), and his love for the fans: “I know many of you are disappointed that some of the members that you learned to love could not be here tonight. Regardless of what you have heard or read, me and my friends have worked very hard to be here tonight. I am as disappointed in this as you that, unlike Oasis, we could not find a way to get along”, he says.

It’s the lengthiest performance of Rock In Rio so far – two hours and twenty minutes. And that’s probably one of its faults. Everyone would have benefited from a shorter set, especially when local percussionist from Escola do Samba Viradouro comes onstage to pay homage, for the longest minutes of the night.

Valeria Rossi and Luciano Vianna

Image: Valeria Rossi