"Era" is right--not so much because Guns N' Roses was the dominant rock act for most of the designated years, but because these concert recordings sound strangely like relics of bygone days. With just a couple of exceptions, the Hollywood group's songs have not become part of the rock-culture fabric the way the music of, say, Aerosmith and Metallica have. A great live album might have proved that this was a great band, but this two-CD set (due in stores Tuesday) doesn't make that case.
Rather than document one peak show or chronicle the band's rise from Sunset Strip clubs to international stadiums, it mixes together selections from different years, locales and lineups in a simulated concert experience, all blanketed with massive crowd roar. In places the band's power and the almost punk undercurrent that set it apart from the hair-metal crowd come through, and the piano coda of "Yesterdays" and the horns in "Move to the City" show the band's interest in reaching beyond metal moods. But too often here the playing and arrangements border on hard-rock generic.