16 Jan:Papa Roach Plagued By Bad Sound; Oasis Dedicates Song To GNR At Rock In Rio
A brief mid-afternoon downpour cooled off the masses at the Rock in Rio for a Better World festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday (Jan. 14) and its a good thing. With Guns N' Roses (see separate review) and Oasis on the bill, the crowds swelled to nearly 200,000.
Judging by the numerous GNR and Oasis headbands on the Brazilians in the crowd, the first four local acts on the world stage seemed mere distractions. The high-energy jungle boogie of percussionists-composer Carlinhos Brown, a sort of Bob Marley-like figure in these parts, led the traditional pack of Brazilian artists. Bouncing about in a glittery silver skirt, Brown got the crowd's blood flowing with his unique blend of Timbalada music, which he is credited with fathering.
The combined billing if Ira and Ultraje followed -- both veteran Brazilian rock acts. For some odd reason, both bands got half a set, with an honorable cover of the Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by both bands used as the segue from Ira's set to Ultraje's. Both acts featured respectable rock riffs set to seemingly anthemic lyrics, but it was Ultraje's forgettable take on Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" which soured the end of its set.
Papa Roach, rumored among respected local journalists to only be here upon Axl Rose's insistence (a rumor denied by the band at its press conference), turned up next in front of what had to be its biggest audience to date. Unfortunately, Northern California's latest export would fall hard victims to the festival's first real sound problems. "Infest" kicked off a set, which save a few fleeting moments, sounded as gargled as a swig of Scope in the morning. For a band as riff-heavy as Papa Roach, that proved disastrous. The Brazilians, keen on American rock, were very welcoming to the band despite the problems.
By mid-set, the muffled sonics improved, at least enough for vocalist Coby Dick to give examples of every possible way to use "motherfucker" in the English language. At one point, perhaps due to his own acknowledgment of the sound situation, Dick barked, "Any alcoholics in the crowd? I need a fucking beer now!" Rightfully so. He also urged the audience to crowd surf, which they do not do in Brazil, nor do they understand a request for "crowd surfing," as one English-speaking Brazilian journalist explained. The 12-song set ended with "Last Resort," by which point the sound was respectable but still far from ideal. One had to feel bad for Papa Roach, as this could have been a pinnacle moment in its career. Instead, it was wasted on technical difficulties.
Oasis appeared next, in what was only its second appearance in Rio de Janeiro in its career. Vocalist Liam Gallagher flipped an obligatory bird to the closed-circuit television cameras as the band walked out onstage and brother Noel Gallagher equaled his brother with the English version of the same gesture. Such is life with Oasis. The band, disappointingly, ran through a shortened version of the same set they have been playing throughout the Standing on the Shoulder of Giants world tour, begging the question if a little variety might indeed kill them.
After "Supersonic," the die-hard Guns N' Roses fans smashed against the front stage barriers began chanting for their heroes -- a nuisance Liam Gallagher respectfully dealt with the entire set. At any rate, Gallagher's voice -- completely shot by the end of the band's world tour in August -- has had time to heal, and as a result sounded as good as ever. Gallagher dedicated "Gas Panic" to "All the people who smoke marijuana. You can understand that, yeah?" "Wonderwall" went out to "the girlies," and the seemingly sober singer sent "Cigarettes and Alcohol" out to "the people in the back." As usual, the latter segued into the guitar riff from Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," at which point Liam usually retreats backstage, but instead he stayed on and chatted incoherently into the microphone and taunted the Guns N' Roses fans in the front.
On the Noel Gallagher-sung "Don't Look Back in Anger," the elder axeman allowed the audience to sing the chorus although it took a few verses before they got it right. "Obrigado [Thank You] I suppose," quipped Gallagher at the song's end. Liam's pipes then turned to mush for "Live Forever," perhaps due to a cigarette break during "Anger." His healthy rock and roll growl became a groggy mess for the song, but was back on par for the set-ending "Rock 'n' Roll Star." Preceded by the quip, "This is the last one and we're outta here. This is for Mr. Rose himself," the song, featuring the lyric, "Tonight I'm a rock and roll star," was a fitting forecast to what was to come next: Guns N' Roses' reclaiming the rock and roll crown.