Oh, the agony. It's footage like this that has probably been keeping Axl Rose in a state of studio-bound agoraphobia. Not only do these three DVDs paint a compelling picture of a once-powerful band, but they also demonstrate how easily and quickly that powerful band got demolished by Axl's ego. By all accounts, "November Rain" is the most pretentious, self-aggrandizing video ever (although it was almost outdone by its counterpart/predecessor, "Don't Cry"). Well, before the chronological video compilation "Welcome to the Videos" is even halfway over, you've already seen them both, which means it's a long way 'til the end. For a band as raw and visceral as GNR was when they debuted, it didn't take long for Axl's "vision" of "progress" to weigh them down, and the videos they made are ample proof of how the mighty fell. Interestingly, the live show from Tokyo, spread across two DVDs, was recorded when the band all hated each other and Axl had morphed into a true diva. (Does he really need to change shirts between every song?) Yet it's still possessed of much of the burning rock energy that made GNR such a fantastic band. The cheap (as in no liner notes, surround sound or bonus material cheap) reissues of these '90s VHS releases are obvious cash-ins to squeeze the last bit of cash from the final 17 people in the world who think "Chinese Democracy" will ever be released, but they're also potent reminders of how quickly things can get all screwed up for a rock band.
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