Written by: Ryan Henning on November 19, 2012
Guns N’ Roses guitarist and ex-TNT vocalist Tony Harnell put on a free charity performance
It’s always a weird feeling when you stumble onto a charity event you didn’t plan on going to, let alone when it’s being hosted by members of Guns N’ Roses.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s speakeasy venue Vinyl was packed with GN’R fans in the late hours of Friday night. Guitarist Bumblefoot performed alongside former TNT singer Tony Harnell for a charity event to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Harnell, a resident of the Big Apple, took more than a few breaks to express both his gratitude and his sincere dedication to the cause. “Whether you know it or not, your presence here is making a contribution and we thank you,” said Harnell, alluding to how a percentage of proceeds from drink sales were being donated. The event had no cover charge, which for a charity event seemed counter-intuitive.
The show itself was a pretty amazing acoustic set. It’s always fun to see musicians depart from the formulaic concerts we usually pay to see and see our rock heroes in candid, unscripted acoustic moments. Harnell and Bumblefoot were having a blast on stage, picking songs at random to play.
Most of the songs were covers of famous rock songs, covering everything from Led Zepplin to Aerosmith, with a couple of Harnell’s solo tunes and GN’R songs thrown in for a little shameless self-promotion. Harnell, a singer I’m less than familiar with, seemed to channel both Robert Plant and Chris Cornell as he decimated songs that require quite an expansive vocal range.
Bumblefoot tactfully took musical liberties with a lot of the covers, adding in splashes of southern finger picking and funk rhythms for the crowd’s auditory pleasure. Bumblefoot wasn’t the only GN’R member in the house, as guitarist DJ Ashba walked around and mingled with the crowd during the set.
Song of the night goes to a cover of Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” that blended in and out of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” in an awesome fashion.
My only knock on the event was the lack of advertising was apparent. Most of the crowd were either stragglers from the casino or people that found out about the show like I had: hours before from the Hard Rock’s website. Had the event been properly advertised, which shouldn’t be that hard given the performer is a member of GN’R, the event would have teetered on the excellent side. Nonetheless it was great to see that people did make it out, have both a great time and contribute to a cause worthy of everybody’s time.