Night Flight to Rio
By: Beck Hansen
Written by: Beck Hansen

Night Flight to Rio (Axl Rose Back Rub) [Version (a)]:

From August 18, 2002 (Washington, DC)

You all heard about the night flight to Rio? I flew down to Rio last year to play a concert. It was a late night flight, a midnight flight. And it was just me on the plane and the whole cabin was empty... me and Axl Rose. And Axl Rose's bodyguard. And Axl Rose's girlfriend. I was on one side of the plane, and they were on the other. It was a night flight to Rio with Axl Rose and his big 300-pound bodyguard, yea! I just tried to stay out of his way, got a blanket, got some headphones. Dreaming about Rio, yea / On a night flight to Rio! And the plane ride was long, and suddenly I woke with a start...Axl Rose was standing right in front of me. I opened my eyes. He was looking at me with that gaze, he said "You're in the jungle, baby! You're gonna die!"

It was a night flight to Rio, yea
And Axl Rose was about to bust one off on my head
And I better run for my life
It was a night flight to Rio, it was a flight for survival
Man against man against man
As I was running up and down the cabin, he was chasing me. I locked myself in the cabin. I said, "Shhhh. Show a little patience, yea!" Then he goes, "Yea you're right. What am I doing? I've read all the things they said about me, and I'm doing that shit."
So he we went down to the Paradise City
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Down in Rio, Rio
So I came out of the bathroom and he said "I'm sorry, I'll cool out. I just get antsy on these flights."
I said, "OK I'm a little tense now, Axl."
He said, "Listen, I know a little shiatsu, I'll give you a back rub."
So he gave me a little shiatsu. And now we're cool. It's good.

Axl Rose is a bad-ass shiatsu massager, yea yea!
Almost as good as my Sharper Image back-thumper, yea!
Night Flight to Rio (Axl Rose Bossanova Feeling) [Version (b)]:

From August 17, 2002 (Philadelphia, PA)

See, I went to the land of bossa nova last year. I went to Rio. That place is pretty aggressive. It's not laidback, it's not how you'd think—bossa nova, laidback, the girl from Ipanema, long beach—that place is hard.

Cause the people want that and this and that and this and this and that and that
And people just want to rock out
We played a gig down there, but the people just wanted Guns N Roses...which they got
Guns N Roses rocking in the land of bossa nova
Take me down to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Won't you take me down?
Right now I just feel like doin' a Guns N Roses medley
Oh oh sweet child o' mine
I'm gettin' kind of a Axl Rose bossanova feelin' goin'!
Welcome to the jungle, baby, you're gonna diiiiieee!
Shhhhh. (That's all I need to do from that song, that's the best part.) Shhhhhh.
Where do we goooo now?
Just gonna groove on this for a minute
Oh yea yea yea, let's see what this drum machine can do
Let's see how fast we can make Smokey dance
Night Flight to Rio (Axl Rose Nightmare) [Version (c)]:

From August 14, 2002 (New York, NY)

This kind of reminds me night flights to Rio. I went to Rio last year.

It was a night flight to Rio, yea... me and Axl Rose in the business class section
Didn't seem like anybody else was on the plane except me and Axl Rose
And Axl Rose's bodyguard and Axl Rose's girlfriend
Made me feel kind of spooky, oh yea
He was on one side of the plane and I was on the other
Keeping to myself, wanted to sleep, trying to sleep
Sleeping sleeping, dreaming about Rio, Rio bossanova!
And all my favorite singers like Jorge Ben, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, ??
And as I'm dreaming, the night flight to Rio, suddenly my dreams are awoken
Axl Rose is in my face, staring down... he looks like Axl Rose, but he's put on a few pounds
He's looking in my eyes, he says "Welcome to the jungle, baby! You're gonna die!"
Suddenly all my bossanova dreams are shattered
I'm walking in an Axl Rose nightmare
Someone get me off this plane real quick
Axl Rose is in my face and he's goin' like this...
And then I woke up with a start and I realized that was just a dream
And Axl Rose was on the other side of the plane
He didn't want anything to do with me really
Then I got to the airport, I was in a little bit of a daze
Axl Rose slipped out of the back of the airport
And I was going through the baggage claim, grabbed my suitcase and I walked through
And suddenly 15 camera crews are around me, crowds of teenagers screaming "We love you Axl!"
My hair was a little bit long at the time, but I don't think they thought it was me
They started chasing me anyway and I was running in the hot heat of the Brazilian sun
And I got into a little tiny Ford Geo and they were pounding on the car
"Tell Axl we love him! Tell him we love him!" "What was Axl like?" "Tell him we love him!"
I didn't. Sorry Axl, I forgot.
They love you.
Night Flight to Rio (Fruity Drinks) [Version (d)]:

It's a night flight to Rio, yea.
I flew to Rio last year, it was me on the plane
In the business section, midnight flight to Rio
Me and Axl Rose going to the land of bossanova
He was on the side of the plane, I was on the other side
Just minding my business, trying to sleep
Didn't want to get into his ??
Announcer came on, said
"We'll be serving orange juiceand peanuts."
"Fasten your seat belts."
Just then I drifted into a dream
Oh beaches, tropical drinks, fruit in the drinks
Some tropical drinks, fashion on the beach
Pineapple fruit, mango, banana, uh huh fruit drinks
Drifting on a dream in the land of bossanova, Rio
And then just as I was dozing into a dream
I suddenly woke up, it was Axl standing above me
Silhouetted by the dim lights of the plane
He said "Welcome to the jungle baby! You're gonna die!"
No wait. That was a just a dream.
I woke up, he was still on the side of the plane.
Everything's cool now in Rio
Played some music that was so laidback
People are aggressive down in Rio
They want to kick your ass
They want death metal, that's what they want down there
Night Flight to Rio (It Was Axl) [Version (e)]:

From August 11, 2002 (Ann Arbor MI)

Yea, I went to Rio last year. It was a night flight to Rio. And there was nobody on the plane except me, Axl Rose and Axl Rose's bodyguard and Axl Rose's girlfriend. And I've always loved Brazilian music and it was the first time I was gonna go down there and see where it came from. But it was kind of eerie being on a plane alone with Axl Rose and his bodyguard. On the whole flight down, he was regaling them with stories and they were laughing at his jokes for about eleven hours....

Yea it was a Brazilian night flight
With Axl Rose's bodyguard
Lot of crazy shit goes down
On a night flight with Axl Rose
And his bodyguard who weighed
300 pounds of pure muscle
It was a testosterone ride
Down to the land of bossanova

We were in a hotel, a helicopter was landing on the top. It was Axl.
A tank rolled up to the front... the top popped up. It was Axl.
There was a parasailor going down the beach with 40 bodyguard parasailors. It was Axl.

Blame it on those hot Brazilian nights
Me and Axl getting wild in the helicopter
Night Flight to Rio (Tell Axl We Love Him) [Version (f)]:

From August 29, 2002 (San Francisco)

Ohhhhh talkin' about Rio, the land of bossanova!
I liked how Caetano Veloso was one of the great Brazilian musicians
Talked about how Americans thought of Brazil
As the land of Carmen Miranda and people wearing fruit baskets on their heads
And living on the beach and playing soccer and stuff
But when I was there, I was struck how sophisticated and amazing
They've merged their art and life. I got to go there last year.

It was a night flight to Rio!
Not a lot happened except Axl Rose was on the plane with me
He was sitting on the other side, it was completely empty.
And Axl was on one side, I was on the other.
I couldn't hear anything he was saying,
But he had him and his bodyguard and his girlfriend
And all the stewardesses were all around him
He was making them laugh the whole time, they were cracking up
When I got to the airport, he slipped out the back of the airport
And I went through, and I had really long hair at the time
And emerging from the baggage claim, all these film crews
They just saw blonde hair and they just all started attacking me
About four hundred fans chasing me into this little Fiat
And then they realized I was not Axl
And they said "Tell Axl we love him! Tell him we love him, oh!"
Which I never did, but... he's a hard man to track down
We were all staying in the same hotel and there was a helipad on top
He just took the helicoptor around town

So Axl, if you're out there, they love you
They love you down in Rio, the land of bossanova!
The Song:

A few years back Beck played the Rock In Rio Festival. Apparently, he shared the flight down to South America with Axl Rose (Guns N Roses was on the bill too).

This, of course, provides much amusement for Beck, and during many of the bossa nova drum machine "Tropicalia" jams of August 2002, he often told the story of his night flight to Rio with Axl Rose. Hilarious!

This page will be dedicated to all Beck's improvised Brazilian stories of the tour!

Played live 8 times:
Earliest known live version: August 9, 2002
Latest known live version: August 29, 2002

As the story grew longer and longer, Beck began to include snippets of Guns N Roses songs in his absurd, but true, story. Maybe one day Beck will finally do the full-on Guns N Roses cover he's quite obviously working towards. :-)

I must say, as the August tour went on, and Beck told the story more and more, it got more and more absurd! Hehe