Recently I got to knock another band off the bucket list of bands I need to see before I die. This time it was Guns n Roses. I had the tickets from a couple of years ago when they were supposed to come but got cancelled due to the covid shut downs. In the two years since, I’ve had a child changed jobs and a whole bunch of stuff has happened. I wanted to go with my Missus, but our new child is still feeding every hour or so, so logistically it would have been impossible. The ticketing company made it impossible to get a refund so I took my sister instead. After multiple delays on the trip up (Police operations, roadworks. torrential rain, hail etc…) we managed to get to the stadium just in time to hear the first song “Its so Easy” start up. By the time we got in the stadium we’d only missed that song which looking back, it was a miracle we got there anywhere near the start time to be honest. But either way we were in.
We got pretty decent seats in the floor section of the football stadium they were playing at. You still couldn’t really see the band so it was good that the huge monitors were up as thats basically what we watched. It had been belting down rain the previous 2 hours on the road trip up but cleared just in time for us to get to the stadium.
The band consisted of Gunners mainstays Axl Rose, Slash and Duff and Dizzy Reed as well as Richard Fortus on guitar. I’m not sure who the drummer was though. There were some really good points about this concert and some less than amazing parts but overall I had a great time I have to say. I was mighty happy I finally got to see them after discovering the band in 1988/89 as a young music fan. Slash was of course amazing. He ad libbed a few of the solos but that added to the live aspect of the show. His lead was amazing and ryhthm work flawless. Richard Fortus played and looked the role that Izzy would have played (I wonder what happened to him?) but he was overshadowed by the immense presence that Slash puts across. Duff played very well and his bass really pinned everything down. The drummer was extremely professional, perhaps a little too professional as he’d tightened up a lot of the drum beats to the classic songs and they sounded a little “mechanical” for my liking. This is more opinion as Steve Adler was always a little messy but had a human feel on the recording. It’s easy to say as a critic that this new guy should have mimicked Steves drumming but who knows if Steve would have even been able to get through a 3 hour set of music let alone put across a decent performance. I would have liked a more organic feel to the guys drums, but at least this guy did the set.
It all came down to Axl. In 30 + years of listening to the band, I’ve never seen any evidence of Axl rose being able to replicate the sound he gets on the records. As far as live performances go, I have to say on the classics Axl did quite well. He did get a little help from the sound guy who smoothed out a few of the rough edges with reverb and mixing in the backing singers. Who ever did the sound obviously knew the classics and the mix served the songs well. On the other songs (presumably either new songs or off the Chinese Democracy album) the sound guy wasn’t able to cover him and the flaws in his voice came through. I have to hand it to him he did better than I thought he would be and whilst still not perfect it was as good as any video I’ve ever seen on Axl singing at any other time in career so all in all i think we lucked out!
Over all I was really happy with the show and they even payed tribute to us Australians by doing a version of AC/DCs “Whole lotta Rosie”. The lads delivered a well rounded set playing most of the “Appetite” album including Sweet Child o Mine, Paradise City, My Michelle, Rocket queen, Welcome to the jungle, Mr Brownstone, Nighttrain as well as You could be mine, civil war, knockin’ on heavens door and estranged from Use your Illusion 2, November rain from Use your Illusion 1 and a few songs that I assume were either new or came from the ill fated Chinese Democracy. The set had fast, slow and ups and downs lots of guitar solos and the crowd really seemed to love it. A few walk outs due to the rain but thats fair enough, not everyone is committed enough to stand out in the “cold november rain” for the band but the vast majority were. Over all a great success.
For more great articles be sure to keep checking back on The Antisocial Network on a regular basis!