Guns N Roses
26 August 2002
Last night saw London witness one of the few dates Guns N Roses have done in the past few years. It is, in fact, 10 years since they were last here. On the strenght of last night’s gig, let’s hope they are back very soon.
Weezer opened the show and bored the trousers off the crowd. The seated crowd did not even bother to stand for their incredibly dull set. When they finally played their hit “Buddy Holly”, there were two people dancing in my section. I was one of them and my date was the other. Whomever choose this bunch of losers for “special guests” should be smacked round the head. Their performance was one of the worst I have ever seen out of an opening band.
Then Gun n Fuckn Roses hit the stage with “Welcome to the Jungle.” The place went nuts and stayed nuts for most of the rest of the length of the gig. We were given time to rest our necks and voices while we sat through the requisite solos and a few new songs. The new tracks were halfway decent but not memorable enough. Axel was on fine form, slimmed down from the New Year’s gigs that go NME (who he slammed twice), to his touring fitness. Axel stalked the stage like an angry tiger. He even seemed to be pretty damn happy with himself and his band. The only remaining member of GnR (or close enough), besides Rose, was Dizzy Reed on keyboards. The rest of the hired guns played with panache and enthusiasm; Buckethead almost managing to make us forget there was no Slash, Izzy, or Gilby. His guitar rendition of the Star Wars theme won over the crowd. The rest of the band (another guitarist, bassist, drummer and second keyboardist) delivered the goods to a sceptical crowd.
Much of the show concentrated on their stunning debut, Appetite for Destruction, from which they played at least 8 tracks. I predict yet another upsurge in sales of this classic hard rock album in the next few weeks. The “Ilusions” set was represented by November Rain (of course), Live and Let Die, and Knocking on Heaven’s Door. The Lies was represented by one track, its big hit, Patience, complete with a crowd whistle-along. It was a pity they did not play Used to Love Her.
At times it was rather hard to hear the band because the sound was not very loud; the crowd drowned out Axel. My companion complained that her hearing was not ringing as she left the gig. Despite this, she made it clear it was the best show she had ever seen!
As I expected, the finale was an amazing redition of Paradise City for an encore complete with flames, confetti, flashpots, and smoke. It was a cracking set which left the evenly mixed crowd knackered, sweaty, and content as hell. It wasn’t a bunch of ageing rockers, either; there were representatives from all the “rock generations” there and, as should be expected at a decent hard rock gig, there was a lot of scantily clad totty. (NB: There were several packs of young girls. What the hell were their male friends doing last night? Washing their hair and watching telly?)
Don’t believe anyone who says Axel is past his sell by date. He can still deliver the goods, and last night Guns N Roses delivered one of the greatest gigs I have ever seen. Was it better than sex, no, but it was damn close!