Guns N’ Roses were the greatest band of all time IMO, sadly I never got the chance to see them in their prime.
I have however seen Slash perform a number of GNR tracks at the Pinkpop Festival and his solo shows in Amsterdam and Luxembourg earlier this year. At all these appearances these tracks were so perfect that it made me want to see what Axl is able to produce with his band of merry men.
So what was the gig like? First of all Sebastian Bach had a tough job. When he took to the stage there was only about 400 people inside the O2 arena as most people assumed that GNR would take to the stage later than they should have (which they did).
Bach opened with Slave To The Grind and then went through a number of tracks from his Angel Down album before returning to old Skid Row tracks. By the end of the performance most of the crowd were into what he was doing. I just felt I was back in 1992 and not sure if I was liking it.
At 21:36 Guns N’ Roses took to the stage and played pretty much right through until 00:15. They played a large number of tracks from the Chinese Democracy album but a stack of old favourites including Sweet Child O’ Mine, November Rain, Night Train, Paradise City and Live and Let Die. We were also treated to the classic ACDC cover of Whole Lotta Rosie.
I have to say this and I feel slightly dirty saying it (kinda like when I got an iPhone and said I loved it) but GNR were way better then I expected them to be and they were well worth going to see, I’d even be more than happy to see them again.
There were a few moments which I didn’t enjoy. Their new arrangement on Knocking On Heavens Door for example. The biggest issue which I had was Axl when he kept leaving the stage, these short breaks really broke up the flow of the gig itself. I know he is no spring chicken any more but he must be able to go 5 or 6 songs without a break.
So who is better at playing classic Guns N’ Roses, is it Guns N’ Roses or Slash? I’ve gotta say the answer is Slash. I feel that Axl’s vocals really start to struggle towards the end of the show as he tends to scream far more than say Myles Kennedy does. Myles tends to sound more like the album versions and it doesn’t start to grate near the end of the show. DJ Ashba seems to be a pretty decent guitarist but he’s not quite nailed all the tracks, particularly Paradise City, but then no one can replicate the magic that Slash can create.
Ironically this event is ten on from the last time I see Slash so it has bumped it on to the next page, forever separated clearly.
The top ticket is a standing one and the bottom is in the seats. I’d purchased 2 seats in the pre-sale and managed to get two standing tickets on the general sale. Once again the O2 arena felt the need to take everyone’s tickets away from them rather than just removing the stub so I now no longer own a ticket for my collection.