Guns N’ Roses is the grandest rock spectacle on the road today

By Nico Ribadeneyra

(Guns N’ Roses/ Facebook)

This past weekend, Guns N’ Roses announced a second European leg would be added to their “Not in This Lifetime Tour,” which would extend the tour that began in April 2016 well into July of 2018.  This would put their world-spanning reunion tour at a little over 27 months, and it’s very likely that this is not the last extension. You may know this band from mega-hits such as “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and “Paradise City.”

Back in the late 80s, GNR earned the moniker “The Most Dangerous Band in the World” after two audience members were crushed to death by an overzealous crowd at Donington Park in 1988. I have seen Guns N’ Roses four times over the last two years, and although they are definitely not the “Most Dangerous Band in the World” anymore, they are still putting on the grandest show in rock right now.

Slash was considered a guitar god 20 years ago, but seeing him today, I can tell he never stopped practicing. In fact, throughout the band’s usual three-hour set, it doesn’t seem like he stops playing except to switch guitars. Axl’s voice is surprisingly good considering any video of him singing from the mid-2000’s is frankly painful to watch, and although his voice took on a Mickey Mouse-ish quality from time to time, he still can bring the power when he needs it, like in the beginning of “Welcome to the Jungle” or the chorus of “Live and Let Die.”

With these two all-time greats as well as a very solid supporting cast of Frank Ferrer on drums, Duff McKagan on bass, Richard Fortus on rhythm guitar, Dizzy Reed and Melissa Reese on keyboard, they put on a very solid and professional show.

Now if you talk to anybody who was alive during GNR’s heyday, there definitely seems to be a stigma surrounding the band. This is most likely due to Axl Rose’s highly publicized antics which included regularly showing up to shows several hours late and assaulting fans. In fact, these antics caused two separate riots throughout the “Use Your Illusion Tour.” All of this seems to be behind Rose now, as throughout the nearly 150 shows the band has played so far on this tour, not a single one has started late or ended early.

If you’re looking for a great rock spectacle that will blow you away and damage your eardrums, I couldn’t give a higher recommendation than Guns N’ Roses. All of that being said, I’m sure of one thing, which is unless they release a new album, I won’t be seeing them again.

Now, don’t get me wrong, GNR is my favorite band, but with every announced extension to this tour (already the fifth most grossing tour of all-time), it appears more and more like a money grab. Although I was perfectly happy paying to go see them the fourth time, I just won’t be able to justify doing it again knowing very well that Slash may have rejoined the band simply due to the fact that he had just finalized a divorce and was in need of an influx of cash.

Music, at least in my mind, is about creating something that conveys how you feel or what you think. If a band isn’t creating, then in my eyes they really can’t claim to be musicians. I’ll happily eat my words if a new album is announced within the next year or so. In fact, Richard Fortus has hinted in interviews that they were starting to put together some ideas for some new music, but the vagueness of this proposal sets no timeline for anything new.

Guns N Roses is my favorite band ever, and it always will be. Their music just hits me more profoundly than any other bands, and I sincerely hope every day for an announcement that the next “Use Your Illusion” or “Appetite for Destruction” will drop. But until then, you can consider me out on the “Not in This Lifetime Tour.”


Nico Ribadeneyra can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @NicoRibadeneyra.