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

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(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.


3 Responses to “Guns N’ Roses is the grandest rock spectacle on the road today”

  1. Marie on November 13th, 2017 1:40 pm

    Rock on Nico! Love your pieces!

  2. Dakota on November 13th, 2017 5:13 pm

    I liked your piece.. but calling Fortus a rhythm guitarist is laughable. Sure, he plays Izzy’s parts, but some of Izzy’s parts were lag guitar. Think About You, the first half of the Nightrain solo(which Fortus makes brilliant). He also plays his own parts in Chinese Democracy songs, or Bucketheads. The pick sweeping in Chinese Democracy and Better. The second half of the Chinese Democracy solo. His spotlight moments in Rocket Queen and Knockin on Heaven’s Door. He does all the lead on Madagascar, Slash only plays rhythm. He is a brilliant guitarist and to see him with Slash waa amassing

  3. Mike W on November 20th, 2017 12:14 pm

    I just saw GnR (for the first time ever, after waiting roughly 25 years to see them) in Sacramento, CA. They were great, but honestly, I saw an even grander rock spectacle earlier this year. I’m definitely a bigger GnR fan, but when I saw Green Day back in August in Oakland, CA… they proved to me that they are one of the best shows (if not THE best show) on the road today.

    Granted, Axl and the boys are a bit older and have been doing this stuff since way back in the mid ’80s, an they straight up BROUGHT IT for this Fall leg of the N.I.T.L. tour, but honestly, Green Day beats them out for most rauckus, wild and energetic rock concert. I even saw Metallica in San Francisco in Feb. 2016, and as amazing as they were (maybe on par with GnR), Green Day still had ’em beat.

    It’s not so much about the songs, of which I think GnR has the better catalogue, but man… that Billy Joe Armstrong… he just knows to how to work a crowd of 25,000 people. Every moment of that show was electric and entertaining. They seem to have just as much energy as they ever did. If you ever get a chance to see them, check ’em out.

    But ya, GnR was great. 😉

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