So, it happened. I went to a Guns N’ Roses gig. This was the whole reason I have been doing #GnRWeek, to build up some excitement for myself around the gig. I saw them live on Friday night. But let’s backtrack…

When I was 16 years old it was 1992 and Guns N’ Roses were touring the world as part of their Use Your Illusion tour. I was living in Glasgow and the nearest gig was going to be Newcastle (Gateshead to be precise). I was 15 years old when the gig was announced but I would be 16 years and 2 months when the gig in June 1992 would come out. There were a few of us at school that really wanted to go, but the best plan that we came up with was that one of us had a cousin who was 19 who said he would be happy to drive a minibus full of about 8 or 9 of us down to the gig and back. Sounded great to us. Didn’t sound so great to our parents. I was so heartbroken at not being allowed to go. As a parent now I totally get it, but back then I was devastated. Let’s just say I played the Illusion albums extremely loudly for those next few weeks. I would love to have seen Guns N’ Rose live in their prime and it’s a real shame that I wasn’t a year or two older when it happened. It’s always been a regret or a ‘What If’ in my mind.

Fast-forward now to when I heard about this reunion gig. I could not believe it. I never thought I’d see them get back together. I thought I’d missed my chance to see them live. Some people immediately said to me that it’s not the real, original Guns N’ Roses. Well, would they have classified the Use Your Illusion Tour lineup as the real Guns N’ Roses? It’s all semantics. Sure it would be great to have the original five members, but perhaps Steven isn’t quite the drummer he was (and would have to learn about 20 new songs) and I don’t think Izzy could hack a long world tour, so that’s never really going to happen long term. And this line up basically is the Use Your Illusion lineup apart from Matt Sorum on drums and Gilby Clarke on rhythm guitar, and in my opinion those are the least essential instruments to have an original member on for a live GnR gig. Plus the big personalities in the band are Axl, Slash and Duff, to be honest. And with Dizzy on keys you already have 4 of the Illusions lineup. That’s a pretty good number indeed. To be honest, anything with Axl and Slash on stage together is enough for me right there. Them getting along and playing side by side is all I wanted from a reunion, and I would call that Guns N’ Roses any day of the week.

I went to the gig a couple of nights ago on Friday, 16th June with my mate Dan, and it was amazing. Axl’s voice was spot on. Slash’s guitar was amazing. They started bang on time too. They played a mix of songs from Appetite, Illusion, Spaghetti and Chinese Democracy as well as a couple of other covers. They absolutely rocked the place and it was awesome. I really can’t say much more about it as I would just keep saying it was amazing. Loved it. Great night. I really hope they tour again or make more music, because I would love to see them again. Highlights for me included Welcome To The Jungle, Better, Estranged, Sweet Child, Patience, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door and Paradise City.

If you’re interested here is the setlist they played.

Guns N' Roses Tour

Guns N' Roses Tour

Guns N' Roses Tour

One thing that I found very strange was that the London Olympic Stadium wasn’t full. It was billed as being sol out but there were loads of empty seats. I would guess it was maybe 80% full. Perhaps a bit more. I kind of felt a bit bad for the band because I’ve seen that all their recent gigs were absolutely mobbed and then they come to London and it’s not full. I can only imagine that some people were staying away after the Manchester bombing. That’s my only explanation. I also had two spare tickets that I just couldn’t sell anywhere. I bought two tickets right when the tickets went on sale, as I grabbed the first two that were available as I thought they would sell out in minutes. But then a few minutes a saw two seats in a better location come back up for sale so I grabbed those too. Then it seemed to sell out. I assumed I would be able to sell them no problem. I even thought I might make a profit on them if I chose to go down that route, but I couldn’t even sell them at face value in the end. I tried every reselling site. In the end I had to sell the £100 tickets to a tout outside the ground for £20 each.

The one thing that I am really fascinated about is how Axl and Slash settled their differences. Who came up with the reunion idea. What brought them together. How did they resolve their issues? Were there money squabbles? They’ve basically not talked about their reunion at all to the media, as far as I’m aware. Perhaps after the tour ends they might open up about it. Maybe they were scared to discuss it in case something went wrong whilst on tour. I know I was really nervous that they might not survive 9 months on the road, before the London gig came around, without breaking up again or one of them having a major health issue. I’m very glad to see that they did and that they totally kicked ass. I really wonder what’s next then. Will they stay together? Will they write new material?

I really don’t know, but the one thing I know is that Guns N’ Roses are alive and well, ladies and gentleman. And they totally rocked.