I had to attend to something important hours before the Winnipeg leg of Guns N’ Roses’ “Not in This Lifetime” Tour, which was held at the Investors Group Field, on August 24, the reason I arrived late. Too bad, I missed the opening act, the Canadian Alternative Rockers Our Lady Peace, which according to a friend of mine who got there early, delivered an impressive and high-energy performance consisting of songs that included “Naveed,” “Superman’s Dead,” “Innocent,” “Paper Moon,” and “Is Anybody Home?” Better luck next time; but at least, I was able to enter the venue and find my seat just in time for Slash, Axl Rose, Duff McKagan, and the rest of the beloved American Glam Metal band’s set. Guns N’ Roses dished out a powerhouse setlist, beginning with “It’s So Easy,” “Mr. Brownstone,” the relatively new “Chinese Democracy,” and then the sure stomper “Welcome to the Jungle,” which made the crowd lose their wits and scream their lungs out.
Despite the worry of many of the fans, considering the band’s long hiatus from the limelight, all the songs were in great shapes. In fact, the twin guitar works of original lead guitarist Slash and rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin’s more-than-able replacement Richard Fortus made the songs even better. Fortus (previously of the New Wave bands Love Spit Love and The Psychedelic Furs) was a revelation. He complemented Slash’s acrobatics effectively. “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” “You Could Be Mine,” “Used to Love Her,” and “My Michelle” had never been that sweeter, sleeker, and punchier. Original bassist McKagan was in his elements, even lending his voice to a couple of covers. Rose’s low-register and high-pitch voice was in fine form, and he was in a pleasant disposition. He had really changed his ways, no longer the volatile version of his old self, at least based on his overall performance during that night. Rose on the piano on “November Rain” was gorgeously beautiful. One could almost imagine also Slash’s image in the song’s classic music video as he replicated the epic ballad’s anthemic ad-lib, which had surely swooned the countless lovers that cool, breezy evening. The anticipation of some fans that the show might be cancelled or would start hours’ late, obviously because of Roses’ notoriety in the band’s ’90s prime, was ultimately put to rest.
Rounded up by Dizzy Reed, on keyboards and piano; Melissa Reese, on synthesizers, keyboards, and backing vocals; and drummer Frank Ferrer, another Love Spit Love alumnus—Guns N’ Roses finished off their Winnipeg concert with four encores—the much-loved ballad “Patience,” a cover of The Who’s “The Seeker,” “Don’t Cry,” and the apt high-octane closer “Paradise City,” leaving the audience brilliantly in high heavens, with their sonic appetite certainly satisfied.
Guns N’ Roses definitely remains to be among the greats in the pantheon of Metal music, still up and running high. All the fans need right now is a new album, especially that the core members Rose, Slash, and McKagan are together again and currently in good camaraderie and musical affinity with each other, considering the well-publicized falling out of Rose in the past from the rest of the band, who soldiered on with Guns N’ Roses by himself with a revolving cast of musicians since 1998 to the trio’s reunion only last year. So, it is really timely for every fan to raise his glass to celebrate the new appetite for a new chapter of Guns N’ Roses.
Formed in 1985, in Los Angeles, California, United States, in the midst of Glam Metal’s commercial peak in the 1980s, Guns N’ Roses caught the music world by storm with the release of its top-selling and critically acclaimed debut album, 1987’s Appetite for Destruction, which spawned a slew of hit singles led by the band’s most popular song, “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” Four more albums followed—1988’s G N’ R Lies, 1991’s Use Your Illusion I & II, and 1993’s “The Spaghetti Incident?”—until Rose’s fallout from his original bandmates in the mid-’90s. Rose continued performing with various musicians using the band name, releasing the controversial album Chinese Democracy in 2008. By the mid-2010s, core members Rose, Slash, and McKagan began seeing each other again, effectively patching whatever differences they had in the past…and the rest, as historians say, is music history.
Photos by Star Roxas | Filipino Journal