"This was GNR's night. A huge return; on time and matured, but still as good as ever."
Once known as the "most dangerous band in the world", Guns N' Roses may have mellowed, but their sound hasn't. On one of the hottest days of summer, with a full moon and a packed stadium, Axl, Slash and Duff re-ignited our '90s hair-rock passion.
Rose Tattoo aren't going to change (or 'be beaten'). The band play straight-ahead rock'n'roll and, despite the line-up changes (including several original members passing away), they continue to release new music. Lead singer Angry Anderson, now pushing 70, just keeps chugging along. They were probably asked to support because of their 1993 GNR appearance, which is quaint.
Despite the plastic white chairs on the 'floor' of the stadium, a smattering of empty seats and an ageing audience, Guns N' Roses still attract attention, especially now that the original trio have reunited for the Not In This Lifetime tour. One would guess that a healthy chunk were in attendance at Eastern Creek 24 years ago.
They started the same way. The sound of Duff's bass on It's So Easy kicked off the mammoth set, but it was a worrying start. Axl's voice seemed off; his mic appeared dodgy. What was happening? By the fourth song, the genre defining Welcome To The Jungle, we needn't have worried. Axl can still hit the high notes and he did, for two-and-a-half hours.
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We had to put up with three songs from Chinese Democracy, but that was ok when you have Slash ripping the most amazing extended solos you'll see. His fingers danced on that fretboard on the big screen, his top hat in place, his hair still curly, his face rarely changing. A guitar god in presence.
The highs of Rocket Queen, Civil War and Sweet Child O' Mine were interspersed with covers but, ultimately, their sound is good. Really good. Estranged is a ten-minute epic that deserves to be heard live.
When AC/DC guitarist Angus Young made an appearance, the reverence was obvious as he blasted out solos on Whole Lotta Rosie and Riff Raff. Slash looked suitably impressed as the 61-year-old performed his trademark moves to a rapturous crowd.
But this was GNR's night. A huge return; on time and matured, but still as good as ever. They seemed to be enjoying playing together. Axl even put his arm on Slash and Duff at points and there were smiles all around at the end.
With the sound of Paradise City ringing in our ears (for days probably), we entered the throng heading to the station knowing it's probably the last time we'll see them together in this town again.