Guns N’ Roses
August 18, 2016
Dodger Stadium- Los Angeles, CA
It was huge news when Guns N’ Roses announced that original bassist Duff McKagan and guitarist Slash were rejoining the band for a reunion; It had always seemed that a reunion would never happen so when it was confirmed people went crazy, to say the least. While a lucky few Los Angelenos were there to witness the intimate Troubadour show on April 1, and a majority of millennials saw them headlining Coachella, August 18 was the night where Guns N’ Roses fans were treated to a full 2 hour plus set from one of the biggest rock bands in the world.
The show claimed to be sold out, but there were more than a few noticeably empty seats throughout the Dodger Stadium, possibly due to the heavy LA traffic and early start time (8:10) for the headliners. As the lights dimmed, people began scrambling to find their seats. Instantly you could tell the production was going to be amazing with three screens- one hanging on each side of the stage and one larger one, covering the majority of the back of the stage. The show kicked off with a literal bang as fireworks burst into the air as the band went into It’s So Easy which followed the intro Looney Tunes theme and The Equalizer.
Axl Rose was more mobile than ever, being that he was no longer confined to Dave Grohl’s throne due to a broken foot. His stamina throughout the night was really surprising and impressive. Rose would constantly be running from one side of the stage to the other and down the catwalk without missing a beat or running out of breath.
“Los Angeles. My neighborhood. It’s a beautiful day in my neighborhood.” He exclaimed while looking at the thousands in attendance. He didn’t speak to the crowd very much during the set, but that’s a mild complaint. He’s there to entertain, and entertain he did.
Slash teased a few notes before Rose asked the crowd if they knew where they were. “You’re in the jungle baby!” he yelled as the band went into one of their most popular hits, Welcome to the Jungle. Multicolored TV’s and radio animations raced on the screens behind them, as Rose belted out the lyrics in pure perfection while weed smoke filled the air.
Known for doing covers during live shows, the band played Live and Let Die by Wings. Following, Rose introduced McKagan, “Mr. Duff Mckagan everyone.” Rose said before exiting the stage and letting McKagan take over vocal duties. Wearing a shirt that read “In Memory Of I Don’t Remember” and rocking a bass guitar with a Prince sticker slapped on it, McKagan and the band went punk for a moment, covering the Misfits’ Attitude.
Soon enough, the set reached a half way point with the band performing Coma, ending with Rose introducing the band one by one. Last and certainly not least was the introduction of the guitar master himself, Slash who went into an intricate four minute guitar solo that transitioned into the Love Theme from The Godfather. Following, the band performed more hits including Sweet Child O’ Mine which had everyone, including the security guards dancing and singing along to it; November Rain; Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door a cover of Bob Dylan and the set “closer”, Nightrain.
Many people assume there is still bad blood and no real camaraderie between Axl Rose & Slash, and that they distance themselves while performing, but if we are looking at the performance, between all the running around from all the performers, there really is no time to go “back to back” with one another. The band as a whole sounded solid and even if the two have differences, it certainly didn’t show from their near perfect execution of a 26 song set.
Following Nightrain, the band came out for a four song encore, beginning with Catcher in the Rye and ending with Paradise City. Confetti shot in the air and the band got together for a shared bow, ending the night.
Guns N’ Roses have been around since 1985. That’s 31 years. When you’ve been doing something, anything for that long, it’s hard to do it with any oomph, as you’re most likely on autopilot mode. It was truly questionable to see whether or not Guns N’ Roses would be able to impress in their hometown, specifically looking at Axl Rose who seems to have on and off days. But on August 18, with everyone in the Dodger Stadium as my witness, there is no doubt that the band exceeded expectations and performed one of the best rock shows of 2016.
Review by: Nicole Lemberg
Photos by:Katarina Benzova