On November 13, 2017, Karl and Tonya from When It Was Cool traveled to one of our favorite arenas for concerts, Nashville, Tennessee's Bridgestone arena to experience the famously expensive Guns N Roses "Not In This Lifetime" concert tour. This tour again reunites three members of the classic era Guns N Roses lineup: Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan. Filling out the band for this tour includes Dizzy Reed (who has been with Guns N Roses since 1990), Richard Fortus (who played on the Chinese Democracy album), Frank Derrer (accomplished tour drummer), and new-comer Melissa Reese.
The band has received some criticism for the high ticket prices for this tour compared to other acts which are currently touring. Just compared to the acts we have seen in the last year or two the ticket prices were considerably higher (around $180 per ticket and virtually the same seats at the same arena for Roger Water's, whose show set was extremely more elaborate and Stevie Nicks were both well under $100.) The question then becomes- Was it worth it?
For a band that was infamous for late starts, non-starts, walking off stage, and generally being difficult, Guns N Roses in 2017 seems about as reliable of a work horse of a band as you could possibly imagine. Where did this new maturity come from? The show started exactly at 7 pm. The arena was still almost half empty when Guns N Roses hit the stage but quickly filled up, though shy of a sell-out. Note to future Guns N Roses fans. Mr. Brownstone might say, "The show usually starts around seven, we go on stage at nine." but the new kinder and gentler Guns N Roses get on stage at exactly seven.
There is also no more half ass sets where Axl Rose quits when he gets ready. This show rolled on for well over three hours- non-stop. They took no breaks. Had no intermission. They just rocked out for over three hours with a set that included all their hits and a copious amount of tributes and cover songs. The Guns N Roses set included tributes to or covers of songs by WINGS, The Misfits, Jimi Hendrix, Nino Rota, Glen Campbell, Pink Floyd, Soundgarden, Bob Dylan, and The Who.
What you really want to know, I suppose, is "What did Axl Rose sound like?" Well, he did not sound as bad as we had been lead to believe. He was actually just fine. No, he can't carry a tune as well as he did back in 1985 but did anyone actually expect he could? At no point was he cringe worthy, he can still shriek at the top of his lungs, for three hours mind you. There is no cause for concern, Axl Rose was perfectly fine.
Slash, on the other hand, was... amazing. Absolutely beyond words. Slash looks to be in incredible physical condition as he ripped through his flawless solos for three straight hours, without a break, and then did two handstands as he exited the stage just, well, because he's Slash I guess. He doesn't appear to have aged since the 1980s and certainly hasn't slowed down. Slash was worth the price of admission himself and still, as he should, rocks his trademark black top hat, kinky black hair, and just reeks of charisma.
Duff McKagan was a nice surprise. He sang a song where he displayed tremendous vocals. McKagan has always been underappreciated for his singing ability. He looked to be in tremendous condition also and blasted his way through the three hour set in fine form.
The Nashville, TN setlist:
It's So Easy
Welcome to the Jungle
Double Talkin' Jive
Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney - Wings cover)
You Could Be Mine
Attitude (The Misfits cover)
This I Love
Civil War (with Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child ending)
Slash Guitar Solo
Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather) (Nino Rota cover)
Sweet Child O' Mine
Wichita Lineman (Glen Campbell cover)
Used to Love Her
Wish You Were Here (instrumental) (Pink Floyd cover)
Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden cover)
Knockin' on Heaven's Door (Bob Dylan cover)
The Seeker (The Who cover)
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