By Rick Florino“Did you hear that?” a smiling Axl Rose asked Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles last night.
The audience’s deafening roar affirmed a resounding, “Yes!” Axl, of course, was referring to the oncoming “Nightrain,” which bookended the first part of what will be recalled as an historic two-night stand in L.A. for the penultimate shows of the 2016 North American Not In This Lifetime… Tour.However, really what the crowd was hearing—beyond the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time—was the steamrolling spirit of an entire musical style shining and its unifying power over one of America’s most diverse cities.
With the festival and streaming culture music lives in, everything is so meta-fragmented and fractalized. Even in that space, Guns N’ Roses can bring people of all ages and backgrounds together so wonderfully.
It’s a sign of music’s power, and it shows a younger generation it’s possible to raise a middle finger to the status quo and still make a revolution happen.
God willing, some kid left that show ready to write this century’s Use Your Illusion1&2 or Appetite for Destruction. It’s certainly possible given how powerful the performance was.“Flawless” doesn’t even begin to describe the marathon 26-song show.
It was like watching a classic film unfold, starring Axl, Slash, Duff McKagan, Dizzy Reed, Frank Ferrer, Richard Fortus, and Melissa Reese in addition to a triumphant guest appearance by none other than Steven Adler.
The songs remained locked and loaded with power, action, danger, lust, and life. That’s what makes people listen to rock music in the first place.So much has been written and said about this tour, but what matters most here is the music. As far as concerts go, this is the one you to see before you die. It’s Bucket List material undoubtedly.
See it when you can and simply enjoy the hell out of it. Nothing more really needs to be said.
Duff’s bass wallop kicked off the festivities with a punked-up panache on “It’s So Easy” as Axl’s perfect delivery resounded through the night sky, morphing between timbres and tones and assuming the different characters that populated the world of the band’s music.
Frank’s inimitable and impenetrable drumming drove an airtight “Mr. Brownstone” as Axl shimmied across the stage with effusive charm and charisma. Slash ignited “Chinese Democracy” with metallic heft as he and Richard shredded like their lives depended on it.They’ve locked into an explosive chemistry that’s nothing short of magic. Simultaneously, “Welcome to the Jungle” practically ignited another “Big One” for Southern California, while Slash and Richard brought thrash intensity to “Double Talkin’ Jive.”
Dizzy and Melissa shined during “Estranged” and “Live and Let Die,” enriching and expanding the epic sonic palette of both.
“Rocket Queen” reached a bluesy climax fortified by the six-string symphony and Axl’s towering vocals.
Chinese Democracy standout “This I Love” built from Dizzy’s delicate piano playing into another show-stopping turn by Axl before Slash hit a soulful and searing solo out of the park.
“Civil War” possessed the audience into a massive sing-a-long, and “Coma” offered a ponderous, progressive darkness complementing the cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” later in the set.
Steven took the spot on the throne behind the kit for Appetite for Destruction anthems “Out Ta Get Me” and “My Michelle,” pounding his heart out.
Axl’s piano and vocal showing on “November Rain” practically brought the crowd to tears followed by a jaw-dropping “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”
“Sorry” and “Don’t Cry” fit snugly next to each other before a rollicking take on The Who’s “The Seeker” and a rousing momentous “Paradise City.”
Over and over again, we hear people decry the death of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s been a running motif for the entire 21st century.
Packing Dodgers Stadium two nights in a row in this day and age invariably proves that mindset wrong.It matters that it happened. Guns N’ Roses did something so classic that it’ll never die.
These seven musicians breathe that life into the music, and that speaks the loudest. That’s exactly what Axl wants you to hear…
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