In 2013, Rolling Stone released an article entitled “The 10 Messiest Band Breakups” where Guns N’ Roses landed on top of their list. They ended the write up with the phrase “they are never, ever, ever getting back together.”
In 1993, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan left the band but original drummer Steven Adler was gone earlier than that –1990. Matt Sorum replaced the latter. Rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin left in 1991.
Lead singer Axl Rose once told Billboard, “One of the two of us will die before a reunion.” He was referring to Slash.
Considering all of these, it’s therefore but fitting to call their 2016 to 2017 tour “Not In This Lifetime.” If Brangelina can break up, if Donald Trump can be President and if the Cubs can win the World Series, I guess Guns N’ Roses can hit the road again on a world tour that’s looking at 99 shows before it wraps up.
The current tour lineup consists of Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Dizzy Reed (keyboard), Richard Fortus (rhythm guitar), Frank Ferrer (drums) and Melissa Reese (back up vocals). Izzy Stradlin opted out of the entire exercise while Steven Adler did some guest drumming for five shows of the tour.
The Singapore show was amazing in terms of the band’s performance but much less than stellar in terms of organization and logistics.
The band started almost on time, with no opening act and performed for a crowd of 50,000 for almost three hours! They played their hits “Mr. Brownstone,” “Welcome To The Jungle,” “Rocket Queen,” “You Could Be Mine,” “Civil War,” “Sweet Child Of Mine,” “Night Train,” “November Rain,” “Patience” and “Paradise City” along with their signature covers “Live And Let Die (Wings),” and “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan).” If you wanted your cuts from their smashing, iconic 1987 debut album Appetite For Destruction, you got them.
Slash was his usual virtuoso self – he has consistently been an absolute thrill to watch live. Duff was in fine form. While Axl’s voice (and body) isn’t what it used to be, he definitely gets an A for effort, being on time and doing his “serpentine dance” even with the extra pounds.
On the organizational front, no one checked tickets before the show! My ticket remained intact, no perforated stub torn off, no bar code scan at all. Basically, if you were at the venue and had no ticket, you could have gotten a wristband and walked in. But this is Singapore – so maybe the honor system worked?
I loaded up on laksa, fish and coconut rice before the show which turned out to be a good thing as there were only two food and drink concessionaires. As a result, people had to line up for about two hours and, to top it all off, pay with credits, not cash. Concertgoers also complained about the traffic to get to the out-of-the-way Changi Expo Center and the two-hour wait time some had to go through to get on their shuttle buses out of the venue. No ticket checks for those either.
Fortunately, if you’re from Manila, you prepare for these things. You leave early to avoid traffic, you load up on food prior to the concert and, yes, you run quickly so you can queue early for the shuttles.
The band played in Bangkok last night and they’ll be in Dubai on Friday. The Europe dates will kick off on May 27 in Dublin.
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Meanwhile, the final film in the Wolverine trilogy, and supposedly Hugh Jackman’s last film as the titular role, opens today. It is very different from the first two Wolverine movies which, compared to this, was light, fun and maybe even kitschy and silly at times. You think it’s fun being an invincible superhero? Think again. Logan is serious, grim and R-rated—you sort of wish the first two in the series trod this kind of territory.