Last week, I went to see Guns N Roses at the Georgia Dome. I wasn’t sure what to expect…once upon time, they were not well known for being on stage promptly, or staying on stage. Tantrums and egos used to reign supreme. After passing the thorough security check (I did not know that clear bags had become a requirement for ladies), we entered Valhalla. The Cult was opening. Their seasoned set was impressive and kicked off the show with the perfect rock vibe.
Promptly at 9 pm, the video screens flipped over to the GNR logo, complete with gunshot sounds as they spun around. The lights dimmed, and the crowd howled. I can’t remember what they played first, mostly newer stuff I think, but Axl delivered absolutely blistering vocals, better than anything you could ever imagine. Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Slash were in equally rare form. Some folks may have been complaining that it wasn’t the “original” band lineup–that didn’t matter AT ALL. Their musical virtuosity was enthralling and relentless. The band never took a long break, preferring to have solos or duets to bridge in the gaps. Towards the end of the show, they broke into breathtaking instrumental covers of Layla and Wish You Were Here.
They have graduated to the status of consummate rock gods, elder statesmen, flawless performers. My favorite song of the night was definitely “November Rain”. Axl played the piano with such virtuosity and passion. It’s shame that hype and egos once overshadowed the tremendous talents of these artists, but I’m so glad to have experienced their artistry at its well-matured peak.
(Side note: I had one of these pink Sharp stereo cassette players back in the day…about the time when Appetite for Destruction was popular. I learned how to waltz to Sweet Child O’ Mine.)