What’s Goin On: Guns N’Roses

By Vivien Topalovic
All photos taken by Vivien Topalovic

After first forming in 1985, Guns N’ Roses changed the heavy rock music scene with albums like Appetite for Destruction and Use Your Illusion I + II. Being dubbed as “the most dangerous band in the world” shaped their rock n’ roll image. Throw in some tension between band members and Guns N’ Roses could have been a band that shined bright but burned out too fast. However, after 24 years of public disputes, Slash and Axl Rose have graced the same stage in Brisbane, Australia. 

Australian support act, Rose Tattoo prepared the stage by performing fast paced and heavy distorted numbers leaving the audience hungry for more. Luckily, for them they would not have to wait long.

Kicking off the Australian leg of their Not In This Lifetime tour at QSAC stadium, Guns N’ Roses burst onto the stage with the energetic “It’s So Easy”. They were alert, revved up and as Axl Rose thrusted his defiant middle finger in the air, the crowd chanted the famous line harmoniously, “Why don’t you just f*ck off?” Gone were the days of arriving late on stage, drunk and disorderly.

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The band powered through classics like “Mr Brownstone”, “Welcome to the Jungle” and fan favourite “Double Talkin’ Jive” with ease leaving some of the audience astonished that Axl Rose could still hit those high notes.

Fans were impressed, as the set list seemed to get better and better with only three songs being present from the lacklustre ‘Chinese Democracy. The band knew exactly what the fans wanted as they smashed through their 26 song set list with little to no break.

As the night went on, the atmosphere was infectious. People from all ages were getting into the music with older fans feeling the nostalgia as Slash played those famous opening notes to “Sweet Child o Mine”. The crowd felt every emotion;  anger within “Civil War”, sadness from “Estranged” and remorse with “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”.

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Each of the three original members had their moment to shine. Bassist Duff McKagen sang the band’s cover of “New Rose” with the same roughness as shown on ‘The Spaghetti Incident’. Slash calmly performed an improvised solo with the same finesse he has encompassed over the past 30 years. Axl Rose sang best in “November Rain” with raw poignant sadness proving to be one of the best moments of the night.

Clocking in at over 2 hours and 40 minutes, the band closed with “Patience”, a cover of The Who’s “The Seeker” and “Paradise City”. As the final notes played, the crowd cheered feeling as though they stepped back in time. The band were in top form that night, something they had not seen in a long time. Being in the presence of this great band was something truly special. Guns N’ Roses left politics at the door and focused on the music by providing the audience with what they have always wanted. The reunion was worth the wait.

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Full Set List:
It’s So Easy
Mr. Brownstone
Chinese Democracy
Welcome to the Jungle
Double Talkin’ Jive
Better
Estranged
Live and Let Die (Wings Cover)
Rocket Queen
You Could Be Mine
New Rose (The Damned Cover, with ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory’ intro)
This I Love
Civil War (With ‘Voodoo Child’ outro)
Coma
Slash Guitar Solo
Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From ‘The Godfather’, Nino Rota Cover)
Sweet Child O’ Mine
Used to Love Her
Out Ta Get Me
Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd Cover)
November Rain
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan Cover)
Nightrain

Encore:
Patience
The Seeker (The Who Cover)
Paradise City

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