Edited by Brett Buchanan
I attended Guns N’ Roses’ show in Philadelphia on Thursday night in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field and interviewed fans, asking them about Izzy Stradlin’s absence from the ‘Not In This Lifetime’ tour. Watch the video, and then read my full review of the show below and how it changed my life!
In 1986, a new band invaded the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles and changed the sound of rock & roll as it was at the time: commercialized glam metal. Guns N’ Roses came in and completely blew everyone’s minds, mixing elements of blues and punk to create a completely new rock sound that was also classic at the same time. Thirty years later, they are bringing just as much heat into the world of music as they did then with their “Not in this Lifetime” reunion tour.
I grew up listening to classic rock and felt like a complete stranger to my own generation. Born the year the world’s most dangerous officially broke up (1996), I feared I would never get to see my idols onstage together. I had seen Axl Rose with his version of Guns in 2011 in support of Chinese Democracy, and I saw a Slash five times with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators in support of World on Fire. But, as any fan of GN’R would agree, something was missing. The two had mutually agreed that playing together again would not occur in this lifetime.
On February 6, 2015, something incredible happened. Slash tweeted to Axl Rose wishing him a happy birthday, and tagged him in it. Everyone knew that meant the two were starting to get over their separation. As the year came to a close, speculation of a reunion circulated through the rock world like smoke in the air. I almost couldn’t believe it…until the Coachella lineup was announced.
Months went by and my anticipation grew more intense each time I heard a Guns N’ Roses song (which is often). My chance to see my favorite band play together finally came on July 14th in Philadelphia.
As a die hard fan of GN’R, this has been a very emotional time. I sat in my seat and waited as the yellow bullet logo flashed on the monitors, spewing out gunshot sounds. I didn’t know what I was in for or what to expect. No matter how many of their shows I have been following on YouTube, it’s not the same as seeing it for yourself.
The lights finally dimmed and the crowd went ballistic. Duff slammed on his bass to start the show with “It’s So Easy,” and Axl came out as the lights exploded, growling the first line of the Appetite tune in his baritone voice. I’ve never screamed so hard in my life.
Next was “Mr. Brownstone”, and then “Chinese Democracy.” There aren’t many words to describe hearing Slash and Duff play on a song they didn’t record with Axl, other than incredible. It is so amazing of them to voluntarily play any song off that album, and make it sound better than those who were actually on it (no offense). They did three more off Chinese: “Sorry,” “Better,” and “This I Love,” which was insane. That is probably one of Axl’s most difficult songs to sing and he sounded absolutely impeccable. The crowd was almost silent after the song commenced because of how in awe they were.
“Coma” was an absolute gift to hear. I’ve always loved that song and was only ever able to find a video of them playing it live back then in Chicago in 1992 (recommend watching). The heart beat started thumping and a heart monitor pulsed across the screens. I’ve never been so excited about hearing a song live before.
Slash and Richard Fortus played Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” and I knew what was coming. I saw people start to walk out, and I wanted to tell them they were about to miss the best song of the set: “November Rain.” Axl began on the piano covering the outro of “Layla,” and then broke into the first few notes of his anthem. Tears immediately started flowing, people looked at me like I was out of my mind but I could not believe I was witnessing my favorite song of all time being played by Axl, Slash, and Duff together. The monitors showed a desert scenery as Slash swayed through the solo, as if it were to reenact the music video. I had chills. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, heard, and felt altogether.
As usual, they ended with “Paradise City.” The only song I can think of that I really wish I would’ve heard is “Patience,” but I had not a single feeling of disappointment after that natural high I felt the three hours I was there.
They all look and sound incredible. It’s as if Axl’s performances for AC/DC strengthened his voice, because he sounded even better than the videos from Guns N’ Roses’ shows in April. He looks great as well, smiling the entire night, thrilled to be back onstage with his rock and roll brothers again. Slash and Duff never stopped sounding amazing, they kept the energy going throughout the entire show. There wasn’t a single time I wanted to sit down.
In conclusion, my life was absolutely changed by this show. This band has been the entire world to me for as long as I can remember and I feel complete. I highly recommend going to anyone who has the chance to, whether they need to StubHub the show or whatever the case. Fans, you’re going to be blown away. Not that anyone expects anything less than incredible, but seeing it for yourself will surpass your expectations far beyond what you had in mind. And if you’re not a huge fan, you certainly will be if you have the chance to go.
Thank you, Guns N’ Roses, for giving your fans the world. We are forever grateful.