Guns N’ Roses made their triumphant return to Los Angeles and put on a dominating three hour performance. The band started shortly after 8pm and right after a great opening set from The Cult, the anticipation started to build with every passing minute. The crowd, decked out in their various GNR shirts — with some in full Axl or Slash costume, were talking about which songs they might play, while others were still in disbelief that this show was actually happening. The show kicked off with a couple classic songs from Appetite for Destruction: “It’s So Easy” and “Mr. Brownstone.” Some well timed pyro and fireworks accented each performance. Seeing “Coma,” the band’s 10 minute epic song from Use Your Illusion I, performed in its entirety was my favorite moment of the night. There were a number of spectacular performances, but that was the best in my opinion. Throughout the night, the band played a good mix of songs from all their albums, and even worked in some great covers. Their version of “The Seeker” by The Who was a notable cover and was a great selection to play before they closed out the night with “Paradise City.”
Like many, this was my first time seeing Axl and Slash perform together and it was thrilling to not only see these two legendary rockstars share the stage, but to see them perform so many of the songs that were so important to my musical foundation and development. The reason I started playing the guitar was due to seeing Slash plug in his Les Paul copy at the beginning of the “Sweet Child O’ Mine” video. Over the past few years, Slash’s playing seems to have gone up a notch and that was on full display during Friday’s show. He effortlessly moved up and down the neck of his signature Les Paul and really showcased his brilliance during “Civil War” mid way through their set. Rhythm guitarist, Richard Fortus did a fantastic job tackling these classic tunes, and drummer, Frank Ferrer, put on an unbelievably powerful performance. It is no easy task to follow drummers like Steven Adler and Matt Sorum, but Frank knocked it out of the park and it was clear why he was chosen hold things down for this mighty band. Axl Rose, now fully recovered from the foot injury that plagued some of his earlier performances, was running all around the stage in the same manner as I remember from videos during the Use Your Illusion era. He has a commanding stage presence and still sings like a caged beast ready to be unleashed. Duff McKagan kept the low end going as he churned out his signature bass lines through his low slung white Fender P bass. Throughout the show, he could often be found on the drum riser locking in with Frank as their rhythmic locomotive chugged on through the night.
That night, the various merch stands were packed with fans looking to get a shirt or some other mementoto commemorate this historic night, but for me, the memories that this night provided go far beyond anything that could be sold at a booth. It was privilege to be in attendance and witness such a historic show at an iconic location like Dodger Stadium. The band has some international dates already scheduled into next year, and I hope they will come back for another round in the U.S.