Sunday, September 3, 2017

Guns N' Roses Live in Edmonton August 30th 2017

On Wednesday Janis and I went to the Guns N' Roses show here in Edmonton at Commonwealth Stadium. Now when this Not In This Lifetime... tour was first announced last year, I was thinking how long will this really last and what kind of gong show would this be. The line up for GnR this time was to include original members Axl Rose, Duff McKagan and Slash. A year into the tour and things seem to be going quite well, as they keep announcing more dates. And lucky for us, one of them dates was an Edmonton show. I really thought this tour would fall apart part way through, but so far so good. I wasn't so sure if I would go or not, as tickets were quite expensive and it still wasn't all the original members. Really wish Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler were involved but that don't look like it will happen. Oh well, at least it's got three of the originals.

But like I say tickets were on the expensive side and who knew how good it really would be. Well on July 21st which marked the 30th anniversary of GnR's debut album Appetite For Destruction, Ticketmaster had a limited amount of 30 dollar tickets available for the big show in celebration of the anniversary. Lucky for me I was able to pick up two cheap tickets. We were now going!

This would be my fifth time seeing Guns N' Roses in concert. The very first time being when they opened for The Cult here in Edmonton in August of 1987. I've been a fan of the band forever, I was into the band even before the Appetite album came out having been turned onto the band through Kerrang magazine. I even have their EP Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide album on vinyl which came out before Appetite. This band was the soundtrack to me in my late teens and early 20's.

I started to read some of the concert reviews for the Not In This Lifetime... tour and looking at setlists. From what I was reading and hearing, this sounded like it could be a really good show. Now I was getting excited about seeing them again, but still had reservations about seeing this show. The last time I saw GnR in concert was in 2006, which was Axl and a bunch of hired hands doing GnR songs. The band at that time didn't come on stage till after midnight and Axl didn't sound very good, the band had no original members beside Axl, and then to top it off Bubbles of the Trailer Park Boys actually ended up being the highlight of the show when Axl invited the actors of TPB on stage. Bubbles performed the song "Liquor and Whores" and the crowd went nuts. But that show was an absolute gong show, late start having to wait for three hours for them to hit the stage, what a fucking joke. So that left a bitter taste in my mouth for the band.

The opening band was Our Lady Peace who we didn't catch for good reason, cause I'm just not a fan. Enough said.

This time around Guns N' Roses started right on time 7:30 and went until 11pm, yes a three and half hour show. Very impressive! Not only was it a long show, but it was a great 3.5 hour party. The beer sales lasted long into the set, which helped everyone get nice and primed for the show. No having to stock up on beers before they stopped selling, and you could have a drink with you in the smoking area, that too was a bonus.

Guns N' Roses opened the show with a blistering version of "It's So Easy" and then into "Mr. Brownstone", we were off to a rocking start. The third song was "Chinese Democracy" one of three songs from that album. Then it was "Welcome To The Jungle", Axl sounded great, his voice was very strong with him hitting all the high notes he is famous for. The first cover song of the night, a song they have been doing for years the Wings song "Live and Let Die". The night had a lot of cover songs thrown into the set, intro and outro's and medleys to songs, it was listening trying to catch them all that was fun. The intro to the Misfits song "Attitude" a song that appeared on the "Spaghetti Incident?" started with the Johnny Thunders song "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory". The band played that song with a lot of attitude which is the way it should be played. Slash and bassist Duff McKagan were rocking all night too, actually the whole band sounded great.

The song "Civil War" from the album Use Your Illusions started with a little Jimi Hendrix "Voodoo Chile" intro and outro. GnR have always been known for covers and they did a lot of them through out the three plus hour show. I recall the band doing Nazareth's "Hair Of The Dog" when they opened for Iron Maiden here in 1988. Slash's guitar solo had some of Chuck Berry's "Johnny Be Goode" thrown in the mix. It was during "Sweet Child Of Mine" that it was my cue to do a beer run and have a quick smoke as I really have never liked that song. I made it back in time for the band to do a song which they had never performed live before a tribute to Glen Campbell who passed away earlier in August with the band doing the song "Wichita Lineman", Duff and Slash playing acoustics for this number. I'll be honest, myself and I am sure most others weren't very familiar with this song. It is some nice of Axl and band to pay tribute to someone like Glen Campbell, these guys truly are huge music fans and it shows with all the different bands they covered.

The song "My Michelle" was rocking, and after that Slash and guitarist Richard Fortus did a little Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here" which led into the big ballad "November Rain" another song I have never been a big fan of either but actually found myself singing along out loud with my partner Janis. After that song I looked at her and was like wow, I usually hate that song. The band also covered the James Brown song "I Got You (I Feel Good)" which was kind of a mess. But the Soundgarden song "Black Hole Sun" made up for that, then they did the Dylan song "Knockin' On Heavens Door" a song they have been doing for many years. To close out the set before the encore was "Nighttrain" which fucking rocked big time. The crowd was losing there shit during this one.

For the encore the band started playing the Allman Brothers song "Melissa" before going in to "Patience". Then another cover this time AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie" which sounded great too. The an original "Don't Cry" which lead to the Who song "The Seeker" which rocked with all the sloppiness of the original song. And to close out the show they rocked the shit out of "Paradise City" with fireworks going off during that song. What a fucking amazing show. Even with the big stage and being seated at the opposite end of the place, this was just a great show. They made better use of the stage unlike Metallica. Metallica's stage like my brother said was so big and sparse. GnR had the same size of stage but had ramps and such on stage and screens so you could see the band. It just didn't seem so over the top. Guns N' Roses used the stage to their advantage and put on one hell of a show. Way better then I was expecting. I have to admit I had to look at the setlist to remember all the songs they played and covers they mixed in with other songs. I had such a good time at this show with Janis, we rocked out, sang along, danced, drank, smoked, made friends, hung out with friends. This is a show I would go to again in a nanosecond. Good times!!!

Guns N' Roses setlist.

Guns N' Roses at Commonwealth Stadium.

T-shirt front.

T-shirt back.

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