Guns N’ Roses’ “Not in this Lifetime” Tour offers what few people expected from the band, a reunion (of sorts). The band’s star is, and always has been, Axl Rose, but he’s fronted various band members in incarnations of the group since at least the early 2000s.
But in 2016, it was announced that guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan would rejoin Rose on the road despite any past conflicts with Rose. Other original members, guitarist Izzy Stradlin and drummer Steven Adler, are not on this tour but Dizzy Reed, who was with the band since the ’90s, is here on keys as is Melissa Reese and also guitarist Richard Fortus.
At the first of three Madison Square Garden shows, Guns N’ Roses was pitch perfect over the course of a three-hour performance. With no opener, the band ripped into “It’s So Easy” and “Mr. Brownstone”, classics from Appetite for Destruction before dipping into the forgettable “Chinese Democracy” and then back to Appetite for “Welcome to the Jungle”. It was a powerful opening that had the audience riveted.
There were lulls in the show too — namely the Chinese Democracy tracks — but for a set this long, and being the first time seeing the band myself, I wasn’t concerned. What was notable was that, when Rose stepped off the stage at various points in the night, Slash and the other guitarists carried the evening. Rose often returned sporting a different colored flannel around his waist than he had left wearing.
While I had some hesitation towards seeing this classic group from my childhood on tour initially, given all the past issues with the band, I am genuinely pleased for having attended the show. Rose and Slash looked to be enjoying each other’s company on the road. And I was pretty happy with Pink’s surprise appearance for the last verse or so of “Patience”. But even without the personalities, Guns N’ Roses’ music gripped my attention like pangs of hunger. Even after three hours, I wanted more. More “Live and Let Die” (which I had heard Paul McCartney do in the same venue not so long ago, but with more pyrotechnics), more “Civil War”, more “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and more “Paradise City”. Let’s hope the band just holds together and can keep offering more.
It’s So Easy
Welcome to the Jungle
Double Talkin’ Jive
Live and Let Die (Wings cover)
You Could Be Mine
New Rose (The Damned)
This I Love
Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather) (Nino Rota)
Sweet Child O’ Mine
Wichita Lineman (Jimmy Webb)
Used to Love Her
Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden)
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan)
Patience (with P!nk)
The Seeker (The Who)
Sunday, October 22, 2017 Boston, MA TD Garden
Monday, October 23, 2017 Hartford, CT XL Center
Thursday, October 26, 2017 Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena
Sunday, October 29, 2017 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
Monday, October 30, 2017 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
Thursday, November 2, 2017 Detroit, MI Little Caesers Arena
Friday, November 3, 2017 Louisville, KY KFC Yum! Center
Monday, November 6, 2017 Chicago, IL United Center
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 Milwaukee, WI Bradley Center
Friday, November 10, 2017 Houston, TX Toyota Center
Monday, November 13, 2017 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 Tulsa, OK BOK Center
Friday, November 17, 2017 Las Vegas, NV T-Mobile Arena
Saturday, November 18, 2017 Sacramento, CA Golden 1 Center
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 Oakland, CA Oracle Arena
Friday, November 24, 2017 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
Saturday, November 25, 2017 Los Angeles, CA The Forum
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 San Diego, CA Valley View Casino Center
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 Los Angeles, CA The Forum