Guns N’Roses, including Seattle-bred bassist Duff McKagan, Axl Rose and Slash, played its hits as well cover songs at CenturyLink Field Friday, Aug. 12. The show was part of the band’s “Not in This Lifetime” reunion tour.
It is certain that most of the 44,000 people inside CenturyLink Field Friday (August 12) thought they would never see Guns N’ Roses onstage again. That included the band, as well, whose members infamously hated each other so much that singer Axl Rose didn’t appear at the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
But Rose was indeed onstage Friday for the “Not in This Lifetime” tour. With several different flannel shirts around his waist during the night and multiple ridiculous hats, Rose looked cartoonish, but his voice generally held up. “Mr. Brownstone,” the second song of the night, the band’s ode to heroin, proved that.
In the nineties, GNR was the biggest-selling band in the world and Rose was the Donald Trump of rock, always saying outrageous things and feuding with everyone (including Nirvana), but most often with his own bandmates. Rose said very little Friday, as if he were tethered by the big bucks reunion cash, but he ran around the stage frantically.
Songs like “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” were also fueled by guitarist Slash.
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Seattle-bred bassist Duff McKagan was exceptional all night, but if someone was looking for the truly original lineup to reunite, former Guns N’Roses members Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler were not invited on this tour.
GNR played its hits, but the show also included numerous covers. Wings’ “Live and Let Die” was peppy, Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” was weird and McKagan sang the Misfits’ “Attitude.” Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” scorched. The Who’s “The Seeker” was entirely un-mod-like and snippets of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin appeared within songs, too.
It was a generous, two hour-plus set, but the covers helped reinforce that this band’s main contribution to music history was a “rawk” aesthetic that largely borrowed from true originators.
Yet few in the CenturyLink crowd came for song craft or originality. They came instead to hear Axl belt out the night’s closer, “Paradise City,” to see McKagan muscle the beat and to hear Slash essentially steal the show with a brilliant “Godfather” “love theme” solo.
When the only violence onstage at a Guns N’ Roses show comes from purely mental images of Mafia movie clips, you know you’ve seen a one-of-a-kind tour. Almost for certain — not in our lifetimes? — will we see this particular spectacle again. But then we’ve said that before.
McKagan’s daughter’s band, The Pink Slips, and Alice in Chains opened the show.