Guns N’ Roses.
(photo credit: PR)
It might not be as monumental as Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas sitting down in the same room together, but the sight of Axl Rose and Slash sharing a stage after years of acrimony proves that anything is possible.
The two iconic figureheads of 1980s gold standard hard rockers Gun N’ Roses said enough bad things about each other after their acrimonious split-up in 1993 to rival Donald Trump’s tirades against CNN.
As recently as 2012, when asked about the chances of the Los Angeles band’s original lineup reforming, Rose’s reply was: “Not in this lifetime.”
But some two decades after the original lineup abandoned the apparently hard-to-handle Rose, the lure of a lucrative regrouping – perhaps combined with the desire to prove something to a resultant generation of techno sampling geeks – prompted Rose and Slash to bury the hatchet.
Rose had kept G&R rumbling ever since the break-up with replacement players (including, ironically, The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson). But last year, along with original bassist Duff McKagan but minus uninvited guitarist Izzy Stradlin and drummer Steven Adler, Guns N’ Roses was reborn, with question marks abounding.
Slash and McKagan haven’t appeared on a G&R record since 1993’s “The Spaghetti Incident,” and the Rose version of the band hasn’t released an album since 2008’s muchdelayed “Chinese Democracy.” But against all odds, the reunion turned back time to 1989 when Guns N’ Roses were the biggest band in the world, and their 1987 landmark Appetite for Destruction was already ensconced as one of the all-time classic hard rock albums.
The eccentric and erratic Rose has turned into the consummate professional, even shedding some of his extra poundage put on during the lost years. And the shirtless, Les Paultoting Slash must have made a Robert Johnson-like deal with the devil to remain the same age and retain his guitar prowess if he would work with Rose again. The reviews of the band’s world tour have been ecstatic.
“Guns N’ Roses dished out nearly three hours of meaty rock that was in turn ferocious, preposterous and moving,” wrote The Telegraph in London following their show there last month.
“The big stadium rock of Guns N’ Roses has often been derided as overblown. Axl’s multi-octave howl and his habit of never singing ‘cry’ when ‘cry-ee-ie-ee-ie-ee-ie’ will do is almost as ludicrous as a topless Slash playing a wibbly guitar solo in a desert on his unplugged Les Paul, as he did in almost every Guns N’ Roses video.
But that’s the point. Big stadium rock is inherently ridiculous. And when played in front of 80,000 people in its natural home – a vast cauldron like the Olympic Stadium – it not only makes perfect sense but transports you somewhere thrilling.”
A similar scene will likely ensue when Guns N’ Roses takes the stage at Hayarkon Park on Saturday night, July 15, as part of the aptly titled “Not in This Lifetime” tour.
It will be the band’s first appearance in Israel, the first taking place in 1993 with the classic lineup, which was followed by the Rose-led edition in 2012. The lineup will include drummer Frank Ferrer, keyboardist Dizzy Reed (who joined the original lineup in the 1990s), guitarist Richard Fortus from the latterday replacement band, and keyboard player Melissa Rice.
Fortus, a 15-year veteran of the band, who performed in Israel in 2015 as a member of retro rockers Dead Daisies, told the site Hot Press that G&R has never sounded better.
“Slash and Duff have the same approach that I do. You play for the song, first and foremost,” he said. “It’s not about it being some type of masturbatory showcase for your abilities; it’s about working together as a band… supporting wherever the focus needs to be, not simply waiting for your turn to wank. I don’t think this band has ever sounded better than it does right now. Axl has never sounded better, and we’re tighter and more focused than ever.”
Even if they’re only in it for the money, it appears that Guns N’ Roses is ensuring that fans are getting their money’s worth. Following on the heels of one of the band’s inspirations, Aerosmith, who displayed their musical prowess at the same venue in May, expect Guns N’ Roses to have all cylinders firing. Just beware of getting injured from all those air guitar solos during “Sweet Child o’ Mine.”Guns N’ Roses will perform on July 15 at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv.