Axl Rose, still defiant, is sticking to his guns

Guns N’ Roses in Hayarkon Park, July 3.

Axl Rose (photo credit: Avihai Levy)
Axl Rose
(photo credit: Avihai Levy)
Less than three months ago, Guns N’ Roses was officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And rightfully so. The band was indisputably one of the genre’s greats, pioneering a unique blend of hard, gritty, at times ugly rock riffs and floating guitar melodies.
That was a very different Guns N’ Roses.
The lingering question, of course, is whether or not the current lineup, which features just one of the original five members plus some hired help, is worthy of the GNR name.
After an inspired and passionate performance that lasted more than three hours, I can confidently answer in the affirmative.
Overweight, sporting a ridiculous mustache, and occasionally wearing a flamboyant white suit jacket, frontman Axl Rose still managed to deliver a wildly impressive performance.
His shrill, high-pitched voice has not deserted him over the years (though he now needs more time between songs to catch his breath), and he remains a loyal practitioner of his unique side-to-side dance technique.
The set-list was fair. The band of course played a number of songs from their Chinese Democracy album, some of which at times felt monotonous and droning, but they made up for it by playing almost all of the classic hits, including “November Rain,” “Estranged,” “Sweet Child Of Mine,” “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Don’t Cry,” “Paradise City” and “Civil War.”
Also impressive was the list of cover songs, as the band played Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd, and hinted at The Who and Elton John.
Nearing the end of their generous set, the band played a special tune for the delighted Tel Aviv crowd: “Hatikvah.” Of all the Guns and Roses classics, I must say that I enjoyed this piece most of all, and I can tell my sentiment was shared by many in the audience, who sang along faithfully and loudly.