GUNS ‘N ROSES are heading to Israel next week. (photo credit: Guns ‘N Roses Official)
GUNS ‘N ROSES are heading to Israel next week.
(photo credit: Guns ‘N Roses Official)

Guns N’ Roses: Hard rock legends reunited and back in Israel


Some 35 years after bursting onto the rock music scene with a shot of snarling adrenaline, the jungle isn’t quite so ominous in the Guns N’ Roses universe.

The core band of singer Axl Rose, 62, guitarist Slash, 58, and bassist Duff McKagan, 60 are no longer the volatile kids causing a sensation on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip, but instead have evolved into consummate showmen and entertainers.

When they walk out onto the stage at the expansive Park Hayarkon in Tel Aviv on June 5, joined by longtime members, keyboardist Dizzy Reed, guitarist Richard Fortus, drummer Frank Ferrer, and keyboardist Melissa Reese, there won’t be any sense of danger or unpredictability. It will be a well-oiled machine that has been rumbling now for some six years, since Slash and McKagan rejoined the fold after over 20 years of estrangement from Rose.

 But that doesn’t mean the show will be any less incendiary than Guns N’ Roses’ three previous appearances in Israel – in 1993 near the end of their first run of fame, in 2012, when Rose brought a group of replacement players to the country and in 2017, soon after the core trio’s reunion, but minus original drummer Steven Adler and guitarist Izzy Stradlin.

The band’s world tour began on Thursday at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, and following the Tel Aviv show next week, they continue on to stadiums in Europe before heading back to do the same in the US. What all the fans want to hear wherever they see the band are the string of classic rockers and ballads – from “Sweet Child O’ Mine” to “November Rain,” complete with Rose’s trademark wail and Slash’s guitar histrionics.

Guns N' Roses guitarist Saul Hudson, better known by his stage name Slash (credit: REUTERS)
Guns N' Roses guitarist Saul Hudson, better known by his stage name Slash (credit: REUTERS)

Guns N’ Roses: Premier hard rockers reunited and touring again

G&R were the premier hard rock band of the late 1980s and early ‘90s, synthesizing the raunchy bluesy rawness of the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith with unrepentant LA glam on albums like Appetite For Destruction and Use Your Illusion I and II.

Following their acrimonious breakup in 1993, Rose took over the band’s name and kept riding the horse with mixed success for years, while his erstwhile bandmates went off to pursue solo projects that paled in comparison to their ensemble work.

Their 2016 regrouping has been a boon for fans and the band alike. The subsequent three-year-and-a-half-year Not in This Lifetime … Tour (named after Rose’s pronouncement of never playing with Slash again) covered over 150 shows with 5.3 million attending, yielding hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

WITH COVID out of the way, G&R are back on the rock legacy circuit and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of waning interest. Indeed, the band seems to be getting along better than ever.

Longtime guitarist Fortus, who was one of the replacement members who was invited to stay on, said recently on an American radio station that the band is well-rehearsed and is able to call audibles during their shows.

“Hopefully we’ll shake things up a bit and switch around songs and stuff like that. … A lot of times every night is different, because we don’t have set lists,” he said.

 Fortus, who has also appeared in Israel before in 2014, when he was a member of the Australian-based rockers Dead Daisies, revealed that during shows, Rose cuts off his microphone from the sound system so he can discuss song selections with the band… and sometimes to tell jokes.

“Our singer, Axl, he’s got a button he can push that cuts off the mic,” Fortus replied. “Which usually is used to tell jokes! ... But he’ll just say, ‘What do you guys wanna do?’ And somebody else will say something, or he’ll say, ‘Let’s do this.’ We’re well rehearsed. We sound check for at least an hour every day.”

That doesn’t sound like a group of slackers, and fans who attend the show in Tel Aviv next week will be forgiven if they’re transported back 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 one-time erratic Rose has turned into a dependable workhorse, and the Les Paul-toting Slash must have made a Robert Johnson-like deal with the devil to remain the same age and retain his guitar prowess as long as he agreed to work with Rose again.

Whatever financial incentives were part of the agreement, there’s no denying that when they get onstage, Guns N’ Roses are out to justify their reputation as one of the all-time greats of rock & roll.

The show begins at 6 p.m. with Ayfo Hayeled. G&R take the stage at 7 p.m. and are expected to perform for close to three hours.

Load more