Guns N’ Roses show: Full-on rock fantasy

Guns N' Roses perform at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on November 29, 2018. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Not In This Lifetime functions almost as a greatest hits tour, but with real heart.

The truth is major concerts in South Africa are mostly aimed at younger crowds, with moms and dads who pickle along and cringe through every Baby, Baby, Baby.

This week was the adult’s turn when Guns N’ Roses brought their entire Not in This Lifetime Tour to the FNB Stadium.

Currently, it is the fourth highest-grossing tour in history and it’s clear why. It’s a full scale rock fantasy – a sound that has become scarce in the electronic music age, and those that grew up in the 80s and 90s clearly miss it, so much that they packed the calabash to almost capacity.

Take me to Paradise City

It’s common knowledge that Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan and the rest of the band aren’t exactly pals any longer. But when they regrouped for the tour that started in 2016, they made a clever move. Not just in terms of the almost half-a-billion dollars they made from ticket sales, they made a good business move to re-establish the band as undeniable royalty in the music industry.

It also reaffirms their relevancy, not just now but in the future. The tour also delivered bang for the followers’ buck. The entire show is over three hours, with nearly every hit brought live.

Screeching guitars, visuals and light – any fan gets the feeling this is what it would have been like to see them live when they were top of the charts. Maybe they’re older, but not for one second does one feel like they didn’t deliver something special. Pure paradise.

Welcome to the Jungle

Music has always been a unifier, but the air during Guns N’ Roses’s once-off concert here was different. It’s hard to describe something like watching them live without using the word wild – and it was a jungle out there.

While the years have not been kind to Rose, he still manages to keep the energy up, keep going at an amazing pace. The crowd hung to his lips, mesmerised by the unmistakable swagger of truly one of the world’s greatest super groups.

What Guns N’ Roses gave on Thursday night was a chance to hear almost their entire catalogue of music, laced with guitar solos from Slash, visuals and a big ol’ rock concert a true fan won’t forget. Not in this lifetime at least.

November Rain

Not In This Lifetime functions almost as a greatest hits tour, but with real heart. It’s clear that there’s a lot of dedication that went into the production to make it as crowd friendly as possible.

The moments of hysteria during upbeat songs slows down when hits like November Rain washes over you. It’s a dizzying and somewhat narcotic blend that from the floor to the nosebleeds, you were likely on your feet the entire time.

If you were lucky enough to be there on Thursday, you’re probably still in a daze with the realisation you experienced a bit of history.

Rating: ★★★★★

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