Big Concerts presents Guns ‘N Roses
Novemeber 29, 2018
FNB Stadium: Johannesburg
“Not in This Lifetime” – a phrase that passed through the minds of most South African Guns N’ Roses fans when they heard that the legendary band would be headed for South African shores. Having being burned in the past (Coke Fest 2008, anyone?), it seemed even more surreal that the band would be headed out to our shores, and not as an “Axl Rose and Friends” cover-band, but as the real, goddamn, rock n’ roll deal.
Axl’s health had been the main topic of discussion for the past few days (after him pushing through an illness in the band’s Dubai leg of the tour), causing some fans to relive their Guns N’ Roses abandonment issues and frantically sell off their tickets –to those pessimists, all I can say is… HOLYSHITYOUSHOULDNTHAVESOLDTHEM!
Wonderboom opened the evening’s proceedings. Whenever an international band is announced, I always adopt my cynical mind-set and think, “which washed up, previously relevant but now hideously irrelevant local band will open this show?” The minute I saw the Wonderboom’s name alongside Guns N’ Roses, my mind was at ease – there is no band more deserving, with the longevity and charisma of Wonderboom that could have handled a slot of that magnitude.
Our local support stormed through their set, playing a solid mix of their hits and covers from the mid 90’s, all the way up to their 2017 release, ‘Rising Sun’. The two Martins, Wade, and Jono did South Africa proud as they lit up the crowd for what is arguably one of the best rock n’ roll bands to take the stage in South African history.
Then it happened – pessimisms be damned – the lights dimmed and the main event took the stage. Ripping into their guitar-laden, vocal-heavy track, ‘It’s So Easy’, Guns N’ Roses reinforced why they have been lauded with their variety of awards for the last 31 years.
For the next three and half hours the band sonically sped through every hit you could imagine, with sprinkles of covers, as well as a few of the better known licks from when Guns N’ Roses could be classified as an Axl Rose passion project (Chinese Democracy, eh?).
As a massive fan myself of the Slash/Duff era of GNR, it was amazing to hear tracks such as Mr. Brownstone and Nightrain being performed in their intended glory.
With lights starting to rise as the morning sun does on a new day (a post- GNR South Africa), the last few chugs of beer were guzzled, and the screeches of infatuation started to subside – everyone was forced to leave their momentary Paradise City of the FNB Stadium. Safe to say that everyone’s Appetite for Destruction had been satiated.
Thanks to Big Concerts for an incredible evening of music, history, and unadulterated rock n’ roll!
REVIEWED BY: WAYDE FLOWERDAY
SHOTS BY: KILLKENNY PHOTOGRAPHY