[EVENT REVIEW] Guns ‘n Roses Live in Johannesburg

posted in: Event Reviews | 7

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! 



7 Responses

  1. Sharon Grundtvig

    Awesome write-up and photography… So sorry we missed it when my husband is their biggest fan xx

  2. Hilda Alexander

    My sons dream came true last night. First poster on the wall when he was a teen to standing in front of these rock ‘n roll legends.
    He brainwashed us all into loving Axl and the boys.
    Now 30 years later he took his Dad and off they headed for a bucket list trip.
    Thanks for all for making his year!
    Also loved the write-up.

  3. Nikki

    You were obviously at a different concert from me. Pathetic logistics, unacceptably poor organization. Drove around in circles missing half the concert because JMPD closed all the roads. Then, poor quality sound. Big Concerts obvs cant handle a world class act and ought to be ashamed!!!!!!!!!!.

  4. Anonymous

    The sound was horrible!! 1.5 hours into the conceet we couldnt take it anymore, and left – only to see hundreds of people sitting outside on the pavement because they too couldnt deal with any more noise! You couldnt hear a single word that Axl was singing! Really not blown away at all!

  5. Belinda

    Very disappointing concert. After looking forward to it since getting tickets in June!!!! The sound was shocking!!!! As said by others, you could not hear a word that was being sung I could have saved the money and listened to them on You tube where I could at least enjoy their music. Poor showing Big concerts. I personally will never attend another Big concerts event at a stadium again.