Guns N’ Roses Sucked or Was Awesome, Depending On Who You Ask

And other thoughts from the performance in Philadelphia.

Axl Rose and Slash performing "It's So Easy" at the Guns N' Roses concert at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on July 14, 2016. (Photo via YouTube)

Axl Rose and Slash performing “It’s So Easy” at the Guns N’ Roses concert at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on July 14, 2016. (Photo via YouTube)

I told my editor that I would go down to Lincoln Financial Field and write a Guns N’ Roses review. So last night, I sweated my face off with the tens of thousands of other fans, voyeurs, and children of the 80s (and their children) as Axl Rose, Slash, Duff and some hired guns brought the Guns N’ Roses Not in this Lifetime Tour to Philadelphia.

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This isn’t so much a formal Guns N’ Roses review, because what fun is that, especially when Dan DeLuca over at the Inquirer published his expedited Guns N’ Roses review at midnight. (You can read it here.) If you were at the show, feel free to put your review in the comments below.

They Actually Started On Time!


In their previous life, Guns N’ Roses was almost always famously late. Like, really late. But the last time I went to a Guns N’ Roses concert in Philadelphia, Axl never even bothered to, you know, show up, and a bona fide riot ensued.

Fourteen years later, the band didn’t just show up, they actually started on time, strutting out with “It’s So Easy” just after 9:45 p.m. (as seen above), the time the tour said they’d go on. Guess they felt they had some making up to do. That, or the promoter put a $10,000-per-minute fine in Axl’s contract.

Stop Body Shaming Axl Rose!

The number of people going on and on about how Axl Rose has gained weight or how he huffs and puffs around the stage and takes frequent breaks, presumably for water and maybe an oxygen mask, is disconcerting.

Dude is 54 years old and looks better or the same as most of the guys in his age bracket who were at the show last night. Try saying that Beyonce gained a little baby fat, and you’re shut down for body shaming, but it’s OK to make fun of Axl Rose’s weight gain?

Drunk + Heat + Crowds = Not Good

Seriously, was there anyone at the Guns N’ Roses show that wasn’t completely inebriated? People were pretty clearly trying to relive their 20s, and it didn’t appear to be going well based on the number of middle agers I saw getting sick or on the verge of it.

One woman fell down drunk and pooped her pants, and that was within the first hour of the show. Excessive drinking, excessive heat, and excessive crowds are not a good combination.

Video Killed the Stadium Concert

I am envious of the Baby Boomer Generation. No, not because cars were way cooler back then or because you could go to airports without taking your shoes off, but because it must have been a much, much more enjoyable experience going to a concert when video wasn’t so much a part of our lives.

Unless you were in the pit or maybe the first 20 rows on the floor of the Guns N’ Roses concert — a very, very small percentage of the audience that the massive stadium held — your eyes were on the big video screens the whole night. Or, they were on your phone that was pointed at the big video screens. Or your view of the stage was obstructed by a sea of people in front of you with their glowing phones pointed at the big video screens.

And it’s not like the sound was great (it was downright awful in some sections), so suddenly the idea of paying $20 or $30 or even $50 for a simulcasted concert in a movie theater doesn’t seem like such a terrible idea, assuming there’s beer.

No, I Will Not Sit Down

Just as the first lull in the concert began — and it wasn’t really much of a lull — some aging ex-rockers started to sit down, including the guy behind me who asked me to do the same and then got all pissy when I didn’t. It’s a Guns N’ Roses concert at the Linc, people, not an evening of Strauss waltzes at the Academy of Music. Get over it.

But Were They Any Good?

Because what good is a Guns N’ Roses review without that? DeLuca’s review was mostly positive, as have been a lot of the other newspaper reviews.

I had a bunch of friends at the show, and their opinions vary wildly. “Honestly, not that impressed,” said Casey Parker, who hosted a tequila-enhanced pre-party at his 15th Street restaurant, Jose Pistola’s. “Wasn’t as good as I wanted. By a lot.” “Wow,” says another friend, who asked that I not use his name because he wasn’t supposed to be at the show last night. “That really sucked.”

But Rich Rys, my friend and colleague at Philly Mag, couldn’t have felt more differently, and I generally agree with him. “Fantastic,” he wrote on Facebook. “Axl sounds great, Slash is Slash, and I hope I look half as good as Duff when I’m 52.” And my wife’s Northeast High School friend Nicole Kulp (go, Vikings!) concurred. “Amazing,” she told me. “If you say anything else, you are wrong.”

If you want to see for yourself, the tour continues through November, with two nights at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on July 23rd and 24th.

Here’s a set list from last night:

It’s So Easy
Mr. Brownstone
Chinese Democracy
Welcome to the Jungle
Double Talkin’ Jive
Estranged
Live and Let Die (Wings)
Rocket Queen
You Could Be Mine
You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory/New Rose (Johnny Thunders/The Damned)
This I Love
Civil War
Sorry
Out Ta Get Me
Coma
Band intros into Slash solo – Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather/Andy Williams)
Sweet Child O’ Mine
Better
Jam (“Wish You Were Here” Pink Floyd/Layla (Derek and The Dominos)
November Rain
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan)
Nightrain

Encore:
Jam into Don’t Cry
The Seeker (The Who)
Paradise City