Three years after the Los Angeles rock legends announced their reunion (albeit with singer Axl Rose, guitarist Slash, and bassist Duff McKagan as the only original members), the band is set to embark on another North American leg this fall. And why not? Having grossed hundreds of millions of dollars to date as one of rock’s top live draws, it’s clear that demand to hear Guns N’ Roses revisit their earth-scorching, parent-terrifying glory years is still as high as one of Rose’s vintage howls.
Just days ahead of their tour opener in Charlotte, North Carolina, the band went back to their LA roots, playing an intimate Citi Sound Vault warm-up show at the 5,000-capacity Hollywood Palladium on Saturday (Sept. 21) — just blocks from where they cut their teeth in the mid-’80s. Unsurprisingly, they took their time hitting the stage, arriving at 10.35 p.m., but for most of their loyal fanbase, the epic set was more than worth it.
Here’s our recap of the five best moments from Guns N’ Roses’ epic two-hour, 45 minute set.
“Welcome to the Jungle”
Guns N’ Roses waited until four songs in before dropping the track that started the destruction back in 1987. Even after more than three decades, Slash’s spindly opening riff to “Welcome to the Jungle” sounds like a sizzling fuse before an explosion. Once the rest of the band kicked in, the Guns N’ Roses that everyone wants and remembers finally appeared.
“Live and Let Die”
It’s no secret (and no shame) Axl Rose can’t quite sing with the ferocity he did as a 25-year-old, but there are moments when he comes damn close. During their beloved Wings cover, the group took flight, and Rose suddenly and dramatically unleashed his banshee wail across the room. It was a moment that made you remember why this reunion was a good idea.
“You Could Be Mine”
Rumors have recently been abound that Guns N’ Roses might have worked on a song for the upcoming Terminator: Dark Fate movie. Let’s hope not, because the full-throttle “You Could Be Mine” (from 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day) is already an integral — and unsurpassable — part of the franchise’s history. While tearing through a sizzling version at the Palladium, the only thing missing was a cameo from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Edward Furlong.
Also known as Duff McKagan’s moment in the spotlight. The bassist stepped up to the microphone for a hyper-energetic version of the Misfits classic, which Guns N’ Roses included on their 1993 covers album, The Spaghetti Incident? It was a filler moment on paper, but deliriously fun in practice.
The only thing that’s better than watching Guns N’ Roses play “Paradise City” is watching Guns N’ Roses play “Paradise City” in LA at 1:15 a.m. on a Saturday night — after four hours of drinking.