After months of speculation and mass media coverage, Guns N' Roses finally arrived at Birmingham's LG Arena on Sunday night to delight a sold out and extremely patient crowd.
Guns N' Roses
LG Arena, Birmingham
words and pictures by James Watkins
You have to admire the chutzpah of Axl Rose. The frontman of Guns N' Roses belongs to a wilder, more decadent time. Not for him the rigours of arriving on time or playing by the rules. During his heyday, the willfully anarchic outlaw epitomised the excesses of sexs 'n' drugs 'n' rock 'n' roll.
On Sunday, following months of speculation and mass media coverage, Guns N' Roses finally arrived at Birmingham's LG Arena to delight a sold out and extremely patient crowd.
Hearing the news that the band being would be nearly an hour late for their stage time came as no surprise to GNR fans and Axl Rose, rock's true demigod, waltzed onstage at 10.10pm to kick off proceedings with Chines Democracy.
The light-hearted boos turned into thunderous ovation and hysteria as Rose screamed down the mic and lifted the roof in a way only he could.
It was almost like going back in time as the effervescent frontman danced around the stage in torn jeans, silver jacket and trademark hat and sunglasses as the re-shaped band played through a set of classics, including the incendiary Welcome To The Jungle.
Other classic GNR tracks on the set list included It's So Easy, Heaven's Door, and the epic November Rain, which saw Rose pull up at his piano for a three-song solo that could have made you believed you were back in the 1980's.
The two-hour set failed to disappoint, even featuring the classic Live & Let Die cover, set amidst a massive blast of pyrotechnics and flames that lit the arena up like a firecracker. The biggest cheer of the night graced the power chords of Sweet Child Of Mine.
Ending the night with yet more pyrotechnics and an awesome version of Night Train, the band really played a remarkable gig that brought memories flooding back and Paradise City closed the curtain just after midnight.
They may be the most arrogant and tardy band to ever grace the stage, but if for those prepared to wait in line, they gave a performance to cherish.