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posted by The Bangkok Consultant

Tales from the rock show

Gun N' Roses live in Bangkok

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Wow, Simply wow. Well, I guess I have to review more than that! Once the most popular rock band of the late ’80s and early ’90s, Guns N’ Roses reunited for their ‘Not in this lifetime’ tour that kicked off way back in June. For the past few months the folks in Bangkok have been lying in wait with baited breath, but after waiting 20 odd years for the reunion, it was worth it. Guns N' Roses couldn't have picked a better venue for their Bangkok show. The SCG Stadium was thundering from the hordes of standing fans, despite the relatively small size of the stadium (seating 15,000).


The essence of the original Guns N' Roses line-up returned when primary band members, guitarist Slash and bass player Duff McKagan, were asked to join Axl Rose who has been touring under the Gun N’ Roses banner since the band dispersed in the early 90s with a succession of other band members. The tour itself has already been massively successful, and there’s still a long way to go with the tour ending later this year.


I must confess, I was, what one might describe as, a spring chicken in Guns N’ Roses’ heydey, so I didn't get to see them live when they were at their peak with favourites like November Rain, Out Ta Get Me and the triumphant Sweet Child O' Mine. But by the power of YouTube, I managed to cope by spending the best part of my adulthood reliving some of those moments from DVDs like ‘Use Your Illusion II - World Tour 1992 in Tokyo.


And Tuesday's concert didn't disappoint when they played largely the same set they did in the early 90s, which really got the Thai fans going. Like so many live shows in Bangkok; early on at the concert, the Thai fans looked a little disenthused; but, once the facemelters started flying, and sweat began to flow, there wasn't a single person seated; with ageing, inebriated metal heads rocking to songs like It's So Easy and Mr Brownstone. As expected, some outstanding prolonged jams and solos gave Axl a chance to become an inevitable Chameleon when changing his t-shirts, hats and funky jackets throughout the gig much to the delight of the roaring crowds.


The teeming masses were scarcely able to take a breath from chirping along, and I'd be fibbing if I said that Welcome to the Jungle didn't cause me to smile, especially since it is the Bangkok Consultant's tagline for the website. The guys then went on to perform material from all of their studio albums from Appetite for Destruction to Chinese Democracy, but, for me, shivers recoiled with a ‘James Bond’ thrill of fireworks and energy when they belted out Live and Let Die.


It was, of course, a timeless and effortless gig playing with the sinuous dexterity they always have, and while Axl's vocal sound isn't what it used to be, it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Duff McKagen masterfully played with unimaginable muscle memory, while Slash still retains his unmistakeable image of long hair and sunglasses we remember from MTV in the 90s like it was yesterday.


Despite being in Bangkok, it doesn't matter where you are in the world when leaving a rock concert everyone is always going to be knackered, soaked in sweat and slightly pissed. Traipsing along with thousands of other revellers who are in the same boat, and that's when you know you've had an excellent night out. At least the Bangkok weather didn’t disappoint.


So, where does this leave Guns N' Roses? In a world of popular culture ruled by talentless hacks famous for being famous. Will the fans of yesteryear be enough to secure more tour dates in the future?


At the very least, here in Bangkok, Guns N’ Roses have a fan base that will welcome them to the very end. With nostalgic overtones that lasted well into the early hours that made everyone feel 25 years younger, where they got a chance, once again, to rock out with one of the greatest bands in the world, and, for a moment, completely forget the years that have passed.


This article is featured in the March 2017 magazine

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