Slash’s Hollywood – A Short Interview By Mojo

slash_hollywood2

He grew up in a bohemian enclave where Bowie was a house guest and Carly Simon popped by. Then he formed Guns N’Roses and became an icon in his own right. Now, as he moves into film production, Slash reflects on his life in Hollywood. “I’m at the epicentre of it all,” he tells Phil Alexander.

SOMETIMES IT’S difficult to remember exactly where home is,” laughs Slash. “Even when I come home to LA, I stay in a hotel. The pace on the road is so different, I find it really hard to adjust. I’d rather just stay in a hotel room where I can throw shit around the room, spit on the walls and relax a bit.”

 

Slash Hotel Room 1987
Slash and friend enjoy the comforts of a hotel room, circa 1987. Photo © Retna/Ian Tilton

 

Step back in time to a February evening in 1992. Slash is enjoying a brief break in LA before heading to Japan to resume touring, and the guitarist is reflecting on the events of the last five years. In that time Guns N’Roses have been catapulted from the Hollywood club scene onto a global stage. Officially the biggest rock’n’roll band on the planet, they’re midway through the Use Your Illusion world tour that will eventually extend across 28 months, encompassing 194 arena shows in 31 different countries. Success, according to Slash, comes at a price.

“I would hate to live in a place that’s way out of harm’s reach.”

“The bigger you get, the harder it is to retain any sense of normality, you know,” he says. “Normal things suddenly become a a fuckin’ chore. Going back to LA used to allow us to keep things together, but I am not sure if that happens anymore. It’s funny, sitting here in a hotel room but being close to the old neighbourhood where I grew up, where we used to live when the band started out. It’s bizarre.”

The neighbourhood in question is West Hollywood where Guns N’Roses formed in 1985. There, they honed their sound, setting up their rehearsal studio in a storage building off Sunset Boulevard and Gardner Street. There the five-piece of Slash, frontman Axl Rose, guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler played, shagged, drugged and occasionally slept, re-christening the place The Sunset And Gardner Hotel And Villas in reference to the more salubrious hotel-to-the-stars, the Sunset Marquis And Villas, where Slash would later become a habitué.

As the band began to forge a reputation playing Hollywood clubs such as The Roxy and The Troubadour, their notoriety around the burgeoning Sunset Strip scene grew. If their own excesses fuelled the music, so too did the environment they lived in – a point borne out by the material that graced their debut long-player, Appetite For Destruction. Night Train, for instance, was written in tribute to the fortified wine of the same name while the band were wandering drunk down Palm Avenue one evening. For Slash, however, Hollywood was home long before he became interested in music.

 

slash_axl3

Guns N’ Roses first show with Duff McKagan in 17 years: Setlist + Tour Dates

guns-n-roses-duff

Last night, Guns N’ Roses headlined a show in Buenos Aires, Argentina and for the first time in 17 years, Duff McKagan served as the band’s bass player. As previously reported, McKagan has temporarily rejoined the band filling in for Tommy Stinson, who’s playing with The Replacements at Coachella. Axl Rose made quick use of his new (?) bassist, having him sing lead on a cover of Misfits’ “Attitude”, the band’s first such performance of the song since 1993.

GNR also covered The Stooges’ “Raw Power” for the first time ever and smashed their way through renditions of Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”, The Who’s “Seeker”, and Wings’ “Live and Let Die”. They also played a whole bunch of originals, including material from Chinese Democracy, again with Duff on bass. Let that sink in for a few seconds.

Below, footage of their Misfits cover and see the full 35-song setlist. GNR next plays Paraguay on Wednesday night.

“Attitude”:

 

 

“Live and Let Die”

 

 

 

Setlist:
Chinese Democracy
Welcome to the Jungle
It’s So Easy
Mr. Brownstone
Estranged
Rocket Queen
Nice Boys (Rose Tattoo cover)
Attitude (Misfits cover) (Duff McKagan on lead vocals, first time played live since 1993)
Raw Power (The Stooges cover) (Live debut)
My Michelle
Better
Guitar Solo (Richard Fortus)
Live and Let Die (Wings cover)
This I Love
Piano Solo (Dizzy Reed)
Catcher in the Rye
You Could Be Mine
DJ Ashba Guitar Solo (La Bella Vita)
Sweet Child O’ Mine
Jam (“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” by Led Zeppelin)
November Rain
Abnormal (Bumblefoot cover)
Don’t Cry for Me Argentina (Julie Covington cover)
Don’t Cry
Used to Love Her
Civil War
Shackler’s Revenge
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan cover)
Jam
Nightrain

Encore:
Jam
Patience
The Seeker (The Who cover)
Jam
Paradise City

Guns N’ Roses 2014 Tour Dates:
04/09 – Asuncion, PY @ Jockey Club ^
04/12 – La Paz, BO @ Estadio Hernando Siles ^
04/15 – Recife, BR @ Chevrolet Hall ^
04/17 – Fortaleza, BR @ Centro de Eventos de Fortaleza ^
04/23 – Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia (Golden Gods)
05/13 – Bethlehem, PA @ Sands Bethlehem Event Center
05/16 – Columbus, OH @ Columbus Crew Stadium (Rock on the Range)
05/21 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
05/24 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
05/25 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
05/28 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
05/30 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
05/31 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
06/04 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
06/06 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
06/07 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

^ = w/ Duff McKagan

Eat Your Heart Out Axl Rose: Chili Peppers Super Bowl XLVIII 2014 Best Performance!! (Video)

The Peppers in action at the Super Bowl

The Peppers in action at the Super Bowl

Flea explains Red Hot Chili Peppers’ unplugged Super Bowl Halftime performance, plus Axl Rose weighs in

Given that more people tuned into the Super Bowl Halftime Show than actually watched the game itself, someone was bound to notice a few things amiss. It wasn’t long before folks started pointing out that, for all their sock-hopping energy, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ instruments weren’t even plugged in. Now, it’s no surprise that they were playing to a backing track — in such a setting, with so much riding on the sound, everyone does it— but you’d think they could’ve at least tried to fake it.

In a new post on the band’s website, bassist Flea addressed Jack-Gate and the band’s decision to go unplugged. He made it clear that RHCP were skeptical about miming the show, as they’ve always had a policy against such deception. Still, at the end of the day, the Super Bowl is the Super Bowl, and the band “eventually decided, it was a surreal-like, once in a life time crazy thing to do and we would just have fun and do it.” Completely understandable. But then why not at least make it look real? “Could we have plugged them in and avoided bumming people,” Flea wrote. “Of course easily we could have and this would be a non-issue. We thought it better to not pretend. It seemed like the realest thing to do in the circumstance.” So ultimately, they figured it best to play a fake gig but not pretend it was real, while still demonstrating “the spirit of who we are to the people.”

Meanwhile, Axl Rose of all people has offered his own critique of the Chili Peppers’ performance. In a note titled “In The Name Of Science”, Rose stressed the “need to always look on the positive side of things and to give the benefit of doubt,” adding “that in the name of science and for all mankind Flea courageously had a newly invented breakthrough in microchip technology installed in his ass that picked up the frequencies of his bass and transmitted them to his amplifier.”

He continued, “And besides… If the band wasn’t really playing or wireless or whatever and Anthony was really singing they may have set a new world record for the largest karaoke audience ever! Awesome!” Axl, don’t quit your day job.

Read both Flea and Rose’s respective statements below.

A Message From Flea

Flea yeaaaaaaaaah!

Flea yeaaaaaaaaah!

Dear everybody,

When we were asked by the NFL and Bruno to play our song Give It Away at the Super Bowl, it was made clear to us that the vocals would be live, but the bass, drums, and guitar would be pre-recorded. I understand the NFL’s stance on this, given they only have a few minutes to set up the stage, there a zillion things that could go wrong and ruin the sound for the folks watching in the stadium and the t.v. viewers. There was not any room for argument on this, the NFL does not want to risk their show being botched by bad sound, period.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers stance on any sort of miming has been that we will absolutely not do it. The last time we did it (or tried to) was in the late 80′s, we were thrown off of ‘The Top Of the Pops’ television program in the U.K. during rehearsals because we refused to mime properly, I played bass with my shoe, John played guitar atop Anthony’s shoulders, and we basically had a wrestling match onstage, making a mockery of the idea that it was a real live performance.

We mimed on one or two weird MTV shows before that and it always was a drag. We take our music playing seriously, it is a sacred thing for us, and anyone who has ever seen us in concert (like the night before the Super Bowl at the Barclays Center), knows that we play from our heart, we improvise spontaneously, take musical risks, and sweat blood at every show. We have been on the road for 31 years doing it.

So, when this Super Bowl gig concept came up, there was a lot of confusion amongst us as whether or not we should do it, but we eventually decided, it was a surreal-like, once in a life time crazy thing to do and we would just have fun and do it. We had given this a lot of thought before agreeing to do it, and besides many a long conversation amongst ourselves, I spoke with many musician friends for whom I have the utmost respect, and they all said they would do it if asked, that it was a wild trippy thing to do, what the hell. Plus, we the RHCP all love football too and that played a big part in our decision. We decided that, with Anthony singing live, that we could still bring the spirit and freedom of what we do into the performance, and of course we played every note in the recording specially for the gig. I met and spoke with Bruno, who was a beautiful dude, a real talented musician, and we worked out something that seemed like it would be fun.

We recorded a track for the day, just banged one out from our hearts that was very like in spirit to the versions we have been playing live the last few years with our beloved Josh on guitar.

For the actual performance, Josh, Chad, and I were playing along with the pre recorded track so there was no need to plug in our guitars, so we did not. Could we have plugged them in and avoided bumming people out who have expressed disappointment that the instrumental track was pre recorded? Of course easily we could have and this would be a non-issue. We thought it better to not pretend. It seemed like the realest thing to do in the circumstance. It was like making a music video in front of a gazillion people, except with live vocals, and only one chance to rock it. Our only thought was to bring the spirit of who we are to the people.

I am grateful to the NFL for having us. And I am grateful to Bruno, who is a super talented young man for inviting us to be a part of his gig. I would do it all the same way again.

We, as a band, aspire to grow as musicians and songwriters, and to continue to play our guts out live onstage for anyone who wants to get their brains blown out.

Sincerely,

Flea”

A Message From Axl Rose

In The Name Of Science

In regard to the internet’s “no wireless” controversy regarding the Red Hot Chili Peppers Superbowl performance as reported on ESPN…

I enjoyed the show and I’ve no idea what the real story is nor would I want to suggest or imply anyone wasn’t actually performing or that what they were playing wasn’t what we actually heard. That said I feel it’s important to always look on the positive side of things and to give the benefit of doubt.

So consider that maybe sometime before their actual performance that rather than use a guitar cord or standard wireless, that in the name of science and for all mankind Flea courageously had a newly invented breakthrough in microchip technology installed in his ass that picked up the frequencies of his bass and transmitted them to his amplifier.

Maybe they all had microchips installed in their asses and not only pick up the frequencies of their instruments but get Direct TV and the internet too! Like Google Glass… Google Ass! They could be “Scientific Pioneers!” Like Buzz Aldrin and shit! True (pardon the pun)ASS-tro-nots! Or like Superbowl crash test dummies for bands kinda like those cars that drive themselves!

And besides… If the band wasn’t really playing or wireless or whatever and Anthony was really singing they may have set a new world record for the largest karaoke audience ever! Awesome!

So relax and show some pride! This is probably all just Google finding new ways to enrich our lives with the selfless volunteering of the Peppers and the ever ongoing creative process of true innovation or perhaps a new lounge bar record of super magnificent proportions and a new pinnacle of human achievement not seen since the sign language guy in South Africa!

God Bless America, the Peppers n’ technology… PN’T!

Ax

Governors Ball’s 2013 lineup was insane: Gun N’ Roses, Kings of Leon, and just about everyone else

Guns N' Roses perform at Governors Ball Music Festival on June 8th, 2013 on Randall's Island in New York City.

Guns N’ Roses perform at Governors Ball Music Festival on June 8th, 2013 on Randall’s Island in New York City. Rolling Stone

Pop Heroes Made and Remade

Notoriety was the key to headlining the Governors Ball Music Festival last weekend on Randalls Island. It used to be the making of a pop hero, and sometimes it still is.

Saturday’s main-stage closer was Guns N’ Roses, the band led by a vociferous bad boy of yesteryear, W. Axl Rose. Sunday’s finale — and by far the biggest draw, if tabulations by the festival’s scheduling app were any indication — was Kanye West, the rapper and producer who has so often acted up in the spotlight and then written songs about fame-induced folly and megalomania. He had a new one on Sunday, modestly titled “I Am a God.”

They both have long, tangled back stories that have become incentives for attending their shows; see it live before it’s reported by the tabloids. And their music was set at full blast. They’re two generations of pop hero: Mr. Rose stays shameless while Mr. West is (sometimes) repentant.

At Governors Ball they avoided the self-destructive rants of past occasions. Mr. Rose came back onstage after his band’s big fireworks display to announce, “I love New York.” And when Mr. West got to the spot in his song “Clique” where, he said, he usually starts complaining and justifying himself, he instead touted his artistic independence. “We just made some real music,” he said of his album “Yeezus,” due for release next Tuesday, going on to insist that he didn’t care about selling a million albums or tailoring songs for radio play. “When I listen to radio, that ain’t how I want to be no more,” he declared to roars of approval, though radio stations might be resentful.

If Mr. West was out to steamroll the acts that came before his — 63 others over three days — he came pretty close. His new songs relied on brutally stark synthesizer riffs and drumbeats, closer to industrial dance music than to current hip-hop, and they were delivered on Sunday through a sound system with bone-rattling bass. Most of his older songs were remixed along the same lines: all deep, ominous punch as Mr. West shouted nearly every line.

He spent most of his performance on a small stage in the audience, wearing a loose gray outfit that made him look something like a penitent; for those who could see him, he was heaving back and forth, working up a sweat. But he set aside the beat for two long ballads with only piano chords and his computer-tuned voice: “Heartless,” about a breakup, and “Runaway,” a toast to boorish behavior. Bragging and materialism are at war with self-consciousness and self-criticism in Mr. West’s songs; a hero of ambivalence, he slammed home all the contradictions.

Guns N’ Roses, by contrast, unabashedly celebrated excess. The group, which now consists of Mr. Rose and sidemen rather than the band of comrades from its 1987-91 heyday, is larger, slicker and even more cartoonish than it was in its early years. Mr. Rose and the band’s three guitarists struck rock-star poses, songs indulged themselves in long buildups and guitar interludes, and the stage spewed fireworks and confetti. It was an older school of rock-hero behavior, full of preening and bombast. Yet once Mr. Rose got his voice up to full, abrasive yowl and screech, Guns N’ Roses was the embodiment of nostalgia-enhanced memories, a relic reanimated like a woolly mammoth suddenly charging across the tundra.

Kings of Leon, whose headlining set was rained out on Friday, were squeezed into Saturday’s lineup for their first New York City show since 2010. They didn’t play hero; they worked their instruments and let their songs — brooding Southern rock updated with hints of punk agitation or U2’s arena-scale hooks — speak for themselves.

Most of the rock bands presented themselves with that kind of modesty. Gary Clark Jr., a blues-rocker from Texas, made his songs slash and scream and erupt with distortion, communing with his guitar rather than telegraphing the music’s drama. Divine Fits — the songwriting alliance of Britt Daniel, from Spoon, and Dan Boeckner, from Wolf Parade — did some clowning onstage, but never hid the rigorous neatness of songs that use every detail of an arrangement to tell their stories.

Deerhunter’s guitarists just stood there casually as they showed how two or three chords could swell into clouds of noise evoking specific eras: garage-rock, psychedelia, postpunk. A different variety of postpunk — revved up by breakneck, pointillistic guitar patterns — came through in galvanizing sets by two British bands, Bloc Party and Foals. Haim, a band led by three sisters from California, channeled guitar patterns into a sunnier style, like Fleetwood Mac thinking about the Feelies.

Crowds sang along on folky, toe-tapping ditties from the Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men, and mouthed the lyrics more quietly for the whispery, skeletal, lovesick pop of the xx, who used lasers and smoke to create an eerie virtual canopy over a big muddy field. Yeasayer, whose songs delight in intellectual constructs and musical convolutions, faced happy, hands-in-the-air fans who picked up the band’s elements of disco and electronica and danced to them.

The mesh of the programmed and the hand-played was one through-line of the festival. Erykah Badu’s tart, sassy voice humanized the two-chord vamps generated by her laptop-wielding band; Alt-J drew subtle but clear connections between folky picking and the blipping patterns of electronic dance music. Animal Collective played a mesmerizing set, mingling live and electronic instruments, in which loops and overlapping vocal lines became euphoric incantations. Thievery Corporation slipped programmed elements into live-sounding reggae and funk. Robert DeLong, a one-man band using loops and samples, constructed pop songs that he then zapped with the assaultive noises of dubstep. Crystal Castles reached back to the punk-tinged synthesizer riffs and out-of-tune vocals of the 1990s rave era, though it also had more current, consonant tracks. The festival also had some unaccompanied DJs — Dillon Francis and Griz — who played inventive, genre-hopping sets; there was a Silent Disco tent, where dance music was broadcast to headphones all day.

While most of the festival’s rockers weren’t acting heroic, its rappers were. Azealia Banks — the best dressed performer by far — had fans shouting encouragement as she presented herself in song after song as a “bad bitch,” bragging about raunchy exploits and picking fights, in a rapid-fire, indefatigable delivery that rivaled the twitchy momentum of her backup tracks.

Nas, whose set split the Saturday night audience with Guns N’ Roses, presented himself not as a bad guy but as a chronicler and preserver of hip-hop. He reached back to his 1994 debut album, “Illmatic,” for details of ghetto life and worked his way forward to grown-up reflections. Freddie Gibbs presented himself as the keeper of a disappearing genre — gangsta rap — but turned traditionalism into swagger, performing bare-chested and rattling off verse after verse a cappella, barely taking a breath. Kendrick Lamar’s album, “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City,” doesn’t endorse the gangsta life he observes, but onstage he barked his songs as if they were triumphal rather than wary.

The other headliner was mud: a result of the daylong deluge Friday. Festivalgoers tramping through shoe-swallowing mud, and dancing through it, may have been the real heroes.

Here’s To Axl Rose and the Bunch of Random Dudes Calling Themselves Guns N’ Roses Getting the Hell Out of Town

Guns N Roses at Purple Magazine Party

Guns N Roses playing Paradise City live at the Rose Bar for the Purple Fashion magazine after party, New York. Video Olivier Zahm

So Sebastian Bach saved Axl Rose from being attacked by a maniac with a blade two years ago at the Gramercy Hotel’s Rose Bar in NYC. “Nobody is getting anywhere near my man Axl Rose with a knife,” said the one-time Skid Row frontman, and from his position atop a banquet, he summoned security to cast what may in fact have been a very sensible individual out into the cold. It was Valentine’s Day at the Purple mag afterparty, and the band of misfits who call themselves Guns N’ Roses were blasting the assembled celebrities with a two hour set not unlike the one the band had visited on an unsuspecting crowd inside a John Varvatos store last week. Fashion Week ends tomorrow and with any luck, it will take Axl Rose with it.

Because even as various comparatively youthful fashion mafia members like the Opening Ceremony kids and Erin Wasson are sensible enough to fill their events with guests like the Dirty Projectors and Yeasayer–bands that whatever you might think of them, are at least having a real moment of their own–the venal and dark heart of Fashion Week’s grown-up contingent is laid bare by the industry’s compulsion to fete a washed up, fake band, over and over and over again. And make no mistake: if Chinese Democracy and the stooge-filled line-up (sorry Tommy Stinson) who parade around pretending to be Guns N’ Roses didn’t convince you that it’s past time for Axl Rose to abandon this charade, allow the videos to change your mind. They are awful. Even in a world of fucked up YouTube audio and blurry cameraphone footage, we can calibrate. We can make these distinctions. And anyone who is being honest with themselves knows that this band’s two stops in the city have been long and abysmal.

But of course this is a spectacle that belongs to Fashion Week, an event that can’t help but gravitate toward the most ostentatious, cynical, and exclusive displays of so-called glamour and nightlife. Which is fine: nobody is asking Oliver Zahm to hang out at Death By Audio. But enough with the excitable sightings of a band who basically exists at this point to make the hordes of models and magazine editors surrounding it feel special, like they’re living some sort of magical moment. They are not.

They are chasing the myth over the reality, the thing they held dear in their youth over whatever might be vital and real today. This isn’t a sin–fashion is all about this stuff, as we heard over and over again the wake of Alexander McQueen’s suicide. But there is genuine escapism and then there is an overweight and physically taxed band calling themselves Guns N’ Roses playing bad versions of decades-old songs, to audiences so exclusive that Axl Rose couldn’t have gotten anywhere near the door, circa 1986. Where is the magic in that?

Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Brilliant Disaster

GNR

The early nineties saw a brief overlap of musical tastes within the heavy rock genres, and by this point the grunge sounds of alternative rock had crossed-over to mainstream popular eighteen months earlier, and the hard rock/heavy metal/glam metal bands of the late eighties were coming to the end of their reign. At the top of the bill of a hard rock showcase’s most memorable concerts was the band who, along with Nirvana, could lay claim to the title of Biggest Rock Band in the World in 1992, Guns ‘n’ Roses.

When they arrived in Australia in 1993, the american band Guns ‘n’ Roses were bigger than any stadium. So they played racetracks, exceeding the noise mere cars could make with their epic head-banging rock. At Calder Park, 75,000 people turned up on a stinking 42-degree day to see charismatic singer Axl Rose rip through hits from the group’s million-selling albums “Appetite for Destruction,” “G N’ R Lies” and “Use Your Illusion.”

It was a brilliant disaster, culminating in a State Ombudsman report to Parliament. The Calder Park gig was pure chaos. Women were forced to urinate on the ground in view of other concert-goers, one teenager became comatose after her medication was confiscated by security guards and there was no shade for volunteer first aid staff treating the 1,726 people who became dehydrated — a severe shortage of drinking water forced people to sip from toilet water supplies. Finally, police argued with public transport officials after thousands were stranded and later dumped in the city late at night.

Guns ‘n’ Roses had evolved from a raw L.A. based five piece amalgam of Rolling Stones/Aerosmith blues-based riff rock, classic heavy metal, and punk fury, to a bloated but polished stage show augmented by a keyboard player, female backing vocalists, and a horn section, mixing intricate big production numbers and ballads with their original frantic hard rock.

The band’s highly anticipated twin album set “Use Your Illusion I & II” had been released in September 1991, and two months later founding member rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin left the band, taking with him his songwriting talents and raspy backing vocals as well as his Stones/Faces style rhythm thrust. He was replaced by the similarly imaged Gilby Clarke, who along with keyboard player Dizzy Reed was added to the core of lead guitarist Slash, drummer Matt Sorum, bass player Duff McKagan, and frontman/vocalist Axl Rose. Rose’s ego had spun so far out of control by this point that he travelled separately from the rest of the band, and it was rumored that he was helicoptered in at the last minute especially for this performance.

The day of the gig was a scorching 42 degrees celcius in Melbourne, and the punters in the shadeless, open raceway sweltered in long lines for expensive bottled water and inadequate toilet facilities, as local sleeze-metallers Pearls and Swine opened the days proceedings, featuring their current single “Where Can I Get Arrested”. They were followed by the reformed Rose tattoo, led by Angry Anderson, who were a leading influence on the formative Guns ‘n’ Roses. GNR had included a cover of the Tatts’ “Nice Boys (Don’t Play Rock ‘n’ Roll)” on their “Live Live a Suicide” EP and “GNR Lies” album, and that song was performed on the day by Rose Tattoo. After a strong set including the classic “Bad Boy For Love”, the Tatts’ struck up to play “Nice Boys” just as lightning cracked in the sky behind them.

The change came in the break between Rose Tattoo and Skid Row, the pouring rain turning the banks of the raceway to mud, adding the spectacle of sliding headbangers to the day’s entertainment, along with calls of “more tits, more tits” in response to the dampened T-shirts of female punters. Skid Row, led by the giant frontman Sebastian Bach with his flowing blonde locks, played an awesome set of classic heavy metal – showcasing their current EP, “B-sides Themselves” along with many songs from the brilliant “Slave to The Grind”, as well as the hits from their 1989 debut, such as “I Remember You” and “18 and Life”.

As day became night, Guns ‘n’ Roses took the stage in a blaze of their classic-era glory with the anger of “Welcome to the Jungle”, and the heavy-groove-crunch of “Mr Brownstone”. The super-charged dramatics of the Paul McCartney & Wings James Bond theme “Live and Let Die” followed, before McKagan injected a dash of punk with his furious Misfits cover “Attitude”. “Patience” and “Civil War” were well-received classics, before Rose took to the piano for “It’s Alright” and “November Rain”. Drum and guitar solos bookended the hard rocking first “Illusion” single “You Could Be Mine”, followed by the breakthrough hit “Sweet Child O’ Mine” which was met with a huge response from the massive audience. Another cover closed the main set, the live favorite, Dylan’s ”Knockin’ on Heavens Door” (with an intro from Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed”). Two more big GNR classics provided the encores, the ballad ”Don’t Cry” and “Paradise City” which gave an appropriate climax to the show. The long commute home as thousands piled out of the arena simultaneously for a packed car-pack and under-supplied buses, is best forgotten, but the day’s music will live in legend.

The Illusion toured finally came to an end in July at Buenos Aires after 28 months and 194 shows, and was the last time the original Guns ‘n’ Roses performed together. The covers album “The Spaghetti Incident” appeared later in the year, but the magic was gone and Guns ‘n’ Rose splintered and fragmented, with Rose continuing the name with Reed and a host of new musicians. Slash officially left the band in 1996, and McKagan finally announced his departure in 1997, however the band had been inactive since 1994.

In 2007 Guns ‘n’ Roses announced they were back for a June concert at Rod Laver Arena. As they did 14 years ago, rockers Skid Row and local heroes Rose Tattoo supported the controversial L.A. band who fell apart in spectacular fashion and haven’t released a studio album since 1991.

They announced a world tour which went by the name of the album that Rose — the only original member of the line-up that went to Australia — has dabbled with for more than a decade: Chinese Democracy.

Even by the record industry’s standards of insanity, ego and excess, the estimated $18 million that had been sunk into “Chinese Democracy” was a stunning achievement. Producers and executives despaired as Rose retreated to his Malibu mansion full of snakes, religious paraphernalia and weaponry. He became a recluse, reportedly sleeping all day, looking up his name on the internet and communicating almost entirely by email.

An internet post from the band’s tour manager announcing — not for the first time — that “recording for the album has been completed”.

But Rose has been active. Guns ‘n’ Roses played 80 shows on the first leg of their world tour. Only two needed to be rescheduled, said local promoter Paul Dainty, who was confident cancelled tours, false starts and no-shows were behind them.

“There’s no question as to their reputation (but) that’s more in the past,” he said. “They’ve done 80 shows in the northern hemisphere … that’s proven they can do it.”

Few bands have experienced as tumultuous a history as Guns ‘n’ Roses, yet its millions of fans witnessed the rise, fall, and stunning rebirth of the most notorious rock and roll band of the 1980s.

Official music video of Sweet Child O’ Mine, Guns n’ Roses. Remastered in Widescreen and High Definition (HD)