Review: Guns N’ Roses give Detroit once in a “Lifetime” kickoff show

Posted by on June 24, 2016

Photo: Katarina Benzova

Photo: Katarina Benzova

The tour that no one thought would ever happen, including the band’s own members, finally started last night in Detroit, Michigan.

Guns ‘N Roses officially launched the “Not In This Lifetime” Tour last night at Ford Field.

When this tour was rumored to be happening, just like everyone else, the teenager in me got excited, and when I physically got my hands on Pit GA tickets, I nearly lost my mind. Could it really be happening? Or is it too good to be true? Like most people, knowing how the original lineup came to end, and hearing all of the negativity towards Axl for all these years, the doubt was there.

Approaching Ford Field, the crowd was mixed with a ton of excitement and a bit of fear. Would the show start on time? Would they make it through if it did? With an estimated opener start time of 8:30pm and a vague start window for Guns ‘N Roses of 9:45-10:00 being rumored, no one knew what to expect.

Alice in Chains was chosen as direct support for opening night, and they went on stage, on time at 8:30 pm and launched right into a 35 minute, 9 song set that included hits like “Man In The Box,” “Rooster” and “Them Bones.” Jerry Cantrell bantered lightly with the crowd for a few minutes, stating the last time he was in Ford Field was to watch the Seahawks get robbed by the Steelers during the Super Bowl in 2006.

The stage setup looked simplistic, with a wrap-around riser system that engulfed the rhythm section located in the center. With the main stage height being at six feet tall, there wasn’t a bad viewpoint to be found, and the general admission pit area was small enough that there wasn’t a bad angle. The backdrop was a large LED light board, that once Alice in Chains gear was removed, lit up with a GnR logo, with live firing guns every few minutes.

The house lights dimmed shortly before 9:30 pm, and Guns N’ Roses hit the stage with Appetite for Destruction’s, 1987 hit, “It’s So Easy.”  The stage lit up, and anything that faced the crowd had an LED screen on it. All amps, stairs, and monitors ran in video procession with the background as the songs resonated throughout the stadium.

What ensued was two and a half hours of pure rock & roll, spanning generations. Axl and the boys spent no time chit chatting and got right down to work. If anyone ever thought that they had something to prove with this tour, the near-capacity crowd at Ford Field got a show that put even the biggest doubters to shame.

Throughout their 25 song set (listed below), pyrotechnics blasted off from both sides of the stage, fire shot towards the sky and gunshot sounds fired off in every direction. At times the backdrop opened up allowing more LED’s and strobes to blast out.

Axl Rose, now bootless and running on all cylinders, still favored his right leg at times, but nonetheless, that didn’t stop him from entertaining the crowd with the dance moves that are just as well known as Axl himself.  Rose’s vocal range was just as strong and vast as the days of old, which he proved throughout the entire show, especially while seated behind the piano during “November Rain.”

Sharing equal amounts of stage time (if not more), was Slash, whose solos seemed a bit extended to allow his guitar mastery to truly shine. Being introduced to the crowd during band introductions, Axl ended by saying, “I give you Slash!” It was at this moment that Rose walked off stage allowing Slash to enter into a solo of “Speak Softly Love” which you may remember from the movie, The Godfather.

Ending the original set, Axl searched around on stage for a few moments joking that the stage hands were “hiding things” on him, before reaching for a trigger, and letting the full size train horns ring out signaling the start of “Nightrain.”

Stepping offstage for a few moments, the crowd chanted for more, and they’re demands were answered by a three song Encore, consisting of “Don’t Cry”, a cover of The Who classic “The Seeker”, and the song that kept almost everyone in their seats until the lights came on, “Paradise City.”

Maybe it’s the fanbo” in me who waited over 20 years to see them play together, but the fans in attendance in Detroit definitely got their money’s worth from Guns N’ Roses last night. And, if you’re on the fence about going to see them when they hit your town, do yourself the favor, and pick up some tickets!

Guns N’ Roses Setlist:

“It’s So Easy”
“Mr. Brownstone”
“Chinese Democracy”
“Welcome to the Jungle”
“Double Talkin’ Jive”
“Live and Let Die” (Paul McCartney & Wings cover)
“Rocket Queen”
“You Could Be Mine”
“Raw Power”
“This I Love”
“Civil War”
“Speak Softly, Love” (Theme from The Godfather/Andy Williams)
“Sweet Child O’ Mine”
“Out Ta Get Me”
“Wish You Were Here” (Pink Floyd cover)
“November Rain”
“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (Bob Dylan cover)

“Don’t Cry”
“The Seeker” (The Who cover)
“Paradise City”

Tour Dates

June 26: Washington, DC – FedEx Field
June 29: Kansas City, MO – Arrowhead Stadium
July 1: Chicago, IL – Soldier Field
July 3: Chicago, IL – Soldier Field
July 6: Cincinnati, OH – Paul Brown Stadium
July 9: Nashville, TN – Nissan Stadium
July 12: Pittsburgh, PA – Heinz Field
July 14: Philadelphia, PA – Lincoln Financial Field
July 16: Toronto, Ontario – Rogers Centre
July 19: Foxboro, MA – Gillette Stadium
July 20: Foxboro, MA – Gillette Stadium
July 23: East Rutherford, NJ – MetLife Stadium
July 24: East Rutherford, NJ – MetLIfe Stadium
July 27: Atlanta, GA – Georgia Dome
July 29: Orlando, FL – Orlando Citrus Bowl
July 31: New Orleans, LA – Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Aug. 3: Arlington, TX – AT&T Stadium
Aug. 5: Houston, TX – NRG Stadium
Aug. 9: San Francisco, CA – AT&T Park
Aug. 12: Seattle, WA – CenturyLink Field
Aug. 15: Glendale, AZ – University of Phoenix Stadium
Aug. 18: Los Angeles, CA – Dodger Stadium


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