sun 24/09/2017

Guns N' Roses, London Stadium review - venue almost ruins night of glory | reviews, news & interviews

Guns N' Roses, London Stadium review - venue almost ruins night of glory

Guns N' Roses, London Stadium review - venue almost ruins night of glory

The Not in This Lifetime reunion tour rolls into town

Guns n'Roses: 'evoking the band's glory days'

It had been a perfect summer's day and the excitement before Friday night's gig was palpable. Everyone knew how Axl had aced it, right here, a year ago, filling in as AC/DC's lead singer. Around the stadium denim-clad punters sipped ice-cool beer and discussed how this reunion was going to sound. Many hoped that it would be just like when the classic line-up last played London in 1992. Except, this time, the sound quality would be better.

Unfortunately, for many, the latter wasn't to be. As the band launched into "It's So Easy" smiles of anticipation turned into looks of disbelief - the acoustic at the back of the venue felt like sludge. The culprit seemed to be the phasing of the central and rear speakers, meaning the music and images on the big screen were, often, barely in the same time zone. One guy behind me opined that those drinking in the bars outside could probably hear Axl and Slash more clearly.

To make matters worse, it wasn't just any old songs being ruined, it was classics like "Mr Brownstone" and "Welcome to the Jungle". But rock fans are made of stern stuff and a sense of defiance soon swept through the stands. This crowd weren't going to let a dodgy sound system ruin their night. Especially given how hard the band were rocking.

The two main men may have barely exchanged a glance all night, but individually they looked pleased as punch

Axl, if not particularly lean, was certainly looking moody. A cowboy hat sat atop his head while his hips swivelled snake-like. Most importantly, his voice was moving fluidly up its five and a half octaves, and Slash's fingers moved as nimbly as ever across the fretboard. Down at the mosh pit, the crowd were ecstatic.  

Then came a slight lull. During "Better", and "Estranged" – songs which even diehard fans barely remember – the excitement dipped. With little else going on the screens or stage, this was a time to catch your breath and engineers to get to grips with the speakers.

A few adjustments later, sonically things began to improve. With clearer acoustics, "Civil War" was full of pomp and bombast whilst "Yesterdays" felt tearful and nostalgic. Meanwhile the light was starting to dim, and by the time Slash embarked on his blistering solo spot, the sound quality for the whole venue was finally coming together. Just in the nick of time.

The evening's climax, "Sweet Child O' Mine", was a thing of true beauty. Unsurprisingly, many fans looked like they could die happy for having heard Axl and Slash perform it. The two main men may have barely exchanged a glance all night, but individually they looked pleased as punch. 

It was then the turn of the rhythm guitarist, Richard Fortus, to have a moment in the spotlight. The instrumental version of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" where he duetted with Slash was as sweet as it was unexpected. Another left-field cover was the piano outro from Eric Clapton's "Layla", which segued into "November Rain" while the cameras zoomed in on the bejewelled fingers tickling the ivories. For a moment it looked like it could be Elton John. But, of course, it was Axl, and the performance was both brilliant and totally over-the-top. 

The rest of the set was equally thrilling: "Knocking on Heaven's Door", "Nightrain", "Patience" and the Chris Cornell tribute, "Black Hole Sun", all succeeded in evoking the band's glory days. It was only when the speakers were turned up for "Paradise City", and that awful echo returned, that we were reminded of the limitations of the London Stadium. And there was plenty of time to reflect. It took 50,000 fans well over an hour, funnelled in the sweltering heat, just to get out. 

'Sweet Child O' Mine' was a thing of true beauty and many fans looked like they could die happy for having heard them perform it

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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Comments

Why would a die hard fan not know 'Estranged'? Easily one of their greatest songs from the Illusion albums.

This article is complete and utter rubbish! Estranged is my favourite song form the use your illusion albums your an idiot get your facts right before you write a load of nonsense.Ps I was there it was epic

"During "Better", and "Estranged" - songs which even diehard fans barely remember" ... you don't think diehard fans remember Estranged? I'd suggest doing a little more research.

Couldn't agree more with Alex! What a ridiculously stupid statement - what makes you think we don't remember 'Estranged'?!

Very odd comment on "estranged", I find this one of their best songs and it made my evening. Prefer that you dont speak for the rest of us fans. Overall good concert however I was really hoping for "don't cry" and some more interaction with the crowd.

Same here I love that tune! I was in my element during that track it was brilliant!

I was there, sat down halfway back, turnstile got, row 64,seat 395 and the view was fantastic, the sound was amazing, and everyone around me, and the 600000 other people I could see sang every word of estranged and at least 3/4 knew better and sang along. We did go on Saturday, so maybe they'd worked out the kinks by then, but other than that, even the Chinese democracy songs (well represented) featured full sing alongs and sounded phenomenal . we were out in 30 minutes. Maybe the guy should have bought better tickets....

I am a die hard fan. I love Estranged and Better. Only fans of things they hear on the radio don't know those songs. Which unfortunately was 80% of that crowd

I'm a sound engineer for a living, and that was easily the worst sounding stadium I have ever heard. So disappointing for a newish stadium to be designed with so many acoustic flaws, the reverb tail was that of an echo chamber! Come on people! There are often as many concerts as there are sports events in these places and for the cost of the ticket it's a disgrace! Guns n Roses however were incredible and lived up to every expectation. 2.5 hours of pure energy and class!

Sound was awful to start. Lots of messing around with being sent back to look for wristbands after having tickets scanned only to be told they'd run out and were not needed after all. Queues for beer ridiculous. But, despite all that GnR put on a show that took me back to Wembley stadium 24 years ago. Amazing. Estranged? One of the most underrated songs - great to hear it, and they did it justice.

"The evening's climax Sweet Child O' Mine, was a thing of true beauty. Unsurprisingly, many fans looked like they could die happy for having heard Axl and Slash perform it." - Positive

Is this for real? Incredibly shoddy piece. They didn't even play Patience and to suggest Estranged isn't well known is a baffling comment. The Floyd/Clapton interludes were hardly surprising, they've been doing them the whole tour.

They did play Patience, was right towards the end. This is a terrible review. Estranged is one of their finest songs.

They played 'Patience' on Friday. Personally I never cared much for 'Estranged'. It seems I may be out on a limb here ...

They played patience on the Friday, I'm assuming you went last night?

Patience was played on Friday. Like so many before have said there were certain songs that were played that fans have followed the band and the albums knew and appreciated hearing rather than the usual "hits" that "joe public" that got tickets knew. I enjoyed looking around and watching fans singing these songs. I was amazed how many people sat there dumb through "Attitude". Appreciate everyone's opinion is different and people have their favourites but to say even die hard fans barely remember certain songs and then admit one of them you don't care for is a shame.

Did you get paid to write this drivel?

Lol. You think it's that good I should of been paid for it?!? Thanks. If only I could of put your witty reply together.

Larry, sorry if your comment wasn't aimed at mine, I thought it continued on from my comment.

Whilst completely understanding the need for security, it was outrageous that my 14 year old son was not allowed to bring his ipad mini in and my husband had to miss the first half of the concert running back to find a locker in the shopping centre to store the thing in which we then could not get back that night so had to go back the next day. They took the kids phones off them too but clearly allowed many other phones in.

OK rockers...I went Friday in general standing and Sqturday in gold circle standing...and IT ROCKED from both points of view! Brilliant performance, great variety of songs...in my view, simply a dream! The huge issue I had was the pretty dull and boring number of people in the crowd. Around us on Saturday night we repeatedly had over-protective idiots who wanted to stand still, video the whole night and then moan and blub when they got "bumped". Some of them ironically were pretty aggressive and failed to understand that they were 10 foot from the stage of a stadium ROCK show! Those of us who just wanted to rock out, let the music hit our souls and sing and dance our hearts out were just baffled by the approach of some others. I guess they are now wearing the T shirt, filling their Facebook sites with their millions of videos, but in reality...they never participated! Hopefully, I won't get this again as I'm following GNR to another two venues...ROCK ON BROTHERS AND SISTERS!

Very good review I was left of stage just outside the golden circle! We managed to whip up a frenzy from start to finish even all being the wrong side of 40! It truly felt like I had imagined when I watched the Paris show so many years ago.! Old and young belted out lyrics and bounced the night away without issue! I lived a long awaited dream that will always bring a smile to my face with every memory. I have only one tiny complaint and that is I don't agree with the golden circle not because of price or safety I just think it can dilute the most important part of the crowd in my opinion

Completely agree with you Tom. I was to the left of the Stage about 3 rows back. Crowd almost static, if anyone were to dare to jump about or heaven forbid move out of a spot they were shouted at by the folks around me. Someone had a drink spilt on them by someone squeezing past and there was nearly a fight???!!! Absolute class performance by the band, let down by the 'Primark' fans

Went to see them on 17th and its was excellent

Well I went Friday, in the Golden Circle......a fabulously intense and moving Gig! Five stars is the only answer! One of the best shows Ive seen in over forty years of going to see bands. Shine on you crazy diamonds!

Was there on Sat night. 5th time seeing the band since Wembley 1991. Queues for beer were ridiculous, official merchandise ran out far sooner than it should have done! Was in block 250 row 63 directly in front of the stage. Axls voice and video footage were out of sync all night. Found this a bit distracting but the band were phenomenal. Love Estranged! Not many people rocking out around us and not many people who knew the words. That said I was so happy to be there! Getting out was ridiculous, herded like cattle all the way to Westfield shopping centre

Diehard fans barely remember Estranged! What rubbish that song is an absolute classic

I was up in Tier 2 and the sound was awful, so much so that I could not make out some of the early tracks. I walked down and watched the rest from Tier 1 which was so much better. The organisers should not be selling tickets for areas where the sound is that bad!

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