Guns n' Roses

support Biffy Clyro + Backyard Babies
author BV date 27/06/17 venue Telia Parken, Copenhagen, DEN

Let me just set this straight; tonight is a night only few would have ever thought possible. Guns ‘n’ Roses playing live featuring the original members Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan (as well as Dizzy Reed who joined the band during the “Use Your Illusion” era) hence the name of the tour: “Not in this lifetime”.

On the way to a sold out Parken I slowly begin to feel that I am placed in a time machine with the 80’s as the destination: The majority of people are wearing leather jackets or black band t-shirts, tight pants and red bandanas with sunglasses put on top of the head: People in their 40’s are trying to become young again for this night only. When approaching the entrance, a middle-aged guy yells; “You know where the fuck you are?! You’re in the jungle baby, you’re gonna DIE!” - everybody puts on a big smile and knows that there is some kind of truth hidden behind his words.

As many of our reviewers are busy at Roskilde Festival at the moment, we have opted for trying something a bit different than usual. Our photographer Lykke Nielsen is reviewing Biffy Clyro whilst one of our other photographers, Stefan Frank thor Straten, is doing the introduction and the Guns ’n’ Roses review.

Photos courtesy of Stefan Frank thor Straten

Biffy Clyro

As the Scottish trio walk on stage at Parken with their two additional tour members, it is quite clear that not a lot of the people know who exactly these guys are. I have placed myself in the Golden Circle and as I look around, most people are talking and not paying attention to the stage. The band starts with a long intro which, to most, will appear quite odd. It also makes it pretty clear that the sound in Parken is awful as usual. Everything turns into mud, which is a big shame with a band like this. This also means that Simon Neil’s beautiful voice and accent only becomes clear whenever the band play a more laid back and downplayed song. As soon as more power is added to songs, the vocals simply disappear in the mix. The band doesn’t waste a lot of time on talking to the crowd but once Neil asks people to wave their hands at the end of “Friends and Enemies”, claiming they don’t need to like the band to do this, it seems the crowd is warming up. As the band continues to give their all, the crowd gets more and more into it and as I sing along to songs like “Many of Horror” I notice people starting to rock along to the music. The band was in their own zone but with the bad sound and lack of crowd reactions, it is hard to say it was a success.

As the band leaves the stage Neil lets out a; “TAK Copenhagen, bye bye!”

Guns n’ Roses

Even though the first cassette tape I ever bought was “Appetite for Destruction” I must admit my expectations for this show are not very high. Actually they are quite the contrary after having seen them perform at Roskilde Festival back in ‘06 with Axl Rose looking and sounding like nothing but an impersonation of himself and with no other member from the classic lineup present. This night should be different though.

Guns ‘n’ Roses kick off the show with the energy level on a max with “It’s So Easy” and “Mr. Brownstone” thundering out through the speakers and it’s amazing to see the way Axl runs across the stage, doing his infamous ‘dance’ moves with a voice that actually sounds really good and in tune most of the time. From the opening chord it seems that the band members like standing on stage again doing what they do best. The songs are followed by “Chinese Democracy”, “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Double Talkin’ Jive”. The audience is on fire and the party has started... or, at least most people think so, but soon we were all going to get wiser. “Better” begins and to put it in a nice way it is awful, and for my sake they could have left all the songs from the latest album at home (except for the title track). - From there on out the atmosphere drops significantly. With way too many everlasting solos - so Axl can take a break backstage and change clothes now and then - as well as too many meaningless cover songs (like AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie”, The Damned’s “New Rose”, The Who’s “The Seeker”, Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and last but not least Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun”).

Luckily there is still time for some good old stuff where the audience momentarily wakes up as when doing songs like “Rocket Queen”, “Yesterday”, “My Michelle” and “You Could be Mine”, where Axl enthusiastically throws his microphone stand across the stage. It is clear during the show that Slash is still crazy on the guitar with his fingers dancing down the guitar neck faster than the lightning when doing his infamous solos. And indeed, he is hitting the right notes - but the timing and rhythm is off more than once. Axl Rose proves he can sing. But in many songs he does it in a clean falsetto without the rough distortion on his voice as we know him best.

The intro for “Civil War” starts and the majority of the audience put their mobile phones in the air while trying to whistle the first 30 seconds of the song and I must admit that I am right now essentially one big smile. The vocal starts and even though Axl is only doing okay, everybody sings along which results in goosebumps down my arms several times during the song. Later on “November Rain” is also executed in a fantastic way, and when Axl sits there at the piano turning sideways to the audience, he actually looks like himself from back in ‘91.

During the whole show Duff plays the bass steady as a rock like he has never done anything else. He even does some great vocals on “New Rose” even though the song falls through in this context.

The show lasts for 3 whole hours and culminates with “Paradise City” as the last song. Many have left Parken by now, many more look tired and I must admit that half of the time would have been enough if they had just stuck to playing their big hits. With that said, being afraid that Guns ‘n’ Roses would sound like nothing but a cover band, I was put to shame during large chunks of the concert in that sense.

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