Back in 1991, it was usual for music videos to play on TV when shows were running late. One video that was pretty popular at the time was the theme song for “Terminator 2”. Such popularity was mostly due to Arnold Schwarzenegger but I couldn’t care less about androids – it was the music of “You Could Be Mine” that made me freeze in front of the screen the first time I’d heard it. That voice, that beat, the resonance of the bass (that I didn’t even know what it was at the time). Soon I was just as thrilled when “Don’t Cry” or “Civil War” were up on the radio, meaning GUNS N’ ROSES weren’t a one-hit-wonder but officially my first favorite band.
That’s why it hurt so much when Duff and Slash left. It was far from the band’s first line-up change and I understand the need for such changes – hell, I saw SKID ROW without Sebastian Bach and I loved it – but GN’R without that bass player and that guitarist… no, that wasn’t a memory I wanted tainted. And for that same memory-preservation reason, the news of their reunion 20 years later wasn’t exactly a dream come true. THE CLASH‘s “Should I Stay Or I Should I Go” kept playing in the back of my mind when it was announced that the Not In This Lifetime Tour would feature a date in Portugal. But I’d rather regret the things I do than the things I’ve left undone and a week before the show, I posted this on my Facebook profile:
This is how it all started for me, 25 years ago. Don’t know what’s still left of it but I probably wouldn’t forgive myself if I missed the chance of finding out…
Took a ride with one of my bff (thanks S. ) and off I went, to what ended up being one of the concerts of my lifetime (pun obviously intended).
Of course Axl doesn’t run across the stage like 20 years ago but he’s still got some moves; and much more important than that, he still can sing. He can’t reach the highest pitch of his youth, true, but he doesn’t go off tune – let’s say, on a scale 0-10, he can’t go higher than a 7, but he stays on that 7 evenly. And songs where such high pitch isn’t required, like “Estranged” or “It’s So Easy”… well, those were literally like going back in time.
I’m sad they didn’t play “Don’t Cry” on this date, and even though I understand the need to praise Chris Cornell, I’d rather hear an original GN’R song ten times than the “Black Hole Sun” cover. “Coma” isn’t a good live song either, plus it sounded a bit messy at first, but at least it’s GUNS N’ ROSES‘. “Slash‘s baby”, as I recall hearing Axl say on an MTV interview with Kurt Loder back in the day. But anything else – oh my, PINK FLOYD‘s “Wish You Were Here” in guitar-duet format and the crowd singing the lyrics! – , everything else reminded my why these guys shaped my love for music and why it was worth it waiting these many years to see this line-up live. As Axl himself once said, “don’t ever give up hope”.