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Guns N’ Roses Live @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, Australia

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Guns N’ Roses exploded onto the stage with a bang in Melbourne on Sunday night. Pyrotechnics, spectacular lighting, and a track from Chinese Democracy opened the show. Notorious for running up to 3 hours late, Axl Rose was surprisingly on time. After waiting hours to see the band perform in Scranton, Pennsylvannia and Nashville, Tennesse, I prepared myself to leave the Sidney Myer Music Bowl at 1 am.

The crowd in Melbourne was electric, especially in comparison to the rather subdued Perth show that I attended one week earlier. With the exception of scant individuals, almost the entire stadium were up on their feet rocking out to the band.

Looking around at the crowd, it was an eclectic group from young children to couples in their 60’s and all in between. It was clear that Guns N’ Roses appeals to the masses. Axl is often descibed as a controversial frontman but his talent and ability to command the audience’s attention are undeniable.

When I quizzed Dj Ashba about what it was like to share a stage with Axl in a previous interview he stated: “Axl is awesome; he is one of the last true Rock stars, and one of the world’s greatest Rock and Roll singers. Its a pleasure to share the stage with him.”

Some may say that Axl is an egomaniac, yet he gives each band members their time to shine. Ashba, the newest member to join Guns N’ Roses, was impressive with his solo Mi Amor. Ashba is charismatic and knows how to gain the crowd’s adulation. So much so that two bras were rocketed onto the stage and into Ashba’s hands.

Axl Rose is the only original member and given all the attacks the new line-up receive on social media, they are solid performers and work extremely well together. The revamped line-up includes: Dj Ashba (guitar), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (guitar), Richard Fortus (guitar), Dizzy Reed (keyboard), Tommy Stinson (bass), Chris Pitman (keyboard), and Frank Ferrer (drums).

‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, ‘Don’t Cry’, and ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ were crowd favourites. Yet seeing Axl sitting at the piano performing ‘November Rain’ was a special moment and took me back to my teenage years when posters of GNR covered my bedroom walls.

US band ZZ Top, whom are touring Australia with GNR, brought to the stage their blues rock, classic beards, and hats. ‘Legs’, ‘Gimme All Your Lovin” and ‘La Grange’ were on the set list and well received.

The show closed with an encore performance of ‘Patience’, ‘Paradise City’, and a blast of canon confetti. After the band bowed to the fans, Axl took to the microphone for the final time to say “Aussie Aussie, Aussie” which was met by a resounding “Oi, Oi, Oi”. A solid concert all-round with electrifying energy.

Photos: Katarina Benzova

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