When I heard Guns N’ Roses were coming to town, I punched a fist into the air. All attention were then focused on the ticket prices and I held no illusion that it would be expensive, and OMG they were. The Standing Pen A tickets went for S$300+ a pop, which would set me back S$600+ for two (I have to bring the missus). That was it and didn’t waste another thought on it. Then I had an idea to watch their Las Vegas concert on blu-ray on the evening before the scheduled gig. I got the missus to take a photo of me in front of my 110″ screen and I posted it on Facebook. The rest, as they say, is history.
Miracles do happen. In the middle of the night, a friend’s date said she probably won’t enjoy the gig and asked him to ask me instead. I saw that message from heaven at 3am when I hit the loo and couldn’t sleep a wink after that. The moment my wifey opened her eyes at 7am I announced, “Kenneth asked me to go the Guns N’ Roses concert with him. Can I?” She replied immediately, “Go! I have been telling you for the longest time to go already.” I think I was in a daze the whole day, counting down the minutes to the gig.
The huge traffic jam to the concert venue aside, I had a great time catching up with my pal of 30 odd years. The traffic crawl was inhuman. We were stuck so long with the aircon blasting and GNR greatest hits blaring that we had to hit the loo. We saw a rest-stop come up, double-parked and ran to the toilet to release the water Kraken. It sounds funny on hindsight, but the toilet stop was one of the highlights on an amazing night. After forever, we were at the venue and my senses were hyped and amped up. All the frustration caused by the ridiculous jam evaporated when I laid my eyes on the behemoth stage and the sea of human heads – now I understand why the GNR concert could only be staged here. This is the only venue that can host 50000 raging people!
Imagine my surprise that the ticket I had was the S$500+ one and I got to hang out with the deejays of Power 98FM. I even had a chance to shake the hand of the LA of LAMC, the organiser of the concert! But the night truly belonged to Guns N’ Roses.
They took me to Paradise City, taught me some Chinese Democracy and instilled some Patience in me. Would have been perfect if they had sung Don’t Cry, but I wouldn’t take anything away from one awesome nostalgia trip through my Welcome to the Jungle years. Right from the opening strains of It’s So Easy and Mr Brownstone, GNR were in their element – revving up the Gen X and Y crowd and having us all wrapped warmly in the palms of their hands. GNR tore through a defining 27-song setlist with verve, finesse and energy like high school kids without a care in the world.
Rose’s trademark yowling and wailing is still very much evident, his red bandana wrapped around a head a little bigger and his waist is also a little wider, but hey! None of us is still a spring chicken anyway. Who cares what our hero-Gods looked like? We were there to reminisce the good times. Elsewhere, deadly morose Slash lets his guitar-god solos do the talking for him and who wanted him to actually speak must be bonkers. And McKagan’s rumbling basslines hit the G-spot for everyone. There were times, Rose stood on the massive monitors and he looked like he was surveying his kingdom. He must have been very pleased. It was a helluva night!