Camp HRH, March 11 2017

They said it would never happen but the reality was quite spectacular: the classic line-up of L.A. Guns back in tandem, back in the groove and back to their sleaze-soaked best.

It’s fair to say an air of trepidation hung over Camp HRH’s main arena prior to Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns hitting the stage. Surely the chequered history, the multiple line-up changes (and multiple line-ups), the occasional spats and the succession of missed opportunities would count against this set being anything other than a crass nostalgia trip.

In fact Lewis and Guns looked like they’d never been away. At times they looked better than ever. More than once they looked like the best band of the weekend.

Up against some serious six string talent, Guns won the battle of the HRH AOR guitarists by some considerable distance. Rocking the ‘Canadian logger’ look – with bushy beard and comfortable shirt – it was difficult to imagine the 51-year-old strutting his stuff on the Sunset Strip as a glammed-up hair metal hero 30 years ago. But appearances can be deceptive. Firing on all cylinders, Guns gave North Wales a shot in the arm – a mind-blowing instrumental bookended by Kiss My Love Goodbye and The Ballad Of Jayne confirming his stature as one of rock’s true innovators.

Lewis, of course, was born to front a band like L.A. Guns. All loose hips and pouting lips, the former Girl singer proved to be the very epitome of rock star cool. Classic cut Over The Edge is an unforgiving anthem at the best of times but Lewis negotiated a potential hurdle with ease – hitting the second half of a sumptuous set with supreme self-confidence.

With a new album due this summer and that famous spark reignited could the long awaited rebirth of the real L.A. Guns actually last beyond 2017? History has taught fans of this infamous act to limit expectations. However, L.A. Guns no longer look like a band – or bands – staring down the barrel. This looks like a genuine shot at redemption.

Setlist

Hollywood

Electric Gypsy

Bitch Is Back

Sex Action

Over the Edge

One More Reason

Never Enough

No Mercy

Kiss My Love Goodbye

Instrumental

The Ballad of Jayne

Rip and Tear