It was the reunion they said would never happen but Guns N Roses‘ Not In This Lifetime… tour finally rolled into London last night. HRH Mag’s Guy Bell was there.

 

Almost a quarter of a century had passed before a Guns N Roses reunion sparked shockwaves and a string of headline worldwide tours.

Labeled the Not In This Lifetime… tour, after Axl Rose’s dismissal of suggestions he could ever again share a stage with Slash and Duff McKagan, the poster boys of rock reunited for a spectacle in 2017.

London’s Olympic Stadium’s sold out show marked the raucous group’s return to the UK and recaptured the days gone by of rock.

Nearly three hours of classic hits from an unrivalled back catalogue of records showcased the classic line-up’s sheer class – missing from our stadiums and arenas for 24 years.

The unmistakable cries of ‘You’re in the jungle’ gave the tens of thousands of rock fans an electric taste of a band making up for lost time.

Despite numerous historical shows marred by impetuous acts from Axl – and horror stories of gigs from yesteryear – the return of Guns N Roses to the UK blew away rockers young and old without a hitch.

Hatchets had been buried and the setlist picked itself. But 25 years to the week after touring with Soundgarden across the UK, the sentimental seven-piece still took a moment to honour the late Chris Cornell with an emotional rendition of Black Hole Sun.

Other covers including Wings’ Live And Let Die and numbers by The Who and Misfits came before a pyrotechnic party accompanied the closing Paradise City.

The world needs more classic rock and the tangible lack of any animosity and ill-feeling made for the perfect regrouping of this once-in-a-lifetime act.

While voices and energy levels are no longer what they once were, the spectacle remained the same and the electric atmosphere for hits such as Sweet Child O Mine and Nightrain gave a glimpse of what would have been during GnR’s heyday.

Slash’s undeniable talent remains undiminished and the axeman did not disappoint – hardly a surprise given his solo projects and collaborations in the 24 years since their Use Your Illusion II tour.

While some sections of the crowd weren’t even born when this band last toured the UK, Guns N Roses fans of old were given a timely reminder why the LA outfit, with a side order of Stoke-On-Trent, dominated the rock scene.

The greats of rock returned and ruled in a show that will go down in history as the most important reunion gig in our lifetime.