Last year was a big year for Axl Rose. Slash and Duff McKagan returned to the Guns N ‘ Roses lineup for a worldwide stadium tour and he also took on the lead front man duties of his childhood heroes with AC/DC. Its been over 25 years since Guns N’ Roses has played this stadium (what was formerly called Rich Stadium now named New Era Stadium) when at that time they were on a double bill with Metallica. Shortly thereafter that tour ended the following year the band split. Rose kept the band going with various musicians but it was never the same until 3/5ths of the original lineup announced that they would be touring again. Joining them would be longtime keyboardist Dizzy Reed, drummer Frank Ferrer, rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus and on synthesizer Melissa Reese.
Gone are the days of the fans waiting and wondering when Rose would take the stage. A 7:30 start time was modestly pushed to 7:50 pm. In seeing the band perform last year and by other recounts, Rose has been very prompt and with the amount of money involved he needs to be. After looney tunes played the band entered as they kicked into “Its So Easy.” Slash with his trusty Gibson Les Paul and Axl slithering across the stage gave the long waiting fans of Western New York what they have been waiting for. It was a triumphant appearance from one of the baddest bands on the planet. The weather was perfect and everyone seemed to be in a mood to deliver the goods. Rose was all over the stage as was Slash. McKagen also made a few jaunts back and forth as well.
Rose voice was for the most part solid. He hit all the high notes but at times it wasn’t where it should have been on the more melodic parts. Slash was Slash. One of the most underappreciated guitarist of all time. He played with precision and even let Fortus share in the spotlight on the dual solo “Wish You were Here.” McKagen and Ferrer held that solid rhythm section and McKagen also provided all the background vocals as well. The band not only played their songs but really hit it hard on the covers. A tribute to Chris Cornell with “Black Hole Sun” and a snippet of “Melissa’ was played in honor of Greg Allman from the Allman Brothers.
I wasn’t sure on the energy from the crowd. Lots of people I spoke to after the show were very disappointed on their fellow attendees lack of enthusiasm. The show itself took 3 hours and 10 minutes. Not sure if the length of the show sucked the energy out of the crowd. Hits like “Sweet Child of Mine” and “Nightrain” were met with the same piss and vinegar the crowd had at the start of the show. Irregardless of this, I thought the gunners were what Buffalo was lacking for a long time. A great hard rock show in a Stadium type of setting. They delivered in a big way!
Its So Easy
Welcome to the Jungle
Double Talkin’ Jive
Live and Let Die (Wings cover)
You Could be Mine
New Rose (The Damned cover) You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory (Jinny Thunders- snippet intro)”
This I Love
Slash guitar solo (with Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry cover) Speak Softly Love (Nino Rota cover- Love Theme from the Godfather)
Sweet Child O’ Mine
Used to Love Her
Wish You Were Here (Slash and Richard Fortus – Pink Floyd cover)
November Rain (Layla exit -Eric Clapton cover)
Black Hole Sun (Soungarden cover)
Knockin’ on Heavens Door
Patience (Melissa – Allman Brothers intro)
The Seeker (The Who cover)
We would like to thank Ashley Ball from Livenation with her assistance in helping obtain the credentials to review the show.