Belfast Telegraph

Rock deities Guns N' Roses still sounding sweet as ever at Slane

Review: Guns N' Roses at Slane Castle

By Eamon Sweeney

When Guns N’ Roses first played Slane in 1992, the Hole in the Wall Gang won a UK Sony Award for best radio comedy, Glenavon topped the Irish League and Peter Brooke was offering to resign as Secretary of State after singing on The Late Late Show only hours after an IRA bomb exploded.

Guns N’ Roses were then the biggest rock band in the world.

In 2017, not too much has changed.

You can count on one hand the number of bands capable of selling out Slane.

After copious amounts of acrimony, vodka, Jack Daniel’s drugs and rehab under the bridge, the core members of Guns N’ Roses have eventually reunited, cheekily referenced in calling their tour ‘Not In This Lifetime’.

Axl Rose has been renowned for showing up to shows hours later than scheduled, allegedly punching promoters, and generally being highly unpredictable, while enhancing his reputation as one of the greatest front men of all-time.

Rose is flanked by Slash, still sporting a black top hat and shades after all these years.

He doesn’t have a cigarette dangling from his mouth and there isn’t a bottle of Jack in sight, but the man can still play guitar like no one else on Earth.

The giant cascading riffs on Welcome To The Jungle, You Could Be Mine and a rollicking cover of Wings’ Live And Let Die, which Guns N’ Roses still unequivocally own, unite the thousands thronged onto Slane hill in sweet rock n’ roll abandon.

They cover Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden in tribute to the Seattle band’s singer Chris Cornell, who died last week. It’s a terrific version, proving that both Rose and Cornell are responsible for some of the most memorable and visceral rock vocals in musical history.

Slash pulls off yet another note perfect and precise riff covering Black Hole Sun. He slightly tests everyone’s patience with a meandering guitar solo, but seeing as this is Slash, you’d be inclined to forgive him.

They also find time for a rendition of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, which along with their version of Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and The Seeker by The Who, prove their mettle as expert interpreters of the classics.

And then there are their own blue chip hits that are eternally etched upon the musical consciousness of a generation — Sweet Child O’ Mine’, November Rain, and a thundering parting glass toast in Paradise City.

Twenty-five years after they first played Ireland’s biggest gig, Guns N’ Roses came, saw and conquered all over again.

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