There’s not much more we can say about Guns N’ Roses that hasn’t been said in reviews of each city they’ve visited thus far on the Not in This Lifetime semi-reunion tour. Yes, Axl Rose has been on time. No, it’s not a full-fledged reconvening of the Appetite for Destruction-era, but having guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan back in the fold is beyond the wildest dreams of any fans as recently as a year ago. More importantly, the music and vocals are surprisingly spot on, something rare on these occasions of artists burying the hatchet to get back to performing in venues four times the size they’ve been middling about in until now.
Frankly, there are few acts in general right now who can command and deliver the way GnR can.
Last night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, they busted out of the gate with a ferocious one-two punch of “It’s So Easy” and “Mr. Brownstone.” The segue from Slash’s guitar solo featuring the theme from The Godfather straight into “Sweet Child O’ Mine” was brilliant. Four of the lengthiest tracks from the catalog, “Coma,” “Estranged,” “November Rain,” Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” along with an extended jam on “Rocket Queen,” took up about a third of the two-hour-and-45-minute set, and it never felt bloated.
Even the songs from the oft-maligned Chinese Democracy received new life and energy with Slash and McKagan putting their spin on it, all while Axl energetically sprints from end to end of the stadium-wide stage hardly having to catch his breath. Veteran guitarist Richard Fortus, part of the band since 2001 but a member never mixed up with the “classic lineup”, single-handledly stole parts of the show. It was a tight, professional package of raw rock and roll classics — and the crowd knew 90 percent of the material.
The bottom line is the Guns N’ Roses tour of 2016 is not one to be missed. It’s living up to the hype, and then some. Tonight in Massachusetts is round two at Gillette. Get in the ring.
Guns N’ Roses Setlist: July 19, 2016
It’s So Easy
Welcome to the Jungle
Double Talkin’ Jive
Live and Let Die
You Could Be Mine
You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory/New Rose
This I Love
Out Ta Get Me
Slash solo [Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather)]
Sweet Child O’ Mine
Slash & Richard Fortus Guitar Duet [Wish You Were Here]
November Rain [with “Layla” coda intro]
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
Patience (with “Angie” intro)