Guns N’ Roses: Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1989

Guns N Roses

Axl Rose and Slash of Guns N’ Roses. Photograph: Marc Grimwade/WireImage

They may be older, they may be fatter but like The Who, Guns N’ Roses prove every doubter wrong.

With his diva prone ways, poor time keeping and Keith Lemon stylings, Axl Rose’s GNR could never be considered the real thing without Slash or Duff and Axl knows this. Mention GNR and people sneer, add Slash’s name into the mix and level up; you just earned an ultimate rock fan accolade.

Slash stated in his biography that Axl arriving late for gigs was in part cause for their split, so there’s a beautiful irony that much of the audience were still to arrive when the band hit the stage at 7.30pm. Playing for 3 hours straight Guns N’ Roses were phenomenal, Slash’s solos were emotional and Axl’s voice has never sounded so good, like a fine gravelly wine that’s only improved with age.

This is however clearly Axl’s band and no one works harder than he, except for the rest of the group as Axl regularly disappears to accommodate minor costume changes and random breaks. You can see the contractual machinations play out in front of you, Axl turns up on time and Slash and Duff play tracks from The Chinese Democracy which, along with some lengthy guitar solos, serves as the perfect excuse for plenty of piss breaks and visits to the bar.

On a hot summer night in London, the ‘Not In This Lifetime Tour’ delivers an energised performance. Even Axl’s Carrot Top inspired facelift and the palpable animosity that still exists between Axl and Slash couldn’t change the fact this band is in the form of its career. The sheer amount of classics alone makes this experience stand out against almost any other, with singing along to ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ and ‘Paradise City’ being defining gig moments. Slash’s solo in ‘November Rain’ was enough to make a grown man cry (it almost did) with other highlights including ‘You Could Be Mine’, ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ and a touching tribute to the late Chris Cornell with the Soundgarden classic ‘Black Hole Sun’. All that was missing was a rendition of Velvet Revolver’s ‘Slither’, Slash and Duff’s finest post Roses moment which would have served to balance out the Chinese Democracy drivel, alongside a tribute to the passing of another of rock’s great voices Scott Weiland.

Years after their triumphant performance at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, Guns N’ Roses have finally proved themselves to consistently be one of the best live acts ever, up there with Queen, The Who and The Rolling Stones. Guns N’ Roses are a band who cannot be under estimated. This is not a nostalgia act or the world’s greatest tribute band (I’m looking at you Queen + Paul Rogers/Adam Lambert (sorry Brian, I still love you!)). If you see them now, you’ve seen Guns N’ Roses not a poor imitation of who they once were. They may no longer be the world’s most dangerous band but in 2017 Guns N’ Roses might just be the greatest live band in the world.

Rating: I used ta do a little but a little wouldn’t do, so the little got more and more