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Guns N' Roses play The Odyssey Belfast
Gun N’ Roses/Axl and Friends or whatever you want to call them have unleashed the big guns, giving us both barrels for nearly two and a half hours.
Edwin McFee, 11 Oct 2010
It says a lot about the draw of an act when you turn around to your mate beside you and say, “Oh, they’re only 50 minutes late. I thought it was going to be a lot worse.” W. Axl Rose’s Guns N’ Roses are one such band – and despite sending the British press into an all too familiar outrage during their Reading and Leeds performances a few days previously (“It’s not really Guns N’ Roses,” “How long did it take him to make Chinese Democracy?” Snore…..) the frontman has arrived in Belfast in one piece – looking a little older, a little wiser and, um, a little bit like fellow misunderstood genius/arsehole (delete where appropriate) Michael Jackson too, if truth be told.
Still, who cares about sartorial elegance when we’ve got an opening salvo of ‘Chinese Democracy,’ ‘Welcome To The Jungle,’ ‘It’s So Easy’ and ‘Mr Brownstone’ to sink our teeth into, eh? Sounding every bit as dangerous as they did three decades ago, the latter three tunes have aged remarkably well and despite sound issues during the first number, Axl’s crooked croon holds up well. While the vast majority of the sold-out crowd are hungry to hear Appetite For Destruction and some of Use Your Illusion I and II, newer material such as ‘Street Of Dreams’ and the hook-laden ‘Better’ prove that the much maligned Chinese Democracy wasn’t the misfire that some claimed.
Admittedly, each of the band members getting his own solo tested this reviewer’s patience (if you’ll pardon the pun) but ‘Rocket Queen,’ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine,’ and a note-perfect ‘November Rain’ made up for the fret wankery as Axl performed that odd, side-wards snakey-dance while signing off with ‘Nightrain’.
After clocking up just over two hours playing time, Guns ‘N’ Roses return for a reworked version of ‘Don’t Cry’ and ‘Madagascar’ before leaving us with the always electric ‘Paradise City’. For some, Guns N’ Roses will never be the same since former guitarist Slash left 14 years ago. But for the majority, Gun N’ Roses/Axl and Friends or whatever you want to call them have unleashed the big guns, giving us both barrels for nearly two and a half hours. And looking back over the show I think: it was an absolute blast. “Belfast, it was nice to meet you,” smiles the singer before walking offstage. Axl, the feeling was mutual, mate.