- 31 Aug 19
The Rankin's Wood Incident
First off, Duff looks incredible. I mean incredible in a way that no man who has lived the life that he's lived has any reasonable right to. Remember the most dangerous band in the world? Duff's tipple of choice was Smirnoff. Hardy man. A serious brush with pancreatitis put paid to that. He's been sober now for years. Fair play to him. Hot Press snapper Leah Carroll thought he looked like Bowie. That handsome.
Touring with Shooter Jennings, that is the son of Waylon Goddamn Jennings in case you weren't aware, who worked on the album meant that McKagan could best perform tracks from this year's country-tinged "woke" album Tenderness. It's a bit of a surprise then when he opens with 'You Ain't The First' from Guns N' Roses sprawling but brilliant Use Your Illusion quadruple album. "Awesome!" thinks everyone in the audience. "The Roses! This is what we're after!" As we're singing along, we take a look at the other band members. Look at the head on the bass player! He's sporting the kind of curly mane and 'tache combo that was last seen in the better porno movies of the seventies. He is, according to the main man, "so cool he doesn't wear a watch, he tells you the time!" The guitar player - brandishing a Gibson SG, of course - looks like one of the blokes who managed to walk away from Skynyrd's plane. His own 'Breaking Rocks' is alright, at a push. "The best thing about rock n' roll right now is everything coming together and leaving everything else outside" Fair enough, chief. It's certainly better inter-song patter than the terrible joke about the Dublin Guard asking him to turn around and Duff replying, "Bright eyes!"
He dedicates what I think was 'Feel' - the sound isn't great - to the memories of Scott Weiland, Chris Cornell, and Prince but, frankly, they deserve a better tribute. We get Mad Season's 'River Of Deceit' - a project that Duff helped out on, but the line "my pain is self-chosen" has more corners on it than a cube and the crowd are starting to lose heart. But, hold on. Duff offers "a little bit of rocking for you, if that's ok?" Is it ok?!? 'Dust N' Bones' - again from Use Your Illusion - is more than ok. Out of nowhere we're getting one of the rock n' roll moments of the weekend, it's a bit like Skynyrd doing the Roses which is kinda what I imagine heaven is like. The crowd are hopping, delighted to be here for this. Actually, we can't believe it, but before we get carried away, here's another frustratingly middling pedal steel-driven waltz. Ah, well. But wait, Duff has the Telecaster back on. "Sick of this life, not that you'd care..." 'Dead Horses', more Illusion. It rocks like a bastard, and even Duff's voice - it was like trying to make out what someone was whispering to you from the next county at times - sounds good on the solo outro. "ROCK N' ROLL!" we cry. "Don't drop the ball for christ's sake!" we hope. But he puts the acoustic over his head and we get 'Don't Look Behind You' to finish. To be honest, Duff, you should probably consider looking behind you a bit more. This was an enjoyable, albeit short, set but the Guns N' Roses tracks stood out like an Offaly man in Harlem. Had he included a few more of those numbers, we'd be talking about one of the weekend's highlights.