Seattle Space Needle Reflection at Night

Guns N’ Roses at Seattle Taxpayer Stadium

Guns N' Roses at Seattle Taxpayer Stadium
And they said it would never happen …

At least not in this lifetime.



Looking back on the 200+ concerts I’ve been over the course of my lifetime, it would be hard to declare a “best”. After all, they’ve all been so different. And while there have certainly been smaller shows in distant years that have been more meaningful … Nirvana at the Off-Ramp, for instance … I’m hard-pressed to recall a more entertaining show, a more spectacular show, a more awesome show than Guns N’ Roses at Seattle Taxpayer Stadium on Friday night. (Yes, Century Stink, all these years and you can still suck it.)

An exaggeration?

Perhaps. After all, of those two hundred plus shows that I’ve been to, only a handful of them have been in a full-fledged stadium, and probably less than 20 have been in an arena.

Be that as it may, from a pure entertainment standpoint, I can honestly say that GNR’s Seattle stop on their “Not in This Lifetime” tour was quite possibly the best music event I’ve ever seen. The last 10 minutes of the show alone were well-worth the price of admission … a finale-quality fireworks show going off while the stage turned into a supernova all while Slash played the shred-solo ending of Paradise City. It looked like the world was coming to an end, in the best possible way.

Speaking of Paradise City, it didn’t seem like anyone in Seattle took offense to the song, even though they perhaps should have.  This was a song, after all, written about Los Angeles while Axl was in Seattle.  “Take me down to the Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty” … now we know where the phrase “She’s a Seattle 9 and an LA 6” comes from.

The evening started with a band fronted by Duff’s daughter, but I only got to hear the tail end of their set. The ticket said “Gates Open at 7:30pm”, and we arrived around 7:00pm, but the first act was nearly finished by that time. Go figure.

Next up was Alice in Chains, a band we all know and love, and one I last saw about three weeks ago. AIC put on a great show, as always.

Then, according to my photo timestamps, Guns came on at 8:55pm and they didn’t stop until 11:35pm. Two hours and forty minutes exactly, and they still left songs on the table. Now that’s a band with a deep catalog, and it’s incredible considering that, up until 2008, they only had 1 complete album and 1 double-album.

GnR played a great deal of material from Appetite for Destruction, a fair amount from Use Your Illusions, and even dipped into Chinese Democracy. For covers, they did “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd, as well as “The Seeker” by The Who. I didn’t make a complete setlist, but I’m sure one’s floating around the web somewhere.

I thought Axl sounded very good, perhaps not as good as the Axl of 28 years ago, but close.  Certainly not nearly as weak as you’d expect a 54 year-old voice to be.  Duff & Slash belied their years as well.  Richard too, although he’s not quite as old.  Richard Fortus has always been an extremely underrated guitarist.  While perhaps not as well-known as the others, I think when speaking of the top 10 living guitar players, he should at least be part of the conversation.

All-in-all, GnR was remarkably tight.  I do wish they’d brought Adler along, though.  I think he’s paid his dues, has paid for his sins, and should be back in the lineup.  I mean, it’s GnR for crying out loud, how high can the moral high ground be?

In any event, I put together a video highlighting random parts of the evening, and I even recorded the aforementioned awesome show ending. If you watch no other part, watch the end. Preferably with a decent pair of headphones (I tried to make it listenable). It’s nowhere near as good as being there, but, eh, if you weren’t there, it’s as good as you’re going to get.

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