First up, there’s no Slash, no Duff, no Izzy Stradlin or Steven Adler, even. There is, though, W Axl Rose, his ginger braids and Paradise City, Sweet Child O’ Mine and Welcome To The Jungle, which is enough for us.
This latest incarnation of Guns N’ Roses stopped resembling the world-conquering band of the late Eighties and Nineties a long time ago. Everyone else jumped ship and left Axl – who owns the name – to soldier on regardless (keyboardist Dizzy Reed, an alumni of the worldwide Illusions tours, is still on hand but he’s hardly the man people go to see). Sporadic performances, and predictably ‘eccentric’ behaviour – usually involving keeping audiences waiting – ensued.
Time has not mellowed the fiery one, though, and he recently spurned the chance to bury the hatchet for the group’s induction last month into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rather than turn up with his old bandmates and delight Gunners fans worldwide, Axl instead refused to attend and penned a longwinded letter explaining how the induction in some way slammed him and his art.
But no one goes to see Guns N’ Roses these days expecting the band they first fell in love with. Rather, people go along to hear the tunes – the classic ones rather than the overblown and, predictably underwhelming, Chinese Democracy ones – and to see whatever batshit-crazy state Axl is in these days. One thing you can guarantee is that you’ll hear some of the best rock songs ever written.
The O2, Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX
May 31- JunE 1 | Doors at 9pm | £45+