Nice Boys of Rock & Roll
On its debut India tour, American band Guns N' Roses gave Delhi its finest gig in the genre till date.
Sure they look like they've been dressed by Ed Hardy in one of his more lurid rhinestone dreams. But when Guns N' Roses — led by their thorniest Rose, Axl — strode on to the stage on Wednesday night, armed with guitars, drumsticks and bling, it was immediately clear why the band is considered one of the best live acts in the world. Without ceremony, the band launched into the contradictory Chinese Democracy, the first song of a three-hour concert.
Guns N' Roses — comprising frontman Rose, pianist Dizzy Reed, bassist Tommy Stinson, keyboardist Chris Pitman, guitarists Richard Fortus, Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and DJ Ashba, and drummer Frank Ferrer — was technically perfect as it backtracked through the outfit's discography, much to the delight of the crowds of fans that had swelled the stands. Given the rather low attendance at the last concert (which featured metal band Korn), it was an exhilarating sight on Wednesday night to see the charged-up sea of humanity, lighters in the air, chanting out to the band who lapped up all the adulation, despite the sporadic screams of "we want Slash" (the band's former lead guitarist).
Given the outfit's long career and resultant albums, it attempted to impart many a lessons to the crowd through song. The band members traced the prickly paths of love, from You Could Be Mine to Estranged, spoke about the dangers of Civil War and, more prosaically, of taking the Night Train.
In the middle of performing its own songs, Gun N' Roses covered a few classics from a bygone musical era, which are equally relevant today. The band's cover of Led Zeppelin's No Quarter was immaculately executed, as was the version of Pink Floyd's The Wall. The band's most celebrated cover, Knockin on Heaven's Door, was saved for the last bit of the concert. Rose and other members cunningly spaced out their most acclaimed hits — Sweet Child of Mine, November Rain and Welcome to the Jungle — through the concert, teasing the audience and leading people to cry out in expectant agony for their favourite tracks.