Guns N' Roses Live at Eden Park!

What a normal G N’ R show is supposed to look like as the world crawls out of almost three years of Covid hibernation, who knows.

But this one at Eden Park was set to be the biggest international act the country had seen since before the pandemic. Fifteen trucks hauled the gear in and the crowds streaming into Eden Park and surrounding suburbs were fizzing at the prospect of seeing the Gunners live.

People sometimes ask if Axl Rose if still alive, or even if he’s real. On good authority, we’re told he is both. Then people ask what he looks like, and what he sounds like. Does he prowl? Can he still scream? The huge crowd was about to find out.

Aussie punk rockers The Chats and Māori thrash metal band Alien Weaponry opened. The infamous tardiness of Rose’s early years evaporated, and the Gunners started as the skies got clearer.

It turns out Rose can still scream, blasting Welcome to the Jungle a few songs into the set.

The crowd was good-natured, often euphoric, and the weather was dry enough now for many people to spark up, as the smell of cannabis wafted through the audience.

Slash unleashed probably his most striking performance of the night to that point with a solo at the end of Live and Let Die. The stage was huge and most of the time the band members had a lot of personal space but Rose and Slash were side-by-side then.

The flag of Ukraine was up on each side of the stage, not big or overbearing but sending an unmistakeable message of support for the country.

Rose is still a commanding figure, but in small doses. He stepped away quite often from the front of the stage and let his bandmates get the attention.

The Gunners resurfaced for multiple encores, one of them with AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie. Slash and Rose both appeared to be from a different planet, and the crowd roared with approval.

Three hours in, the band played their cover of Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door too. And just before 10pm, Slash and Duff McKagan returned again. They played a cover of The Beatles’ Blackbird and seemed about to leave but then all their bandmates returned immediately and started playing Patience.

The band with a tangled history of meandering lineups, past fallouts and oscillating addictions tested the patience of some fans over the decades, but managed to survive the meltdowns, riots, rise of grunge and the ageing process.

As is something approaching normal for a Gunners show, Paradise City was the last song. But just before, Rose thanked people for rising to the occasion in tough times.

“I want to thank the crews in every city we played, and everybody f*cking else! We love you. Thank you very much.”

Some might never have expected Rose or any of them to make it to the other side of the world 35 years after Appetite for Destruction was released. The love is mutual.

This article was first published on and was published here with permission
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