Beginning at 22:36 with gyrating models on one side of the stage and Axl Rose's 'Private Space' on the other, the Glasgow date of Guns N' Roses' arena tour was to tick all the obvious boxes of rumoursville. Such behaviour would leave one to assume that at some point last night Rose feasted on square melon from his lounging spot on an Italian leather couch. Let's hope that's all he gorged on...
Competing with Mariah Carey in the diva stakes, the 50-year-old had prewarned Glasgow fans to expect a late night, stating online, “Love it, hate it, accept it, debate it," as he struggled to make rock 'n' roll light of his egotistic antics.
With drunken fans being escorted out of the SECC from both sides of the venue, and others to be found slumped around the sides of bars and burger vans in their Guns N' Roses finest, the late start got the better of a lot of fans. Waking up today with sore heads and empty pockets, on the plus side, at least they didn't lose a bland 3 hours of their life at the altar of Axl Rose.
With a stage setup as big as his ego, a 5ft drum riser and raised podiums housed the new Guns N' Roses, most easily explained as Axl Rose and a handpicked hareem of seven other heavily-tattooed rock 'n' rollers to soundtrack the pantomime. Entering the stage to a chest shaking, gunshot explosion, it was questionable whether pyrotechnics were in play or whether one of Rose's rumoured oxygen cylinders had gone up in flames.
Spitting The Atom on their entrance and delving straight into Chinese Democracy, the band followed the 32 song endurance test/set list that's been published online with a rendition of Flower Of Scotland thrown in for good measure during one guitar shredding incident.
Welcome To The Jungle kept the crowd on board the initial stages of the lengthy journey, though by this, the second song in their set, Rose has already left the stage to his cloaked 'Private Space', with the show thrusting a four guitar love-in in the face of fans as a temporary distraction. This was to be the format for the remainder of the show, with Axl appearing back onstage enthusiastically, sporting bad moves and a Dog The Bounty Hunter getup that was more Keith Lemon does Dog The Bounty Hunter than Duane Chapman.
Unclear to whether the years and his whiney vocal have taken their toll on Rose, his oxygen use has not been confirmed as respiratory disease related, or recreational, but its mystery was about the most interesting thing last night, and it grew tiresome around an hour into the set. Like a monster game of Guitar Hero, the show focussed on instrumental jams and guitar solos, with crowd numbers declining as the clock ticked on.
Finally addressing his "Fellow Scotsmen", 45 minutes after he came on stage, much of Axl Roses' performance was overshadowed by the rest of the band, with his weak falsetto low in the mix, and much of his time spent in his Private Space. A cover of Paul McCartney's Live And Let Die repeated the annoyingly loud pyrotechnics that were used to start the show, giving the notion that the venue was about to spontaneously combust. There was to be no such luck.
Pacifying the endurance test with hits to prevent the crowd from flat-lining, Sweet Child O' Mine and November Rain served as legal highs amidst a fairly passive show, where after two hours, even the band seemed to run out of enthusiasm.
Ironically ending their set with Nighttrain, which no fans would be making due to the lengthy show and the late start, it would seem that such behaviour is the only rock 'n' roll rebellion Axl Rose has left in him.
With the arena beginning to clear before the encore, Glasgow's mean streets were more attractive than Axl Rose's Paradise City last night.
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