Guns N' Roses kick off tour with explosive show
Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose doesn't sound like he did 20 years ago, but still puts on a great show.
It would be so easy to write-off Guns N' Roses and slam their Perth Arena show that kicked off their Australian tour.
Many of their fans often do just that when they argue the band can't be considered the same group anymore as only one member still remains from the original hit-making line-up.
While infamous tales of delayed performances and hostile attitude towards the audience don't exactly sell tickets.
But Saturday night in Perth, Axl Rose and his band steadily eased fears of a potential GN'R catastrophe with what was essentially – and surprisingly for this reviewer - a great rock show.
Blasting out an array of hits from the band's incredible debut Appetite For Destruction to tracks from the last album 2008's Chinese Democracy, the output was one that brought the best out from their musicians ; especially the trio of lead guitarists.
Welcome To The Jungle, Sweet Child O' Mine and Patience were all there and well received even if at times it was hard to hear Rose's vocals over the cheering crowd.
But an explosive cover of Live And Let Die and an extensive Knockin' On Heaven's Door were highlights of the night.
That's not to say everyone was impressed and cheering on their feet by the end of the night.
Before they reached the encore it's fair to say there were a few more empty seats in the arena than there were at the start of the show.
And the front man's need to disappear to the back of the stage during almost every song became distracting at times, despite the incredible work of which ever lead guitarist was trying to steal the show.
(I'm assuming it was to change his hat and jacket or prepare his vocal cords for the next song).
But the quality of the music can't be denied, and the level of Rose's vocals aside - which faded at times only to come back near perfectly later – the band sounded great.
Rose particularly impressed when they wheeled out the piano for him on November Rain.
A band that divides fans, Guns N' Roses will probably always remain under a shadow of their greater years, and may never please everyone who saw a tour two decades ago, or keep a copy of the Greatest Hits album in their car.
(And despite his impressive talent, guitarist DJ Ashba's hat will probably piss-off Slash fans).
But if you can look past all that, and want an explosive show with some incredible talent you won't be disappointed.
Touring Australia with ZZ Top certainly adds to the show.
The US band brought their blues rock and beards to Perth Arena and didn't hold back in their early slot.
Gimme All Your Lovin', I Gotsa Get Paid and Sharp Dressed Man had the earlier crowd ready for the louder show to come.
Although many listening from the start might have questioned the sound quality – something which ruined Journey's show a few nights earlier – as the vocals didn't travel well at the beginning.
But that aside the big hitting line-up complete with Australia's Rose Tattoo opening is worth any rock music fan's investment.