Axl Rose performs in Australia.

Axl Rose performs in Australia. Photo: Getty

Sidney Myer Music Bowl
Saturday 16 March

According to a well-informed super-fan – shivering under a plastic poncho at the rain-soaked Sidney Myer Music Bowl – Axl Rose made Melbourne Guns N’ Roses fans wait an absurdly long time, while he consulted his tour psychic, before finally stumbling onstage during his last visit.

It was a very different man who bounded into the spotlight on Saturday night, bang on time, amid outrageous pyrotechnics. The only pauses in the Gunners two and a half hour set were for the occasional costume change, as the inimitably charismatic Rose worked his way through a collection of Stetsons and a wardrobe adorned with rattlesnakes.

An eight-piece, triple guitar, line-up of Guns N’ Roses executed flawless performances of Sweet Child O' Mine, November Rain, It's So Easy, Mr. Brownstone and Don't Cry, plus covers they’ve practically made their own like Wings’ Live and Let Die and Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.

Guitarist DJ Ashba took his role as Guns N’ Roses crowd liaison seriously. When he wasn’t mugging for cheers and saluting the drenched throng on the hill, he was flicking souvenir guitar picks to adoring fans.

Ashba’s stop-start tease during the instantly recognisable opening riff of Welcome to the Jungle drew ecstatic roars from an audience who had already forgotten the endless drizzle.

At 51, Axl Rose can still pull off his signature shimmy and twirl dance move. More importantly, the quality of his voice is still phenomenal – from power-ballad croon to famed falsetto.

In a delightful gesture he called up support act Rose Tattoo’s Angry Anderson to duet on the Tatts’ sleazy Nice Boys, which Guns N’ Roses covered on their 1986 EP, Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide.

Rose’s eccentricities – for better or worse – were also paraded. After a thunderous rendition of The Who’s The Seeker, he poured and served beers to a couple of delighted front row fans from a draft tap installed on the drum riser.

Then, a bizarre interlude when Rose summoned a, let’s say, young lady paying her way through Law School from backstage, unzipped her skin-tight biker jacket and bounced peanuts off her ample, naked bosom while trying to catch them in his mouth!

Undoubtedly a clumsy attempt at reviving the dim memory of ‘The Most Dangerous Band in the World’ days that was thankfully forgotten as Guns N’ Roses launched into a killer finale of Nightrain, Patience and Paradise City. They’ve still got it, and we still want it.