GUNS 'N' ROSES' globe-spanning “Not In This Lifetime” tour will have finally come to an end in 2018, after more than two years of activity, having performed to over 4 MILLION people worldwide. For all of that time it’s been one of the most exciting things happening in rock music in recent memory, despite the fact that it’s been about 30 years since the height of the bands popularity. Excitement aside though, was the tour a fully-fledged success? Was it executed as well as possible for a mega rock revival? Having put together a review of sorts; taking into account the comeback’s roll-out, other reviews of specific shows, and the trajectory the whole journey established, we’ll take it point by point and find out whether or not these guns were firing blanks, or if these roses were once again in full bloom...Maryland's John Jameson elaborates.
The band’s revival officially kicked off at COACHELLA in 2016, as the group sought successfully to shock fans by showing off the reunited duo of AXL ROSE and SLASH. That alone was enough to create a frenzy, who would have ever thought it possible?But it did draw plenty of attention to the show. As for the actual quality of the show, reviews were mixed. Some suggested that nostalgia carried the day, and that while the performance lacked some sort of, trademark injury, it was all-in-all a good listening experience. Others (Such as The San Diego Union Tribune) were more critical, suggesting that the band had aged and grown tame to a degree that made them less than themselves. Oddly, the LACK of dysfunctional nonsense that once defined the band was cited as a negative. All in all we’d say that given the reasonable level of expectation, it all went well - even if it wasn’t as wonderful as it could have been. Essentially, while lacking to some degree, it was still very welcome. [Rating: Just Okay]
Back-tracking from the actual debut show at Coachella, it’s worth recalling any build-up to the Guns N’ Roses reunion too - even though there was in this case practically none. The closest thing there was to a hint or clue, came in the form of an ambiguous, seemingly random highlight reel played as a cinema trailer of sorts in December of 2015. Those paying VERY close attention to all things G'N'R may also have noticed a band-based casino slot game becoming popular around this time as well, though it’s unclear if this was a direct publicity effort from the band. Online slot sites these days tap into all sorts of themes, such that the most fun and lucrative thing about them is the variety. In this vein, G'N'R 'headlined' a game, as did MOTORHEAD and JIMI HENDRIX, and intentionally or not, this may too have played into revving up excitement about the band. However, there was very little direct or overt build-up. As successful as the tour has been, it may have been even more exciting with some kind of anticipatory energy. [Rating: Poor]
This is the broadest category, and the one that matters most, though also the simplest to comment on. As with any band in any tour, Guns N’ Roses by all accounts had varying levels of energy from one night to the next throughout this tour. You can easily dig up reviews of specific shows lamenting the group’s lack of enthusiasm, as well as some praising G'N'R for being as good as ever. The truth of the matter is that it’s largely a matter of perspective. There are even divergent reports about the economics of the show. You may read that the shows aren’t selling out, for instance, but some of this is explained away by the fact that limited seats were available in lots of the larger venues, and the argument is offset by the fact that the show was by most any numerical degree an enormous success. Ultimately, what happened is that an aging, past-its-prime rock group took to the road for two-plus years and rocked concert venues around the world. OF COURSE they weren’t AS good as they were once upon a time. But they were still good. [Rating: As Good As Can Be Expected]
It’s reasonable to argue that the most successful aspect of the “Not In This Lifetime” tour will in the end have been the anticipation it built up for future endeavors. While build-up for the tour itself may have been lacking, Guns N’ Roses has now set the stage for any subsequent album releases or additional tours it may be planning. The band has been fairly tight-lipped about future plans to this point, but it doesn’t take a psychic to guess that a new album will almost certainly be released in due time. And because of these last two years, there will be untold millions of fans ready to send it to the top of the charts the moment it comes out. So as for establishing potential, there’s really nothing negative to say. [Rating: Perfect]
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Gavin J Griffiths, a.k.a GavTheGothicChav, lover of new music and supporter of bands. Inspired by a mixture of horror and comedy, and fueled by a blend of alcohol and sarcasm...if you're a singer / in a band and would like a review written up, please do get in touch via the email address at the top of the page and I'll get back to you ASAP. Much love x