Guns N’ Roses concert takes middle-aged back to Paradise City


Rock legends Guns N’ Roses arrived in Perth on their private Boeing 777, with their crew totaling 120.

For five days the Gunners team worked to transform the Optus Stadium as 15 semi-trailers brought in ten tonnes of material.

And when Axl Rose, the band’s lead singer, took the stage just before 8 p.m. last Friday, he looked remarkably different from his glory days.

Axl, real name William Bruce Rose Jr, wore a black T-shirt and a pair of ripped jeans as he performed alongside fellow rocker Slash.

But her famously long locks were gone, replaced by a sensible haircut with just a hint of hairpiece. Axl’s trademark bandana was also gone and there was no sign of a kilt either.

For me, it was the first time I felt like Father Time was catching up with us all. All the songs were the same but you just felt like something was wrong.

That’s why I really admired middle-aged guys who danced like nobody was watching. OK, the Jim Beam and Coke probably fueled them, but they were coming loose. Remember that vision on social media of this super old man starting to dance and then suddenly throwing his crutches away – that was it.

And it was contagious. Where I stood was air guitars a stone’s throw away as Slash belted out another guitar solo on stage.

Apparently, it’s actually a scientific thing. The combination of music and movement (dancing) releases happy chemicals like endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin.

Near me were a lot of men in their 40s and 50s strutting like Axl to songs like Sweet Child O’ Mine and Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.

The only song that seemed to slow them down was when Glen Campbell’s Wichita Lineman played. Then they were all “kiss the miss and all be in love”.

And I’m not too proud to admit that I also felt a bit concerned for the Wichita lineman who was always on the line despite having no idea where Wichita was or what a lineman was doing.

To their credit, GNR played for three hours and I stopped counting when they performed their 27th song. It was Paradise City and at 11 p.m. I too wanted to be taken to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.

So in some ways a lot of things have changed, but nothing has changed if you know what I mean.

The Guns N’ Roses song You Could Be Mine, which featured in the second Terminator movie, was just as good and in a quirk of fate no one predicted for Perth when it came time to perform the hit classic November Rain – you guessed it – it started to rain. There’s a metaphor somewhere, that’s for sure, but it’s beyond me.

What I do know is that nowadays nobody holds a lighter during this song, because time would have extinguished the flames. Fortunately, in 2022 we use light on our mobile phones (I know it’s not really the same thing, is it).

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