Guns N’ Roses performing their World Tour at Hyde Park London on Friday 30th June 2023.

Review by Kevin Cooper

A week on from headlining Glastonbury, American rockers Guns N’ Roses headed to Hyde Park on Friday night for what promised to be an ambitious three hour set in front of a 65,000 strong audience as part of a series of concerts for British Summer Time. And in a far cry from their heyday, they turned up ten minutes early, a mark of their new found professionalism since their 2016 reunion.

Front man Axl Rose and the rest of the band enthusiastically stormed the stage opening with 1987’s Appetite For Destruction classic, It’s So Easy and they went on to deliver a set list that contained the bulk of their songbook.

With Rose racing around the stage being somewhat distracting, during the second song, Bad Obsession, he suddenly fell over backwards, but ever the true professional he did recover quickly without missing a note.

Trying to keep up with Rose and bobbing away behind him was bassist Duff McKagan and keyboard player Dizzy Reed of the classic line up who seemed equally chuffed to be back; Slash, sphinx like under his top hat and sunglasses, was joined by drummer Frank Ferrer and recent addition Melissa Reese.

On the likes of Chinese Democracy, one of the bands most recent songs and Slither from Slash’s Velvet Revolver days Rose showed that his voice has lost some of its power but he still managed his nasal falsetto snarl.

Mr Brownstone had the crowd singing along and on the guitar riff that belongs to Link Wray’s Rumble the crowd went wild and kept that sense of excitement for the phenomenal Welcome To The Jungle which saw Rose’s manic energy go into overdrive.

Guitar legend Slash was simply mesmerising. Extended solos came in almost every song with a highlight being Civil War, which was turned into a Ukraine solidarity anthem. Whilst undoubtedly self indulgent, one extended guitar solo towards the end of their set gave him the chance to display the band’s nods to country and blues, before it led into Sweet Child O Mine, their best known and catchiest song that certainly galvanised the audience.

With the sun setting, the crowd warmed to a barrage of classics. Rose flexed his vocals on November Rain and Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door was of course a mass sing along as was Live And Let Die. Not leaving the stage for an encore because they did not want to run the risk of having the lights and power shut off, they took advantage of the crowd’s energy with Nightrain with its galumphing cowbell and choo-choo sound effects, and they swayed misty eyed to Don’t Cry.

Finishing with their mighty anthem, Paradise City, they had delivered a stunning set of Guns N’ Roses classics. As a band they are past their best but are still assured, tight and slick. The Glastonbury appearance has been heavily criticised, but in their Hyde Park performance they delivered exactly what they have always promised, unapologetic, testosterone fuelled rock music.