I’ve written a surprising amount about Guns N’ Roses. Like this, for example, while I was listing the top five concerts I’d apparently never see:
Guns N’ Roses (with Slash). This could still happen; then again, pigs could fly. Would an original line-up GNR reunion be the biggest tour in history? I think yes.
I wrote this as well, back when my writing style might best be described as “trying really hard to be Bill Simmons”:
…speaking of GN’R [I was, in fact, speaking of GN’R], can anyone imagine how ridiculous an actual revival would be? Like, if Slash and Axl ever started talking again, and all of a sudden the original line-up was touring North America…I mean, we’d be talking U2-style frenzy here, wouldn’t we?
Then again: the pigs. Sure, as long as the band members were still breathing there was technically a chance of a Guns N’ Rose reunion, but it seemed just as likely we’d see Freddie Mercury front Queen again. Some rock n’ roll feuds are more like minor scuffles; this one felt like civil war (get it?). As Slash himself put it: “I don’t think there’s ever a chance of a reunion.” His and Axl Rose’s feud simmered with genuine hatred; the band’s Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction couldn’t even chill them out, and Axl went so far as to disavow his induction both individually and as part of the collective. That’s some serious animosity, so when the first whispers of a make-up started I think most people treated them with healthy skepticism. Yeah, we wanted a reunion. Of course we did: an actual Guns N’ Roses reunion, even just an Axl-and-Slash one, would shift the time/space continuum. But those pigs.
Except…the whispers brought a bit more smoke than usual this time. The rumours grew stronger. In December the New York Times reported Guns N’ Roses’ “classic” lineup would headline the 2016 edition of Coachella. Early in the new year–as you already know–the band confirmed it, and just like that the biggest reunion in rock n’ roll (at least until Led Zeppelin gets back together) was afoot. Guns N’ Roses. Axl. Slash. Duff. Not Izzy; definitely not Steve, even though he’s been pushing for a reunion almost from the day he left the band. Coachella begat a full-fledged North American stadium tour, and on July 16 I’ll be fulfilling a lifelong fantasy by seeing Guns N’ Roses live. (That’s assuming, of course, the tour makes it that far–and I’m betting the band’s contract contains language that’d make their lawyers’ great-great-great-great grandchlidren very rich if it doesn’t.) Guns N’ Roses is one of the bands I grew up with, even if I was way too young to understand what they were actually singing about. In Grade Seven, six years after Appetite for Destruction came out, my friends Dennis and Travis made a music video of “Mr. Brownstone” for a class project. I couldn’t have known what “I used to do a little but a little wouldn’t do it so a little got more and more” meant; they couldn’t have, either, unless they did and were banking on putting one over our teacher’s head–in which case well-done, gentlemen. And while it’s painful to admit, even more painful to remember, I once did the Can’t Hardly Wait “Paradise City” karaoke routine. So it’s nostalgia that’ll be bringing me and 40,000 others to Rogers Centre in July. I’m usually loathe to embrace bands that pedal in unabashed nostalgia; even the Who, touring behind the same set of songs since at least 2002, have written new music more recently than Guns N’ Roses. This one time, however, I’ll put those reservations aside. It’s Guns N’ Roses live; it’s Axl and Slash together and, judging from reports, sounding pretty good. If I’m not allowed to be really excited for that there’s no point in being a music fan any longer.