Review / photos by Thomas S. Orwat Jr
Orchard Park, NY – The highly anticapated, Guns n’ Roses – ‘Not in this Lifetime’ tour- made it’s way to the home of the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday evening. Guns n’ Roses, with Axl W. Rose- vocals, has been touring regularly over the last few years. This tour, however, was monumental, in that two of the original members: Slash – guitar, and Duff McKagan, joined Axl in the band after over two decades of being apart. Although ticket sales for this show were slow at first, when Guns n’ Roses hit the stage, 30,000 enthusiastic, rock music-loving fans filled the massive stadium and enjoyed an epic, three hour-plus concert of a lifetime.
Guns n’ Roses hit the stage at promptly 7:40 pm, while the late evening sun was still blazing on. Axl W. Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, were joined by hired musicians of the previous Guns n’ Roses line-up: Richard Fortus – guitar, Dizzy Reed – Keyboards, Frank Ferrer – drums, and new comer, Melissa Reese -keyboards. They kicked into their set with an intense version of “It’s So Easy.”
Throughout the evening, Axl, Slash, Duff, and band were 100% spot on. Sound-wise, the mix was flawless, which was rather impressive, considering the size of the stadium. Although Axl really didn’t address the crowd too often, he did live up to his reputation as one of music’s best frontmen, with a great vocal and high energy performance.
After Axl introduced the band midway through the show, Slash took center stage for a stunning 10-minute guitar solo. He has really taken his guitar playing to another level over the last few years. Starting off with a slow blues jam, it segued into, “Johnny B Goode,” “Speak Softly Love” and the (Love Theme From The Godfather). Then Slash started the opening riff to the massive breakout song that took Guns n’ Roses out of the gutter and into the arenas, “Sweet Child of Mine.” The band then joined in, and blew the audience away.
Slash’s partner in guitar, Richard Fortus, had his share of the spotlight as well. Even though some of the die-hard GNR fans would like to see original guitarist, Izzy Stratlin, back in the lineup, Fortus proved he was more than worthy of the gig with his finger picking solo during, “Rocket Queen,” and his guitar duet with Slash on the Pink Floyd cover of, “Wish You Were Here.”
Although there were many highlights on this evening, the performance of, “November Rain,” will likely resonate as one of the most memorable concert moments for many in attendance. With Axl seated at the piano at center stage, his and the band’s brilliant performance, coupled with incredible special effects that included a simulated rain storm at the finale, was jaw-dropping.
Guns n’ Roses followed this up with an emotional and powerful rendition of the Soundgarden hit, “Black Hole Sun,” as a tribute to the late singer, Chris Cornell.
The band’s three-plus hour performance ended with a three song encore that included: “Patience,” a Who cover, “The Seeker,” and then ended the evening with an all assault on, “Paradise City.”
Overall, it was great to see a rock show at the stadium again. Many legendary acts have played here over the years: The Rolling Stones, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, and Guns n’ Roses/Metallica in 1992. But, this performance was worthy of being at the very top of that list. Welcome back, Guns n’ Roses!!! This may very well the best American band in music today.
for more on Guns n’ Roses, visit www.gunsnroses.com