Guns n Roses – Marlay Park – Review
by Fran Winston
Marlay Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 6
Tuesday 28th June 2022
It is just over 30 years since I first saw Guns n Roses live for the first time, when they played the legendary venue, Slane, as part of their Use Your Illusion world tour. While my trip to see them 30 years ago was punctuated by excitement, since they were basically the biggest band in the world at the time, I approached this gig with trepidation. I had heard some bad reports about the condition of Axl Rose’s voice and let’s face it, no matter how tight the band is, no one wants to listen to someone struggle through songs for a couple of hours.
Kicking off with It’s So Easy I braced myself…and was pleasantly surprised. His voice certainly isn’t what it was, but he is 60 years of age now. However, it wasn’t dreadful either. He carried the song energetically, setting the tone for the rest of the night. He thundered through the high octane Mr Brownstone and the anthemic Welcome to the Jungle, so much so that I was wondering if he and the band could keep this pace up.
I needn’t have worried as they delivered hit after hit including crowd favourite You Could Be Mine, Live and Let Die, Sweet Child O Mine and November Rain. There was some respite for Axl when Duff McKagen took to the mic to cover the Stooges classic I Wanna Be Your Dog and Slash’s non-Guns project Velevet Revolver got a look in when they played Slither. Axl’s recent side gig fronting AC/DC also got a nod when they covered Back In Black.
I got rather excited when I heard the intro to the Alice Cooper classic Only Women Bleed hoping that they were going to tackle it but instead it morphed into a very high octane version of Nighttrain before they departed the stage. Of course, the crowd weren’t going to let them leave it at that and they returned for an encore treating us to Coma, Patience, You’re Crazy and finally a rip-roaring rendition of Paradise City.
On previous occasions when I saw Guns they were (VERY) late on stage and often seemed a bit disconnected. But on this sunny Tuesday evening, they started bang on time and were an extremely tight unit. They were…dare I say it…very professional. It was the best I have ever seen them play. Overall, Axl’s voice held up. He had dropped a few songs slightly and once or twice he did appear to struggle, but it was nothing that you couldn’t live with in order to hear these legendary songs live. They played just over three hours, which is hugely impressive by any standards, and the energy never once dipped. They delivered a good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll show and the audience loved it.
It was just unfortunate that the euphoria created by the gig was destroyed by the efforts to get home. I can’t write about any gig in Marlay Park and not mention this. It is not as if it is the promoter’s first rodeo but yet they can’t seem to sort the logistics of making it easy for people to get home from gigs. Closed roads, diverted buses, a lack of public transport in general and vague directions ensured that many people had their experience of the show tarnished by the magical mystery tour they were forced to undertake to get home. Hopefully, by the next time I attend a gig there, it will be sorted.
It’s So Easy
Welcome to the Jungle
Back in Black
Double Talkin’ Jive
Live and Let Die
You Could Be Mine
I Wanna Be Your Dog
Sweet Child o’ Mine
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door