Guns N’ Roses – Eden Park: December 10, 2022

Guns N’ Roses closed out this leg of their current “We’re F’N Back! Tour” with a show at Auckland’s Eden Park that can best be described as ‘Epic’.

For well over three hours, Axl, Slash, Duff and the band rocked for as long and hard as anyone I’ve ever seen as the cold December rain threatened to wash the whole show away.

So, apologies to opening acts Alien Weaponry and The Chats, we missed your sets, as we missed the first 20 minutes or so of the GnR show…but not for lack of trying.

Here’s the story behind the review.

It starts on August 14, 2022 when, out of the blue, I received a Facebook message from an old friend from my former home town of Rochester, New York.

“I’m finally getting to New Zealand! I’ll be there in December with Guns N’ Roses. I hope to see you man.”

It was Ron, who I hadn’t seen for probably 30 years, but was an old drinking buddy from back in the day when we hung out with a local band, Uncle Sam. We loved Uncle Sam and did everything we could to support them. It’s a long story but, as you can see from this music video I edited, they had a great sound, and guitarist, Larry Miller, had an uncanny resemblance to Slash. But he had looked and sounded like that long before anyone was aware of Guns N’ Roses.

Anyway, I digress…

Back to 2022 and Ron is now working with Guns N’ Roses…he promises passes from me and a few friends and we finally reunite at an Auckland “hipster coffee shop” at 9am day of show.

The sun is out and we have a good ‘ol chat.

I’m told that GnR will go on at 7:30pm sharp and that I can get my tickets at “Gate A” at Eden Park.

Sounds good to me.

Of course, as the day progresses, the clouds, then the rain, came, and by 5pm is was pissing down.

Undeterred, my three friends and I Uber to the stadium, arrive at 6:30, head to Gate A and find it closed. We are told it has been flooded and the guest list was now at Gate G.

So, a soggy slog toward Gate G, when along the way we are told, no, go to Gate H.

Long story short, no one at Eden Park seems to know where the guest list is. Finally I contact Ron, and, amazingly, he comes down to help us. By this time it’s 7pm, the band has gone on early and we still can’t get in. After a further 30 minutes or so, success! We make our way to our seas (too wet to sit on) and thank Ron profusely for taking care of us, while wondering how the folks at Eden Park managed to screw things up so much (we were not alone in waiting and wandering in the rain while staffers told us conflicting instructions).

Skip to here for the actual concert review!

So, finally we can see and hear Guns N’ Roses. Our position in the stadium was prime and it was immediately clear that this was a very different band that I saw at Western Springs in 2017.

Mind you the personnel on stage were pretty much the same…Axl, Slash, Duff and Dizzy along with guitarist Richard Fortus, drummer Frank Ferrer and keyboard player Melissa Reese.

What was different was the attitude, Axl’s is particular.

He looked and sounded great and best of all, he and everyone up there looked like they were have fun.  They sounded like a band again, probably better than they did in the 80s.

Even though we missed the first 20 minutes or so, we still caught three hours of classic Guns N’ Roses.

We missed Mr Brownstone and Welcome To The Jungle, but got there in time for Live And Let Die.

Life was good…if a little damp.

But the skies seemed to open up, the rain dissipated and it turned into a near-perfect night of rock and roll.

At age 60, Axl is performing better than he has a right to. And he even made an effort with his wardrobe, showing off several Kiwi T’s over the course of the evening.

Slash kept to his one shirt but played a million notes (an estimated guess)…he was on fire.

Early highlights were You Could Be Mine, followed by Duff singing The Stooges classic, I Wanna Be Your Dog.

In fact there were nearly as many covers played as tunes from Appetite For Destruction.

The most surprising being a rather lovely version of Jimmy Webb’s Wichita Lineman (a hit for Glen Campbell in 1968) followed by AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie…there’s a one-two punch I never saw coming.

As those infamous opening notes to Sweet Child O’ Mine rang through the stadium, it finally started getting dark, and the rain tried to dampen our spirits.

But that was not to be.

Axl banged out November Rain, sporting a massive ring on his right hand that I thought would impede his playing.

It didn’t and we all got up to (sing) and dance to Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and Nightrain.

Then, the encore…

Patience…with a healthy serving of The Beatles’ BlackbirdDon’t Cry, Paradise City!

By now it’s well past 10pm and the crowd it damp but very, very happy. I thank Ron via text and we make our way into the night surrounded by thousands of music fans who are all, uniformly, smiling.

Meanwhile, on stage, Slash returns, throwing out guitar picks to the crowd and ending the evening with a handstand!

Marty Duda

Photos shot by Guilherme Neto supplied to 13th Floor:

Guns N’ Roses setlist:

  1. It’s So Easy
  2. Brownstone
  3. Chinese Democracy
  4. Slither
  5. Welcome To The Jungle
  6. Double Talkin’ Jive
  7. Better
  8. Live And Let Die
  9. Reckless Life
  10. Estranged
  11. Rocket Queen
  12. Shadow Of Your Love
  13. You Could Be Mine
  14. I Wanna Be Your Dog
  15. Absurd
  16. Hard Skool
  17. Civil War
  18. Sorry/guitar solo
  19. Sweet Child O’ Mine
  20. November Rain
  21. Wichita Lineman
  22. Whole Lotta Rosie
  23. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
  24. Nightrain
  25. Coma
  26. Blackbird
  27. Patience
  28. Don’t Cry
  29. Paradise City