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Concert Review: Guns N’ Roses Mumbai

The American band’s India debut may have come two decades too late, but the 50-year-old rocker did not disappoint

Megha Mahindru Dec 11, 2012
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Axl Rose at MMRDA Grounds, Mumbai. Photo: Bobin James

Having missed out on most international acts this year [Slayer, Children Of Bodom, Korn, Swedish House Mafia, Metallica, Megadeth, Wolf, Enrique Iglesias, David Guetta, Afrojack, Santana, Poet Of The Fall, Fatboy Slim, Opeth, Kreator, Lamb Of God], Mumbai rock fans had almost forgotten what big ticket concerts were like. The cheering of course began even before Axl Rose went up, with the crowd hooting for every roadie who was spotted on stage. With Guns N’ Roses playing the second show of their India tour in the city on Sunday, two days after Bengaluru, the thousands [we’ve heard everything from 30,000 to 15,000, but we’d say 8,000 would be a realistic estimate of the number that showed up] who filled up MMRDA Grounds knew exactly what a real rock concert was all about.

Those who knew what the real Axl was all about had to get over his transformation from a sexy androgynous superstar to a puffy-faced, potbellied semi-balding middle-aged man you wouldn’t waste a second look on if you spotted him on the street. The shock was personal and coupled with the fact that it took a good five songs [until “Estranged”] for his vocals to loosen up, the audience needed a gallon of beer to take it all in, but sadly, no alcohol was available at the venue.  

For a rockstar, who is notorious for keeping fans waiting and angry by showing up late on stage, Axl was punctual, kicking off the Mumbai show at 7 pm. Just like their Bengaluru show, the Mumbai concert clocked in a good three hours of show time. The frontman was also uncharacteristically polite rasping a “Thank You” after almost every track, leaving the stage to his seven-member band who jammed as Axl recharged and had a wardrobe change for the next track. Of course, some of us Axl fans were keen to be a part of the backstage action. Was a chiropractor taping Axl’s ankles [the man has complained of weak ankles even when he was in his prime] into place? On stage, the two-minute jams stuck to wailing guitar solos and thundering drum sections that could fit into any G N’ R hit, but that didn’t stop Slash fans from yelling out for the guitar god every time guitarist Ron ”˜Bumblefoot’ Thal showed off his double neck. Maybe some of this Slash mania was the reason why guitarist DJ Ashba snapped string after string and almost fell into the pit. 

The band played a setlist with minor variations to the one they played in Bengaluru. The out-of-shape rockstar only sat down mid-set to play the keys on “November Rain”. Before the track’s outro, Axl popped in an aspirin [or was it?] to “stay in a good mood for you guys”. The exhaustive setlist saw the band run through GN’R warhorses such as “Welcome To The Jungle”, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Civil War,” with a few songs from their 2008 album, Chinese Democracy. Axl clearly knew what worked in India and even threw in covers including Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall” and The Who’s “The Seeker.”  

The 50-year old frontman ended the show by dedicating “Paradise City” to “India, Bombay and Freddie Mercury.” Post the confetti shower and plectrum throws, Axl returned with the entire band for a final bow to roaring applause saying, “I’ve been wanting to come to India for the last 27 years. It’s finally happened. I’m so thankful to you guys for being here.” His last words of caution to the crowd””“Don’t get caught by the popos.” Eighties kids would have guessed Axl was referring to the cops. The rest were happy piggybacking on the G N’ R trip.


The Setlist

1. Chinese Democracy

2. Welcome To The Jungle

3. It’s So Easy

4. Mr. Brownstone

5. Estranged

6. Rocket Queen

7. Richard Fortus Guitar Solo

8. Live And Let Die (Wings cover)

9. This I Love

10. Better

11. Motivation- Tommy Stintson

12. Dizzy Read Piano Solo (No Quarter by Led Zeppelin)

13. Catcher In TheRye

14. Street of Dreams

15. There Was A Time

16. You Could Be Mine

17. DJ Ashba Guitar Solo (Ballad of Death)

18. Sweet Child O’ Mine

19. Another Brick In The Wall (Pink Floyd cover)

20. November Rain

21. Objectify (Bumblefoot cover)

22. Don’t Cry

23. Civil War

24. The Seeker (The Who cover)

25. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan cover)

26. Jam

27. Nightrain

28. Madagascar

29. Nice Boys (Don’t play Rock N’ Roll)

30. Patience

31. Jam



 Buy tickets to watch Guns N’ Roses in Gurgaon on December 12th here.

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