The iconic LA hard rock outfit Guns n Roses entertained a crowd of 65,000 with their extensive back catalog at Hyde Park
On Friday 30th June the iconic LA rockers Guns n Roses cascaded onto the Great Oak stage at BST Hyde Park. The 65,000 strong audience erupted as the veterans blasted out on to stage with the same energy that they became notorious for back in their golden era. However, before this moment we were treated to an array of rock music that spanned genres, age, and energy.
Opening the day was Larkin Poe, the sister duo from Nashville, Tennessee, who’s blues infused rock n roll was retrospective yet delightfully fresh, and LOUD. It was all the best elements of rock n roll fused into one major wall of sound that came bellowing across the London park. It was an incredible opening act that set the tone for what was about to be a mammoth session of guitars, hard hitting percussion, and tasty licks.
A quick jaunt to the Bird Cage stage saw The Foxies, another band from Nashville, Tennessee. Moving away from the blues driven tones of Larkin Poe, The Foxies carried a much more explosive sound. It was a quick barrage of punk/emo rock that carried similarities to Blondie, Simple Plan, and other early 2000’s bands. It was an incredibly fun set that saw front woman Julia Lauren Bullock in spectacular action. She danced and flailed across the stage whilst engaging with the audience on regular intervals, it was a very infectious performance.
Back to the Great Oak and The Darkness were about to start their riff-fused yet hilarious comedic take on the rock n roll genre. The band held no bars with their high-octane energy and fantastic crowd interactions. The Darkness have a long discography with a multitude of hits and to the fans excitement they played near enough all of them, from ‘Growing On Me’ to ‘Love Is Only A Feeling’, as well as a snippet of “the Christmas song” that an audience member had the audacity to shout out, much to Justin Hawkins dismay and lowkey pleasure. The band proved that they are deserving of every accolade they receive as musicians and performers. They continue to bring smiles and riffs to the masses and always seem to be enjoying themselves in the process, it’s an unforgettable experience when they grace the stage.
At this point I was rushed backstage to interview The Foxies so unfortunately missed The Pretenders, but they sounded solid from the artists area.
As the rain trickled across the impressive Grand Oak stage the graphics for Guns N Roses played across the mighty screens. A sense of eagerness and anticipation was awash through the crowd and the energy was harnessed by Guns n Roses as they belted onto stage. Axl Rose came cascading from stage right with a similar energy to his youth. They ripped into ‘So Easy’ with masterful ease and to my surprise Axl’s vocals were on point. The band played a slightly self-indulgent 3 hour set, which did feel a little unnecessary and perhaps too much of a marathon for the average fan. However, if you’re a die hard fan you will be in heaven. Especially as the set covers the band’s entire back catalogue and includes hits such as ‘Paradise City’, ‘November Rain’, and of course ‘Sweet Child Of Mine’.
As well as their own hits the band played a selection of covers from Wings‘ ‘Live & Let Die’, ‘T.V. Eye’ by The Stooges, and ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’ by Bob Dylan.
Even if it was a slightly longer than desired set you cannot deny that Guns N Roses are a truly god-like rock band, that still (just) have the energy to bring the noise. They’re idols for a reason and have the reputation as rock icons to boot, this was all on show at Hyde Park, if not slightly self-indulgent, wildly entertaining.