The reunion tour issue
Pondering Guns N' Roses' future beyond the Not in This Lifetime... Tour
At first, I thought of the “Not in This Lifetime…” Tour as a typical money grab.
Putting aside my excitement for a Guns N’ Roses reunion, there were still plenty of questions needing answers, let alone how the band would work.
The 2016 reunion of Guns N’ Roses seemed to mildly satisfy fans. Without original guitarist Izzy Stradlin and drummer Steven Adler, the reunited Guns N’ Roses was just Axl Rose’s incarnation of the band, with the addition of original members Slash and Duff McKagan to sell the reunion tour.
Ignoring the scale and grandiosity of the tour goes against the grain on several levels. Slash and Rose had not spoken in 19 years prior to the reunion talks, and any prior rumor of a reunion found immediate denial.
Rose famously labeled Slash as “a cancer” in 2009, adding further fuel to the fire of one of the most tumultuous rock disputes.
The only comparable example is the Eagles in the ‘90s, labeling its reunion as the Hell Freezes Over Tour referring to Don Henley’s feelings toward any notion of a reunion when asked in 1980.
But the Eagles’ reunion differed in both meaning and timing –– alternative rock dominated the airwaves, and the grunge scene was thriving.
In a year where the charts are dominated by hip-hop, rap and pop, regarding the tour as anything other than a money grab raises too many questions that cannot be answered. Until the band functions as a cohesive unit rather than a cover band of the original Guns N’ Roses, moving forward seems difficult.
All of the pieces for a successful reunion were in place. The new Guns N’ Roses was in need of a guitar player and bass player following the departures of Bumblefoot and Tommy Stinson, with lead guitarist DJ Ashba following soon after. Not to say that Ashba’s departure was anything to split hairs over. His references toward the gap and influence left by Slash by use of his own top hat were simply ridiculous and sad.
I can’t possibly elaborate my excitement at the time of the announcement of the reunion tour. I was over the moon and made sure to be one of the first people on Ticketmaster to reserve my tickets.
After seeing the latest incarnation of Guns N’ Roses three times –– twice at MetLife Stadium and once in Buffalo –– I cannot help but ponder the future of the band.
After the initial announcement in 2016, the tour has climbed the ladder of best-selling tours worldwide, with box office receipts in excess of $400 million. With that amount of money coming in, why stop now, if ever?
Guns N’ Roses are booked through summer 2018 in Europe, this coming leg being their second full-length tour in the U.K. It seems that, for now, the band is putting off the inevitable.
Still, the fan inside of me hopes for the best-case scenario at the expense of betraying intellect.
Will they release a new album? Probably not. Slash is already pushing the press tour behind his work with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, and Rose has supposedly enough material for a follow-up to 2006’s “Chinese Democracy.” Hoping for the original lineup to hop back into the studio to record anything other than a victory lap’s worth of heartless music is far-fetched.
Guns N’ Roses were never a band to play by the rules. Even when labeled the biggest band in the world, they did so with a gusto and temperament that was quintessentially hard rock to the point of being borderline ridiculous.
For now, I’ll keep my memory of the reunion tour as exactly that –– a memory.
Brian Evans is the asst. arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org