The first rule of being in a rock’n’roll band: You have to fight — usually to the point of disbanding. But the best thing about breaking up is obviously making up. And when Guns N’ Roses announced they were getting back together this year after a whopping 23 years apart, it felt like the whole world took a collective breath of relief.
Now, they’re coming to Dubai.
That’s right: Guns N’ Roses — Axl Rose (vocals), Slash (lead guitar), Duff McKagan (bass), Dizzy Reed (keyboard), Richard Fortus (rhythm guitar), Frank Ferrer (drums) and Melissa Reese (keyboard) — will play in Dubai on March 3 at the Autism Rocks Arena, as part of their aptly named Not in This Lifetime Tour. Tickets will go on sale within the next two weeks, but fans can preregister at 117Live to be the first in line.
Founding member Izzy Stradlin will not be joining the reunion tour, although Rose didn’t give a concrete reason.
Steven Adler’s involvement as original drummer has been on-and-off due to health issues.
“This is not going to be a 75 minutes with encore show. This is going to be a two-hour hard rock show full of all the hits,” said Thomas Ovesen, CEO of the event organisers, 117Live.
That’s what fans have come to expect from the band since their 1985 formation and, two years later, the release of the best-selling American debut ever, Appetite for Destruction.
In April, the band — featuring Slash and Rose on stage together for the first time since their infamous July 17, 1993 gig in Buenos Aires — sent fans into a nostalgic frenzy when they headlined music festival Coachella. Ovesen was in attendance.
“I’ve seen them in the past, first time around, when they were a crazy band that, I guess, didn’t really want to be together, but they were touring — and they were unbelievable,” said Ovesen.
At Coachella, they very much seemed like they wanted to perform together, he said. Rose, despite a leg injury, mesmerised the crowd with his voice while Slash lived up to his reputation as one of the greatest guitarists in the genre.
“The same night that they performed, I was contacted by their agent who said there’s a potential chance that in 2017, after Axl’s shows with AC/DC that had just been announced, they would go out and do some more shows if him and Slash felt that there was a good vibe and they could still be bothered doing it,” he said.
117Live made an offer to bring the band to Dubai, but things went quiet after that.
“Suddenly, towards middle of summer, it all heated up again, and I started receiving calls that they’re enjoying it so much, and they want to extend the tour, they definitely want to pass through the Middle East. They’ve never performed in Dubai,” said Ovesen. (The band has played without Slash in Abu Dhabi twice.)
He was asked to expand the Autism Rocks Arena from its usual 25,000 capacity to 30,000. This would also help to accommodate fans from abroad. (The Dubai gig is the only Middle East stop, with the closest other show being in Singapore.)
“I think it’s one of those ones where you can say you get what you pay for. Or I certainly hope we do. We have paid for premium, and what we expect is a very, very tight and seasoned super rock band to come to town on March 3,” said Ovesen.
Founding member Izzy Stradlin will not be joining the reunion tour, although Rose didn’t give a concrete reason. Steven Adler’s involvement as original drummer has been on-and-off due to health issues.