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A bottle of water thrust into my hand, I was dripping with sweat having run the length of Yas Island. Only an hour ago I was casually driving to Abu Dhabi, to see a band that I have listened to and respected since my teenage years, when I took a call to say Axl Rose would do an interview.

As the voice explained at this point it was only a possibility and nothing was guaranteed, I could feel my foot pushing down on the accelerator.

I dumped the car on a startled valet, I hot footed it backstage praying for a call to say it was on and I wasn't too late.

I crashed down on a bench back stage, tried to cool off and set about scribbling some notes on what to ask the "legend" I was about to meet.

A suited man greeted me, listed the no-go topics and with that unknowingly increased the already mounting pressure. Rose is infamous for having a poor relationship with the media (understatement) and has been extremely vocal about this over the years. I knew the history, I was a fan, and I was now nervous.

The roar of the crowd out added to the atmosphere and tension and I was sure that would entice Rose and the boys to skip the interview with a pesky journo.


He didn't let me down. Ushered into a well laid out room backstage, tables we set for a posh dinner, akin to that of a charity auction, "not very rock n' roll" I thought. People buzzed around and the atmosphere was electric. A table was then rapidly cleared, I was plopped down at it and a few bottle of water and glasses arranged opposite me, I clutched my scraps of hurriedly scribble notes and my borrowed pen and waited.

This was it, 20 years ago I was a spotty kid, wearing ripped jeans and unlaced boots, thinking Guns N' Roses were rock Gods, and now I was about to meet their frontman, the voice, Axl Rose.

Then the severity of the situation increased along with my heart rate. Rose, accompanied by the new line-up, entered. I was shaking hands with Rose. The room suddenly took on a much more sinister feel. Colourful tattoo's, gothic hair-cuts, funky headwear and leather bedecked the band members as they took up the empty chairs.

The sinister feel was fleeting, as a relaxed, friendly, approachable, funny group unfolded. If there was any animosity toward all those who had previously bad-mouthed, lied about or generally slated the name of Rose or Guns N Roses, it was extremely well-hidden. They looked like a bunch of mates about to have some serious fun and the camaraderie in the group was clear. They have a lot to live up to and even more to prove. Even DJ Ashba, the newest member of the group, looked and acted like he'd been rocking with these guys for years.

If this interview, willingness to meet the press and the pure enthusiasm for their music is anything to go by, I'd say the days of Get in the Ring days are past and we can expect more November Rain and Paradise City classics on the horizon.

The roar of the Abu Dhabi crowd accompanied our chat and was an ever present reminder our time together was short. This is one moment that will stay with me forever.