Photos: Chris Besaw
Review: Kelly Besaw
Guns N’ Roses made a triumphant return to the stage Saturday July 31 after their 2020 tour was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Original members, front man Axl Rose, bassist Duff McKagan and lead guitarist Slash were joined by longtime band member Dizzy Reed, keyboardist Melissa Reese, drummer Frank Ferrer and guitarist Richard Fortus. The band played an incredible 21-song set to a packed crowd at Hershey Park Stadium. Wolfgang Van Halen’s band Mammoth WVH made their stadium debut that evening and will be joining GNR on most of the tour dates.
Mammoth WVH kicked off the evening by playing many of the heavy hitting songs off their self-titled LP including “Don’t Back Down,” “You’ll Be the One,” “Mammoth” and hit song “Distance.” If you were expecting the look and sound of Van Halen, you were in for a disappointment. Mammoth WVH has their own unique sound and stage presence. The band sounded great but unfortunately there were some mic and soundboard issues that made it tough to hear the vocals. I’m hoping to see Mammoth again with better vocal quality so I can really get a better feel for Wolfgang’s vocal range.
Guns N’ Roses took the stage ripping immediately into “It’s So Easy.” Despite the unplanned hiatus, Axl, Slash, Duff and the rest of the band made it look easy. Despite more frustrating mic issues throughout the evening, the band played some of their most beloved hits. Highlights included, “Mr. Brownstone,” “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Estranged,” “November Rain,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and “Civil War.” There were a few ripping guitar solos interwoven throughout the evening and a performance of The Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog” with Duff on vocals.
It wouldn’t be a GNR show without a few amazing covers. Fans were entertained by “Live and Let Die” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” A special surprise was a cover of Velvet Revolver’s “Slither.” As the evening progressed, Axl’s annoyance with the mic issues became more apparent. He kept his composure, cracking a few jokes about it. The whole evening culminated with a one-song encore of “Paradise City” with Axl throwing the mic into the crowd at the end.
Guns N Roses current tour with Mammoth WVH will run until fall 2021, wrapping up with two shows at the Hard Rock Live Arena in Hollywood, Florida.