THE campaign to reclaim the stadium in the name of rock was boosted by the desperately anticipated return of Guns N’ Roses with very special guest AC/DC legend Angus Young in Sydney on Friday night.
Young joined the band to perform the AC/DC song Whole Lotta Rosie and a mashup of signature riffs.
That mega bonus performance returned the favour Axl Rose extended the Australian band when he filled in for Brian Johnson for the remaining gigs of their Rock Or Bust tour.
Young pranked the American rockers when they landed in Sydney from their opening gig in Brisbane this week via private jet on Wednesday night.
The band were kept waiting on-board for a “security check”.
Told we had to stay on plane last night in Sydney; ‘airport security’ wanted to do a check. We waited. It was Angus Young is an orange vest!
— Duff McKagan (@DuffMcKagan) February 8, 2017
Expecting airport officials, Rose and his band mates were greeted by Young wearing a hi-vis vest.
The aptly named Not In This Lifetime tour has reunited the band’s seminal core — Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan — on Australian stages for the first time since the epic Use Your Illusion concerts in 1993.
All the bad blood and lawyers’ bills appear to be water under the bridge as the trio and an impressive support cast of musicians reminded us why stadium rock once was everything. Before Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran and Coldplay and One Direction made sports arenas poptastic versus dangerous.
Certainly the rockers once renowned as the most dangerous band in the world don’t scare the proverbial out of us like they used to. They look, well, happy and healthy.
And those among the 50,000 plus crowd in the grandstands were frustrated with sound problems as the wind swirled and Rose’s vocals were lost for the first half-hour.
But once that technical difficulty was sorted, man, what a gig.
There was not one person in that stadium who did not lose it when the Gunners smashed out that perfect rock song, Sweet Child O’ Mine or Live And Let Die or Civil War or Estranged.
Slash gave us a glorious extended rock guitar solo bonus with Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here which segued into Layla and then the epic November Rain with Rose pounding the piano keys abetted by the weight of his rings bling.
The top-hatted guitar guru and his bassist mate McKagan were given plenty of time to shine with solos when Rose went off stage to change t-shirts and hats.
And no doubt equal shine time was stipulated in the contract.
But it is almost impossible to be cynical about a musical event you feared may never happen in this lifetime, punctuated with the signature fireworks and pyro bombs.
Rose and his band mates were generous entertainers to their legion of true believers — particularly during the call and response of Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and Patience crowd karaoke — and there seemed to be a genuine camaraderie on stage.
The most obvious takeaway for a crowd who grew up in the halcyon era of 90s stadium rock is you can never go back but you can revisit.
Guns N’ Roses return to ANZ Stadium on Saturday. If you’re lucky, so will Angus Young.
Originally published as Angus Young joins Guns N’ Roses gig