Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose performs for some 6,000 fans that gathered at the Olympic Gymnasium in Olympic Park, southern Seoul.
/ Courtesy of Access Entertainment
By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Guns N' Roses, one of the most popular rock bands of the '80s, finally made it to Seoul for the first time in their 24-year career. But it seemed the American rockers wanted to keep their fans on edge a little longer, hitting the stage Sunday evening two-and-a-half hours after the original 7 p.m. start time.
Around 6,000 fans, according to estimates by concert organizer Access Entertainment, flocked to the Olympic Gymnasium, Olympic Park, southern Seoul.
Most expected the show to start on time at 7 p.m., but organizers informed the crowd at the venue that Guns N' Roses had requested to start the show later. No specific time or explanation was given. Korean band GUMX valiantly tried to pump up the crowd's energy as they performed three songs.
At 9:30 p.m., the lights dimmed and a Leonard Cohen song played on the speakers. Finally, Guns N' Roses appeared on stage, with fireworks and vibrant visuals, to perform ``Chinese Democracy.''
Axl Rose, the lead singer and only remaining original member, came out to show that he still had vocal chops. ``It's very good to be here tonight. Thank you for having us,'' Rose told the crowd.
They performed old hits like ``Welcome to the Jungle,'' ``It's so Easy'' and ``Mr. Brownstone,'' but the set list was dominated by songs from their latest album ``Chinese Democracy,'' including ``Shackler's Revenge,'' ``Street of Dreams,'' ``Scraped'' and ``This I Love.''
To accompany songs like ``There was a Time'' and ``Rocket Queen,'' some videos played on the screen, showing scantily clad women, and violent and sexually graphic scenes.
Rose looked tired and out of breath performing some of the songs. He apologized for ``over-singing'' the song ``Sorry.'' While he can still hit the notes, it was quite obvious that years of a rocker's life have taken its toll on the 47-year-old, who kept changing into shirts that did little to hide his paunch.
The rest of the band ― guitarists Richard Fortus and Bumblefoot, bassist Tommy Stinson and keyboardist Dizzy Reed ― were given their chance to do solo numbers. However, it was new guitarist DJ Ashba that stole the spotlight with his solo number that transitioned effortlessly into ``Sweet Child O' Mine.''
While the fans in front of the stage were obviously enthusiastic and jumping up and down, it seemed the rest of the hall was unimpressed by Guns N' Roses after having to wait for two-and-a-half hours.
Rose made no apologies, but did make a vague reference to being late. ``Come on, tell me the truth, you didn't think I was coming, did you,'' he teased the crowd.
However, the crowd perked up considerably when Guns N'Roses played their biggest hits, including ``Knockin' on Heaven's Door,'' ``Live and Let Die'' and ``November Rain.'' Guns N'Roses closed the show with ``Paradise City,'' after a nearly two hour set.
The band heads to Japan for more concerts as part of their ``Chinese Democracy'' world tour.