Hammersmith Apollo, London, England
June 7th 2006

One Rose backed by thorns
- John Aizlewood, Evening Standard, 6.8.2006

Two hours may be a blink of an eye to a group without an album of original material since 1991, but in a sweltering Hammersmith Apollo, two hours was an eternity. Scheduled to come on stage at 8.45, Guns N'Roses finally emerged at 10.45.

If that and the sludgy sound that the road crew had had ample time to perfect, were not sufficient contempt for the audience, I'm far from convinced I actually saw Guns N'Roses.

Singer Axl Rose was certainly present. With his ginger dreadlocks tied into an unruly ponytail, a half-hearted goatee and a succession of tasteless shirts unbuttoned to reveal, somehow reassuringly, a sunburnt chest, he resembled nothing less than a Stars In Their Eyes Mick Hucknall.

Behind Rose, though, were seven thorns. With the arguable exceptions of long-standing keyboardist Dizzy Reed and terrific drummer Brain, they were no more Guns N'Roses than they were potholers.

Rose found it necessary to employ three lead guitarists. Collectively (let alone individually), they were not worthy of tuning the strings of Slash, the band's spirit and direction until he fled in 1996.

Disastrously, Rose permitted all three solo stage time as he changed outfits. After the first five minutes of Richard Fortus's mind-numbing efforts, I lost the will to live.

Even so, Rose's duet with Skid Row's Sebastian Bach on My Michelle was thrilling and Sweet Child O'Mine still sends shivers down the sternest of spines, but November Rain, so breathtaking on record, was more June Drizzle, while the confetti and shower of sparks that accompanied the closing Paradise City could not obscure the fact that this band have surrendered almost everything that once made them great.

GNR in controversial comeback

Guns N' Roses made a controversial return to the UK stage on Wednesday night - leaving many fans stranded in London after their set ran drastically late.

The group arrived on stage over an hour late for their comeback show at London's Hammersmith Apollo and the gig did not finish until 1am - long after the tube had stopped running.

Many furious fans, who had booed for half-an-hour before the band hit the stage, were left without a way of getting home or were forced to leave before the end of the group's 130-minute show.

Singer Axl Rose unveiled a new seven-piece line-up and played four songs from forthcoming album 'Chinese Democracy' in a set that was littered with costume changes and expensive pyrotechniques.

But the biggest cheers were saved for hits such as 'Welcome To The Jungle', 'Sweet Child O' Mine', 'November Rain' and 'Paradise City', which, ironically for the stranded fans, features the line 'Won't you please take me home?'