Funny that my blog has literally turned into everything else besides baseball. With a title like “7th Inning Stretch Time” you’d think you’d be reading a lot more about baseball then trips to Romania and Guns N Roses concerts, right? Well, there is baseball stuff in this blog. Like the time I traveled to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to watch the playoffs and the time I went to Australia with Zack Hample to watch the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks open the season at the historical Sydney Cricket Grounds.
I’ll admit. I have kind of gotten away from what this blog is all about and I’ve been blogging about other things. A lot. But this year I plan on getting to a few new stadiums (I know, I know. I say that a lot) and blogging more about baseball instead of long vacations in exotic, amazing places. But before all of that is going to happen, I have to blog about this Guns N Roses concert I attended at CenturyLink in Seattle. Music is a big part of my life.
I remember as a teenager when I was working in an auto repair shop one of the mechanics had this old beat-up radio on his tool bench. He listened to 99.9 KISW religiously and the first Guns song I heard was Patience. KISW is notorious for playing a lot of Guns N Roses songs so over the course of the summer while working there, I heard Paradise City, Welcome to the Jungle, November Rain and Sweet Child o’ Mine. I was hooked. I remember my sister had the duel Use Your Illusion albums on CD in her room. I used to sneak in her room and “borrow” her albums and play the songs on my Dad’s huge stereo system when no one was home. It was awesome. When I joined the Army at the young age of 19, and after completing basic training, my first tour of duty was Germany. At the age of 19 this would be 1999. Guns N Roses was long broken up and just a remembrance of them was available to see. And this was all before Youtube and other social media where you could just jump on the internet and watch a video of them.
I remember finding this catalog of old bootleg VHS tapes of GnR concerts. I think I spent $50 bucks on like, 10 VHS tapes of old GnR concerts. I watched them just about every night. My sergeant would always tell me he was getting complaints that I was playing music too loud in my barracks room and he threatened to take my stereo away, which I was fine with because I was watching videos of GnR not listening to tapes or CDs.
Fast forward to Chinese Democracy. Axl Rose took his sweet time making and creating this album. I never really liked it, and I never took advantage of seeing the new Guns N Roses because It never felt like it was the original group. Without Slash, Duff, Izzy and either Matt Sorum or Steven Adler, I refused to support such an atrocious group. Axl was out of shape, had corn rows and the music sucked. I turned my attention to Metallica and Megadeth and other bands that continued to rock and play music I enjoyed. GnR seemed non-existent. I learned a lot about the band, I read Slash’s autobiography as well as Duff’s book. GnR ruled the world but let it slip away over money, ego’s (mainly Axl’s) and drugs.
When I learned that Guns N Roses was soon to be touring, and word started to spread that Slash and Duff might be joining Axl Rose on stage, I instantly started looking to buy tickets and attend a concert. They played Coachella in California and started a “Not in this Lifetime” tour:
Pinkslips opened for Guns N Roses. Pinkslips lead singer is Duff MCKagen’s daughter. And they were awesome. Alice in Chains played next. I was never an Alice in Chains fan. Nothing hardcore, anyway. I did enjoy some of their songs and I think the world of Jerry Cantrell because his Dad fought in Vietnam. That’s where the song Rooster comes from.
When Guns N Roses came on, I had no idea what to expect. For years I had been watching GnR on VHS tapes, Youtube and listening to CDs. During the 90’s they had a routine and their set list rarely changed much. They’d play a few songs like NightTrain, Rocketqueen and My Michelle in the beginning of the concert, Slash would play the Godfather theme, they’d go into November Rain and Sweet Child o’ Mine, Axl would ask the crowd if they “knew where they were” and then break into Welcome to the Jungle then they’d play some Use Your Illusion stuff and Duff would sing Attitude somewhere in all of this. Paradise City would end it all and then Axl would throw his mic into the crowd. Literally nothing changed. It’s like they picked up right where they left off from the Japan tour in 1991. It. Was. Electrifying. Slash killed it…
…and I nearly had front row seats. I surprised my sister with a ticket as well, and despite both tickets costing $500.00, I would do it again in a heart beat. Sharing this moment with my sister, (Who loves music and GnR just as much as I do) was the best thing in the world. After all, if it weren’t for her buying the Use Your Illusion albums and me sneaking into her room and borrowing them, I would have never been exposed to GnR as much as I had been.
At the end of 2016, Guns N Roses made $5.5million a show during their stadium tour and tickets averages $117 dollars. That just goes to show the kind of impact that GnR had on this world. Their songs, the music, the controversy, the drugs…all of it. It was awesome and they have announced in the recent weeks that they will be touring again in 2017. I. Can’t. Wait.