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Guns N’ Roses Roll Big at Brooklyn Bowl Gig

Axl Rose
Mark Metcalfe, Getty Images

Fans never quite know what they’re gonna get with a Guns N’ Roses gig, and when the setting is a bowling alley / rock club in Brooklyn, N.Y., there’s truly no telling what could happen. On Thursday night (June 6), Axl Rose and company rolled (pun intended) into the Brooklyn Bowl and scored big with the fans who were lucky enough to attend such an intimate GN’R gig.

Walking into the club and seeing people bowling at about 10 or so lanes at one side of the venue was a bit surreal. Was this really happening? Were the mighty Guns N’ Roses really about to play a bowling alley? In fairness, the Brooklyn Bowl is also very much a rock venue, but still it was a wonderfully odd setting for a GN’R show.

Hitting the stage at 11:20PM (don’t worry, we were told it would start after 11PM), GN’R tore into ‘You’re Crazy’ and followed it up with three more ‘Appetite for Destruction’ songs — ‘Welcome to the Jungle,’ ‘It’s So Easy’ and ‘Mr. Brownstone.’ Right from the get-go, it was clear that Axl Rose’s voice was in top form and that the audience was in for a special show.

Following the four-song ‘Appetite’ opening, GN’R launched into the ‘Use Your Illusion II’ track ’Civil War,’ an epic performance that was one of the highlights of the evening.

Throughout the night, fans were treated to old favorites like ‘Use to Love Her,’ ‘Rocket Queen’ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ and ‘Nightrain,’ as well as select cuts off ‘Chinese Democracy,’ including ‘Better’ and ‘This I Love.’ And when the band performed ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ and ‘Live and Let Die’ with Rose’s signature vocals on each tune, one almost forgets that they were originally recorded by a couple of little known musicians named Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney, respectively.

As great as Axl sounded, he was apparently a bit ill. At one point he apologized that he couldn’t put 100-percent of his energy into the show, citing a stomach bug from a meal he had at a truckstop. That may have led to the band dropping a couple of songs from the set. There was no ‘November Rain,’ and when the guitarists started reaching for their acoustic six-strings for what probably would have been ‘Patience,’ Rose called them off and they instead launched into the set-closer, ‘Paradise City.’

Sure, it would be amazing to see Axl reunite with Slash, Duff, Izzy and Steven one day, but credit goes out to the current members of GN’R. These guys can shred with the best of them. The band basically has three lead guitarists in DJ Ashba, Richard Fortus and Bumblefoot, with each one given moments to shine during the set. Meanwhile, bassist Tommy Stinson gets his own spotlight during the show with a performance of his tune ‘Motivation.’

Purists who refuse to see this incarnation of Guns N’ Roses certainly have a good argument, but there’s no denying the talent of the current members of GN’R. And when Axl Rose brings his A-game, which he did on Thursday night in Brooklyn, he’s one of the most captivating performers in all of rock ‘n’ roll.

Check out the setlist of the Brooklyn show below. Guns N’ Roses will be headlining the Governors Ball in New York city this Saturday, June 8.

Setlist:

‘You’re Crazy’
‘Welcome to the Jungle’
‘It’s So Easy’
‘Mr. Brownstone’
‘Civil War’
‘Better’
‘Estranged’
‘Used to Love Her’
‘Rocket Queen’
-Richard Fortus Solo-
‘Live and Let Die’(Wings cover)
‘This I Love’
‘Motivation’ (Tommy Stinson song)
‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’
‘Mi Amor’
‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ (Bob Dylan Cover)
‘Nightrain’
‘The Seeker’ (The Who cover)

Encore:
-Jam Session-
‘Paradise City’

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