What started as one show on April Fools Day two years ago at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, CA followed by two shows in Las Vegas, NV and two weekends of Coachella became one of the biggest and highest grossing tours worldwide. Guns N’ Roses played what is rumored to be their last Not In This Lifetime Tour show at the Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii on Dec. 8. When GNR played their first reunited show with Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan, it was the first time all three had shared the stage together since 1996. GNR’s Not In This Lifetime tour consisted of 158 shows in 42 countries. This was GNR’s first ever Hawaii show. Alongside the three original members are long-time GNR keyboardist Dizzy Reed, Richard Fortus (guitar) and Frank Ferrer (drums) both members pre-reunion, and their newest member Melissa Reese. Opening the show was local Hawaii act Kings of Spade. GNR was notoriously late for years to play onstage but this time around they’ve been on time every night and playing a 3.5-hour show. I’ve been fortunate enough to be at the first show, and the final shows of the year from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA to The Forum in Los Angeles, CA last year. I’ve been to nine shows total and it’s easy to say this is the band to see every chance you get. With concert ticket prices being outrageously expensive these days fans have to pick and choose carefully what they want to spend money on and for GNR it’s worth every penny every single time. GNR always gives an incredible show start to finish.
GNR’s massive 31-song set kicked off with “It’s So Easy,” followed by “Mr. Brownstown,” “Chinese Democracy,” and by song four were playing “Welcome to the Jungle,” with a guitar intro from Slash. GNR’s setlist has everything a fan would want to hear from “Rocket Queen,” to “You Could be Mine,” to “November Rain,” featuring Rose on the piano with Derek & And the Dominos “Layla” as an intro. For covers GNR was known for covering Wing’s “Live and Let Die,” and Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” which are both part of the setlist. With the passing of Glen Campbell and Chris Cornell last year GNR have been performing “Wichita Lineman,” and “Black Hole Sun.” A big surprise was GNR playing Velvet Revolver’s “Slither,” which was made up of then former GNR members Slash, Duff, and Matt Sorum. From Appetite to Destruction to Use Your Illusion 1 & 2 and Lies, GNR played everything a fan would want to hear. The band concluded this epic show with a five-song encore of “Patience,” “Madagascar,” “Don’t Cry,” The Who’s “The Seeker,” and “Paradise City.” The crowd took a final bow and gave one younger fan a big surprise.
After the last show on the Not In This Lifetime Tour sadly came to an end, Axl sang Happy Eighth Birthday to a stoked little grom named Axel Irons. Axel Irons (named after Axl Rose) is the son of the legendary surfer Andy Irons, who passed away in 2010. Part of the proceeds from the show went towards Andy’s foundation. The Billabong Pipeline Masters waiting period began the day of the show as well. RVCA in Honolulu had limited edition merch including shirts and posters for the band’s first time in town. The show was full of peace, love and shakas.
Dec. 8 was GNR’s first ever show in Hawaii. This show followed The Eagles (opener Jack Johnson) on Dec. 7 which was their first time at Aloha Stadium since 1995. Guns N’ Roses show began with brilliant graphics including GNR stylized with a Pearl Harbor battleship. Periodically the audience experienced a few drops of rain but nothing major. There were two custom posters for the show which included Axl, Slash, and Duff Hawaiian style with surfboards as well as a skeleton hula girl.
Now it is said to be that Guns N Roses will be releasing a new album which would be the band’s first studio release since Chinese Democracy 10 years ago.