‘Appetite For Destruction’ In 30: Axl Rose Shows He Has Still Got It Series

NEW YORK — Three years in, rock fans have an insatiable appetite for Guns N’ Roses.  

This has been amplified at Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater, in which the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers reunited to play with an Sirius XM radio show to celebrate their landmark 1987 debut Appetite for Destruction, which marks its 30th anniversary.

Fueled by top-10 hits Sweet Child O’ Mine,  Paradise City and Welcome to the Jungle, the album spent four nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, going on to sell an estimated 30 million copies worldwide and position No. 62  on Rolling Stone’s “greatest records of all time” list.  

Axl Rose — who reunited with Guns N’ Roses last year following over a decade of strife with lead guitarist Slash — thrived in the 1,500-seat venue, which will be a welcome downsizing in the 60,000-capacity stadiums the group was playing their Not in This Lifetime tour this past year. The romantic setting was an perfect place to see the bandana-clad frontman’s spark-plug antics, which included multiple costume changes when he was not snugging his bandmates or jumping in place, often bounding on a raised platform centre stage where he towered over the head-banging, beer-swilling  crowd.  

After a late start, the rollicking set ran with the occasional lull from the audience, for at least two and a half hours during power ballads Estranged and Better. Electrifying covers of Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die and AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie earned loud whoops of recognition, as did Slash’s noodling of The Godfather theme Speak Softly, Love during an extended guitar break resulting in audience favorite Sweet Child O’ Mine. Rose’s vocals — a gravelly grumble that often erupted into a primal scream — shined about the slowed-down That I Love,  whilst Slash and bassist Duff McKagan  each got their moments in the spotlight with piercing solos and an epic “duel” at the middle of Welcome to the Jungle.  

Spotty acoustics aside, Guns N’ Roses put on an animated series that catered to their longtime lovers, with a special nod justified for opening action The Kills, whose loose, fuzz-funk jams put the tone for the evening.  

The set list:  

1. It’s So Easy

2. Mr. Brownstone

3. Chinese Democracy

4. Welcome to the Jungle

5. Double Talkin’ Jive

6. Better

7. Estranged

8. Live and Let Die (Wings pay)

9. Rocket Queen

10. You Could Be Mine

11. New Rose (The Damned pay)

12. This I Love

13. Civil War (Voodoo Child end)

14. Yesterdays

15. Coma

16. Sweet Child O’ Mine

19. My Michelle

20. Whole Lotta Rosie (AC/DC cover)

21. Wish

22. November Rain 

23. Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden cover)

24. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan cover)

25. Nightrain

26. Sorry

27. Patience

28. The Seeker (The Who cover)

29. Paradise City