Guns N' Roses Not In This Lifetime Tour A Dream Come True

Not in this lifetime…that’s exactly what I would tell you if you had asked me about the possibility of ever seeing Guns N’ Roses perform LIVE. Considering the highly publicized rift between the members, the best that I thought I could hope for was seeing each of them perform with whichever group or lineup they are currently involved with.

However, thanks to this worldwide reunion tour aptly dubbed “Not in This Lifetime,” my dream came true. Those of you who know me well can already imagine how much of a big deal this is to me. Many of you still remember how I used to play GNR songs during art class back-to-back with the latest Eraserheads single.

For those who don’t know me, let me tell you the story of how a 9-year-old girl’s dream came into fruition on February 25, 2017.

Flashback to third grade. At this point, I had already danced to the tune of the Vanilla Ice hit single “Ice, Ice, Baby” in front of family members and the entire neighborhood during the town fiesta. I had also attempted to sing the cheesy songs of Smokey Mountain in several school competitions. (I’m a shitty singer, but you know how they force you to participate in all sorts of activities in school).

To this day, I am infamous for my air guitar rendition of “La Bamba” from back when I was perhaps five years old at a neighborhood Halloween party. Clearly, my musical taste was all over the place.

Skip a few years up to 1991. MTV was kind of a cheap thrill. Apart from the music videos, foul-mouthed buddies called Beavis and Butthead were all the rage. Kids like me felt like such rebels to be watching nasty cartoons…these guys were no Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

It was while killing time on MTV during the summer break that I chanced upon the music video for “November Rain.” I distinctly remember seeing Stephanie Seymour in the coffin and asking my brother what happened to her.

Later on, I caught the video again (We couldn’t just go to You Tube back then). At that point, my life changed completely. In some ways I can say that it was when I realized that life wasn’t so simple. The complex storylines of GNR videos for singles like “Don’t Cry” and “Estranged” made me think more deeply about what really happens to people. “Civil War,” “14 Years” and songs like “Live and Let Die” forced me to learn about matters that were once completely alien to me.

I later discovered songs by Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Mr. Big, Skid Row and all the other glam rock bands of the era. At this point, I started to care about the lyrics. This is why I can never, ever appreciate songs that talk about shorty’s booty and some homie’s bling and new ride.

In some ways, I can say that my character and personality was deeply influenced by the themes and topics tackled by these songs from my early childhood. If you know me and you’re reading this, I think you will know what I’m talking about.

In any case, Guns N Roses disbanded. Life went on and I found other music to appreciate. While their songs are still dominating my playlist, I was resigned to the thought that I would never see them perform together live. You see, when the band was together, I was too young to go to concerts. Even if I could, they never went to Manila and I think the closest they ever got was Tokyo.

Fast forward to Januray 5, 2016. I follow these guys in social media. I never forgot them even if I moved on. Duff McKagan posted  photo that sent chills down my spine.

Coachella? Oh my God. There was already some buzz about a reunion but I dismissed them simply because I, like many others, have read a lot about the big feud between the band’s original members.

However, a post from Duff himself almost gave me a heart attack. News started to come in steadily. In this day and age, fake news abounds but reliable news sources were confirming the reunion. My head was spinning. Later on, Mr. Axl Rose himself (via Twitter) confirmed the reunion.

Friends in the United States started reaching out. Some shared their stories from their own experiences when the tour came to their city. I was starting to seriously consider flying out. Luckily, the Asian dates were soon announced. They were not coming to Manila but they would be in Singapore.

I knew tickets would be pricey, and I knew it won’t be easy to find people who would be willing to fly out. I was resigned to the idea that I might watch the show alone. Luckily, my friend Aurie was in a YOLO state of mind and agreed to come.

I immediately imposed upon my childhood friends, the McDermotts, to host my stay. I can’t thank you enough Kissa and Darren.

I later made plans to meet up with some other friends and my sorority sisters. We planned to have a few drinks before the show and hang out before we had to proceed to our respective sections. Unfortunately, none of that happened because we arrived late.

My dream almost turned into a nightmare! By now, many of you have probably heard about the traffic and the logistical fiasco. There was only one double lane road that led to the concert venue. With 50,000 people expected to attend, the traffic was intense (Not Manila levels though).

We arrived at the venue just in time. However, we faced even more logistical issues. For whatever reason, the VIP entrance was at the furthest end away from the drop off and the stage. Basically, you get dropped off at one end of the Changi Exhibition Centre, then you had to walk all the way to the other end to get into the VIP entrance. At this point, you’ll find out that the stage is back at the other end and you have to walk the same distance back again to get to where you’re supposed to be.

There were long lines to exchange the tickets to RFID wrist bands. There were even more lines to load money into the bands. The bar was also overflowing with people. At this point, I decided that I didn’t need a fucking beer to enjoy this show. I didn’t even bother to get the RFID band.

Aurie and I elbowed our way to our spot just as the band was performing “Welcome to the Jungle.” Despite not having any drinks, some members of the GNR staff were kind enough to pass drinks to the people in the front because they can see that it would be difficult for us to go to the bar and grab a drink without missing half the show.

There has been enough drama in this post but I would have to tell you that I was so overwhelmed to be there. I got all chocked up and teary-eyed as soon as I settled into my spot in front of the stage. The waterworks completely broke lose with “November Rain.”

I completely lost it when they performed “Patience” in the encore because it wasn’t in the set list in most of the other cities in the tour (I literally Googled). It’s my all-time favorite song and I thought the closest thing I could ever get to hearing Axl perform it LIVE was that one time my friend Ely attempted to sing it for me after I said how much the song meant to me. (If you read this E, I will never forget that.)

The guys were a little worse for wear. We all show the signs of wear and tear from the past couple of decades since they were all together on stage. However, as I stood there, Axl Rose transformed back into the silky-haired blondie that I fell in love with all those years ago. Their skills were still there, perhaps even better now with a little hint of maturity.

It was a well-rehearsed show. They started on time. There were no rowdy antics on stage. The guys have grown up. They gave us the show that we deserved. One that is enough to cover a lifetime.

What touched me most was the sincerity in the way Axl thanked the fans for being there. It was almost as if he himself could not believe how much love was being thrown their way. they clearly know that these people went through a lot and waited a long time to see them. They truly gave back and performed with everything that they’ve got.

I hope you enjoyed the photos that I took from the show. I didn’t take too many. I put my phone away for most of the songs so I could appreciate them. Aurie and I managed to snap a few good ones. Special thanks to my friend Stephen for helping out with post processing.

I also want to give a shout out to my neighbor Don-Don Razon. We grew up in the same neighborhood and I know that he was also a big fan. He has sinced moved to Australia. I know from his Facebook posts that he wanted to catch the show in Australia. However, he passed away just months before the tour made its way down under. I bought tickets just days after I learned of his passing. I wanted to experience it in my lifetime, and it was a stark reminder that others were not so lucky. So, in a way, this is is for those like you Don.

Band members present:

Axl Rose – lead vocals, piano
Slash – lead guitar
Duff McKagan – bass, backing vocals
Dizzy Reed – keyboards, piano, backing vocals, percussion
Richard Fortus – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Frank Ferrer – drums, percussion
Melissa Reese – keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals, percussion

Full Setlist:

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 cover)
9. Rocket Queen
10. You Could Be Mine
11. New Rose
(The Damned cover) (with “You Can’t Put Your Arms… more )
12. This I Love
13. Civil War
(with “Voodoo Child” outro)
14. Coma
(with band introductions)
15. Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather)
(Nino Rota cover) (instrumental, Slash guitar solo)
16. Sweet Child O’ Mine
17. Yesterdays
18. Out Ta Get Me
19: Wish You Were Here
(Pink Floyd cover) (Slash & Richard Fortus guitar duet)
20. November Rain
(“Layla” piano intro with Axl… more )
21. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
(Bob Dylan cover)
22. Nightrain


23. Sorry
24. Patience
(“Wild Horses” intro)
25. The Seeker
(The Who cover)
26. Paradise City