Guns n’ Roses just launched a YouTube series
If you were told ten years ago that the best-known lineup of legendary rock band Guns n’ Roses would be coming back together to tour and make new music by the decade’s end, you’d have refused to believe it. In fact, the phrase you might have used to describe the chances of such a thing happening would be “not in this lifetime.” Never let it be said that Guns n’ Roses don’t have either a sense of humour or a sense of self-awareness. When the band did get back together and embarked on one of the music unlikely live tours in rock music history, they took that phrase and made it the tag line of the whole tour. Now in advanced middle age, Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan have put their differences aside and started working together again.
In another universe, the band would still be on tour right now, heading from North America to Europe to entertain thousands of fans at a series of sold-out stadium shows. Unfortunately, nature had other ideas. We all know why that isn’t happening, but let’s not focus on that. Let’s focus on the positives instead. If Guns n’ Roses can’t come to you, they’re happy for you to come to them via the magic of the internet. Starting this week, the band is going to start streaming gigs from the tour on YouTube, free of charge, one concert at a time. If you missed them the first time around, or the show you were planning to attend has been cancelled, this is the next best thing.
For a band who are (by their own admission) growing a little long in the tooth, Guns n’ Roses should be congratulated for consistently finding new ways to engage with their audience. This is their second digital innovation in recent years. They actually started the trend of big bands partnering with online gaming developers. The official Guns n’ Roses online game is by no mean the only one of this kind, and nor is it even the only one from the heavy metal genre, but it is the most popular. These days, even deceased artists like Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley have their own branded online games such as Facebook and Rose Slots, accompanied by a jukebox of their greatest hits. If they were still alive, they’d probably thank Axl Rose and his unlikely gang of pioneers for the inspiration.
Even if it weren’t for the announcement of the new concert series, this has been a noteworthy few weeks for the band. They might not still have the venom and swagger of their youth, but they still know how to both cause controversy and capitalise on it when it appears. American President Donald Trump was recently filmed walking around a factory while the Guns n’ Roses version of the song Live N’ Let Die played in the background. It took less than a week for the band to jump on the back of that publicity by coming up with a new t-shirt that referenced the song and mocked the President at the same time. Axl Rose has long been a vocal critic of Trump on social media, so it’s probably fair to assume that he was the man behind the idea.
Having told you that the band is starting this series of YouTube concerts, it would also make sense to tell you what you can expect from them. Instead of uploading entire shows at once, the band have put together highlights from their sets and are releasing them either as standalone songs or as clusters of songs. Given that they tend to perform for more than two hours when they take the stage, it’s easier to digest them in this format than sitting down and staring at your computer or phone screen for that amount of time. They have no shortage of material to pick from. The first video is already online and is taken from a performance in Salt Lake City, Utah, in October last year. During that gig, the band played so many of their classics that it would be easier to tell you what they left out rather than what they played, but for the sake of completion, we can confirm that Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Welcome To The Jungle, Paradise City, Sweet Child O’ Mine, and November Rain all made the cut.
While the digital concerts ought to be welcomed by the band’s entire fan base, for many fans they still won’t make up for the disappointment of not being able to see Guns n’ Roses live and in person. The band has promised to make up for that as soon as circumstances allow for it to happen. The dates that have been missed in America and Europe aren’t considered to be canceled as of the time of writing, merely postponed. The band aren’t considering calling time on their lengthy tour just yet and will be back on the road to make new dates in the same cities as soon as possible. That’s hardly surprising. The tour has been on the road since 2016, and so far has generated more than five hundred million dollars in revenue. Not all of that money goes directly to the band’s members, but it’s fair to say that none of them are likely to have any financial concerns for the rest of their lives.
Touring is just half the story when it comes to news about the band at the moment. There have been constant rumours about a new album for most of the past year, and the whispers that are coming out of the Guns n’ Roses camp at the moment suggest that the release date might be closer than most of us imagine. Songs have been written and recorded (mostly driven along by Rose), and the band has given consideration to the appropriate medium and method for the release. Now that they’ve been forced to take a break from touring, they might have the opportunity to put the final touches on their new creations and release them for the public to consume. 2020 hasn’t been a great year to be a music fan so far, but a new set of recordings from one of the greatest bands ever to take to the stage would go some way toward making up for that.
The editorial unit