ACL Live Review: Guns N' Roses

Epic, handstand flashback to the sleeze rock Eighties

“Do you even fucking hear what I'm saying?” W. Axl Rose shouted early during Guns N’ Roses’ headlining, two-and-a-half-hour fusillade Friday night at Zilker Park.

Axl Rose (l) and Slash, 10.5.19 (Photo by Gary Miller)

The definitive sleaze rock band of the Eighties suffered a sound mix that at times sounded like it was all coming from the American Express stage's monitors and not the mains. This did not diminish their granite-hard rock & roll. Maybe it even muted Rose’s screech at times.

But yes, we heard you, Axl. You, Duff McKagan, Slash, and the others delivered two Appetite for Destruction killers at the get-go, “It's So Easy” and “Mr. Brownstone.” Of course you had to throw “Chinese Democracy” in right after.

No biggie. “Welcome to the Jungle” obliterated that immediately thereafter. And there were very few misses, but some definite surprises. Velvet Revolver's “Slither”?!

Slash gave a few extended lessons in fluid execution of the pentatonic scale, quoting Funkadelic's “Maggot Brain” at one point. He also revealed a significant Carlos Santana influence never readily apparent previously. Rose, meanwhile, changed shirts and hats five times, at one point sporting an Alamo Drafthouse tee.

Early Gunners live set staple “Shadow of Your Love” rocked like murder before unreconstructed punk McKagan stepped to the mic for a two-song Johnny Thunders/Misfits medley. The set’s closing proved GNR boasts more money shots than most acts count decent songs: “November Rain,” a “Sweet Child O’ Mine” that prompted every cellphone into the air, and a “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” whose every solo sounded like Slash quoting April Wine’s “Just Between You & Me.”

Encore “Paradise City” still ringing, Rose gleefully tossed his mic into the third row. The entire cast returned for a bow, with the frontman grinning widely. Slash tossed all his guitar picks to the audience for a whole minute, then exited with a handstand.

Guns N' Roses

Friday, Oct. 4, 7:30pm, American Express stage

Check out our daily ACL coverage with previews, reviews, interviews, photos, and more.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Guns N' Roses
Guns n' Roses’ Texas-Sized Reunion
Guns n' Roses’ Texas-Sized Reunion
You know where you are? You’re in Jerry World baby. You’re gonna die!

Kevin Curtin, Aug. 5, 2016

More by Tim Stegall
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Girl Ultra, Nori with strings, Maxo Kream, Mudhoney, Little Mazarn, and more recommended shows

May 13, 2022

Patti Smith: “I don’t claim to be a progenitor of any particular movement – I just did my work”
Patti Smith: “I don’t claim to be a progenitor of any particular movement – I just did my work”
Ever-evolving singer, writer, & artist communes at ACL Live Saturday

May 2, 2022


Guns N' Roses, ACL Fest 2019, Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Johnny Thunders, Misfits

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle