Following a string of fantastic shows across the UK, Europe and Middle East, Guns N’ Roses took to the Great Oak Stage stage at American Express presents BST Hyde Park, preceded by a riotous supporting line-up including The Pretenders, The Darkness and Larkin Poe.
Band members Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Dizzy Reed, Richard Fortus, Frank Ferrer and Melissa Rees, came together in front of a 65,000-strong audience at Hyde Park dishing out track after track from their 38-year career.
Arriving on stage to their classic It’s So Easy from the 1987 LP, Appetite for Destruction, the band greeted waiting fans with a non-stop array of rock gold, a nuance of old and new, such as Welcome To The Jungle, Mr Brownstone, Double Talkin’ Jive and Patience alongside Hard Skool, Slither (Velvet Revolver) and Estranged. Civil War was transformed into an ode to Ukraine with footage of bombshelled houses playing on the screens behind the band.
“You all looking f****** great,” Axl Rose told the audience.
Proceeding with a catalogue of huge rock anthems, the band sang iconic covers including Live and Let Die (Wings), T.V. Eye (The Stooges), Down On The Farm (UK Subs) and Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan).
Then, as the night drew in, it was time for the favourites – Sweet Child O’ Mine, November Rain. Finally, after three full hours, Guns N’ Roses closed their set with Nighttrain, Don’t Cry and the iconic Paradise City.
Meanwhile, The Pretenders – who have been supporting Guns N’ Roses during their UK and European dates – raised the bar with their powerful supporting set. Second on the billing for the Great Oak Stage, Chrissie Hynde and the band played a non-stop array of hits, such as Talk of The Town and the beautiful Hymn To Her, alongside the sparkling Tattooed Love Boys and classic I’ll Stand By You.
“We are as excited as you are to see Guns N’ Roses,” Hynde grinned, before launching into the anthemic Don’t Get Me Wrong – her stage energy, as expected, fierce throughout. After over an hour, the performance ended with Mystery Achievement.
Earlier in the afternoon, Justin Hawkins led The Darkness onto the stage for an hour and 15 minutes of great rock. The British rock outfit opened with their much-loved track, Growing On Me, before pulling out the likes of Heart Explodes, Get Your Hands Off Your Woman and Love Is Only A Feeling. They even squeezed in a bar or two of Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End), before ending their electric set with the mighty I Believe In A Thing Called Love.
“Hey you guys! How’s it going?” Justin asked fans. “We have never played [Hyde Park] before!” The frontman received a roar of applause from fans when he ditched a black pinstripe jacket and black vest for his trademark topless look.
The day began on the Rainbow Stage presented by British Airways with The Dust Coda. The four-strong London-based rockers dished out tracks such as Limbo Man and songs from their Top 30 album, Mojo Skyline, including Jimmy 2 Times. They were followed by Cardiff band James & The Cold Gun – who will release their debut album on 21 July – and LA hard rockers, Dirty Honey, who have expertly opened for Axl Rose before. “Let’s get you fired up for Guns N’ Roses!” they exclaimed.
Finally, it was American rock duo, Larkin Poe, who opened the Great Oak Stage for the day. Hailing from north Georgia and now living in Nashville, sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell warmed up the earlier arrivals with an upbeat, quirky set. “What a dream come true to be on this stage and be able to say, ‘Hello Hyde Park!’,” they beamed.
A legendary day of live music on the third third day of this year's American Express presents BST Hyde Park.
Read our full review here
Photo credit: Guilherme Nunes Cunha Neto