Guns n Roses Live in Dubai
One of the things I have always wanted to do was to watch a good mass scale concert. The opportunity presented itself when I saw a Guns n Roses concert advertised in Dubai. I grew up listening to November Rain and watching that epic video. And of course the Sweet Child o Mine, Paradise City and Knockin on Heaven’s Door are numbers that are close to home and heart.
So I purchased two tickets online on a whim and made plans to head to Dubai. Problem with concerts like this is that going on your own is really not an option coz the experience is always better with people you know and who can relate. So instead of hoping a jing bang would get their act together, I convinced a friend to join me and we made plans. Subsequently another friend wanted to join and so we had 3 girls on a trip to check out a rock concert of one of our childhood rock bands.
It was March 2017, and the concert was at the Autism Rocks Arena in Dubai. The tour was Not in this Lifetime (what a cool phrase) and so we headed to Dubai 2 nights prior. The day of the show – the ticket told us to be there by 6pm and we headed out into the endless sands of Dubai and into this massive Arena in the middle of nowhere. The concert was outdoors and we had bought tickets with a good vantage point.
The show would start much later but I guess they wanted people in early for crowd control. The good thing about heading to a place like that early is that there is lots to do. There was a zipline which was a bit too pricy and yours truly was in a dress so it wasn’t worth trying or flashing. There were food and beer stalls and merchandise on sale. Unfortunately we didn’t head to the merchandise stall – we thought we would go there after the show only to discover that all the merch was over. Eek. Lesson – never go to buy merchandise after a gig. Anyhoo we managed to hog a good spot near the railing and took it in turns to keep our spot there.
A cool highlight was Mr. Jack Daniels. A dude with JD branding carrying a pump like gadget that pumped out Jack Daniels and coke. He had an ice bucket in the folds of his clothes somewhere and he gave out the juice in a branded plastic cup (which I still have). He had a flag on an antenna I guess for easy spotting and I got him to pose with the horns. Lol.
So having satiated ourselves with beer , JD and some food (I also managed to smuggle in an arrack CBP coz they don’t allow food in but I did and so wacked that too) and then we proceeded to wait. There was some opening band that I can’t really remember and once you watch a Guns n Roses you will understand why. They had very cool graphics running on the massive LED screens and we kinda watched these for a while.
So in between the opening band and GNR we befriended a lone Iranian guy who was very cool and we were chatting about Iran, its history and the extremism etc. It was a damn good conversation at a very interesting location.
So after hanging around from 6pm to about 9pm, GNR finally made its appearance. They claimed they had got lost in the desert somewhere but boy from the word go, they were on fire. Axl has put on weight but he kept running across that massive stage and effortlessly hitting those high notes. But the highlight for me was Slash. The bad boy of GNR with his signature curls, shades and hat and that guitar playing. Woohoo! It was a musical orgasm and you could see that his years as a solo artist had really improved his fingerwork and playing overall. His signature Godfather tune was wonderful and so evocative. It really brought goosebumps and a haunting sense of nostalgia.
November Rain was just fabulously epic on another level and all the old favourites were just on fire. We were jumping, singing, clapping and just having a friggin awesome time.
They performed non stop for 3 hours. That’s right. 50+ and these guys were on fire for 3 hours. Playing, stomping, jumping and just giving their all. Bands these days can’t hold a 2 hour performance like that. Duff the bassist was on fire too and so was Adler on drums and Melissa on keyboards. She was bobbing like a bouncing ball throughout the performance. Man, what a night.
Of course the icing on the cake was that we had to wait another 2 hours from midnight, freezing in the desert along with the 30,000+ others who were slowing seeping out of the arena. Because there were so many people we finally called a taxi from the hotel to come pick us and headed back.
We collapsed into bed and slept till late the next day, glad that we had made the trek to Dubai to witness an epic performance by a legendary rock band.