How Guns N’ Roses and The Hard Rock Las Vegas made for the best 24 hours ever.
Wheels up out of Orange County, the Southwest Airlines 737 banked over the ocean on the short hop to Las Vegas’ modern McCarran International Airport. I reflected on how this last minute trip came about. A good friend of mine had done a huge favor, and over dinner the other night it came out she was a huge Guns N’ Roses (and Axl Rose) fan. She had a crush on him, really. While playing some new GNR music on YouTube, we discovered that the legendary band was scheduled to play The Joint at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas on June 3. We made the decision to go. It was a week away.
I was a big Guns N’ Roses fan when they emerged from the streets of LA. Living in SoCal, we hear about these Sunset Strip bands before the rest of the country does. Guns N’ Roses album Appetite for Destruction was nothing short of a masterpiece. Axl, Slash, Izzy, Duff and Steven Adler made songs such as “Welcome To The Jungle” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” instant classics.
We all know the story. Sadly, my opinion was that with only Axl left, it really wasn’t GNR any longer. I read that Axl didn’t show for GNR’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame induction and my opinion of him was generally low as a result. Despite that, I decided to take my friend Julie and my love Ashlee to the show at the Hard Rock in Vegas for a one-night trip to experience first-hand the Guns N’ Roses Destruction Tour at The Joint.
We arrived at the Hard Rock and check-in was easy. We made our way to our rooms in the HRH All-Suite Tower and a two-bedroom suite, decorated in contemporary black stone and tile against pure white bedding. It was sick! We got a lot of room for the price. The main room had a large modern L-shaped sofa, table, wet bar, fully stocked mini bar with an impressive selection. The main part of the suite consisted of the living room and bedroom and they were divided by a freestanding wall with large flat screen TVs on each side. This is an awesome bed is all I can say. The all white, fluffy kind. Hard to resist, really. The bathroom, too, was huge, and ultra modern boasting a very deep two-person bathtub, a huge rainfall shower with multiple jets, a seat with plenty of room for two or more, um, friends. Right honey? Honey? Everything was clean, updated and over the top fantastic.
I proceeded to spend hours between rounds of blackjack walking in the casino and admiring the mountain of rock memorabilia prominently displayed everywhere. Every great rocker or musician known to man has a signed jacket, guitar, drum kit, photo displayed throughout the casino. All the Led Zeppelin tour posters and pictures and Johnny Cash guitars were my favorites, but jaw dropping stuff for everyone. There are also plenty of restaurants including Nobu and great shopping at Affliction or John Varvatos. The Hard Rock has some of the best rock memorabilia in the world. It’s truly a rock ‘n’ roll museum and you can see why it has become my new favorite hotel in Vegas. No small honor.
The Joint is a lot like a House of Blues. Raised stage, standing room floor in front, then assigned seating, all surrounded by balconies. It’s big enough for superstar acts, but small enough that there aren’t any bad seats to be had. The entire back wall, much to my delight, was a giant bar, and servers swarmed everywhere bringing adult libations! Now, that’s Vegas.
The Guns N’ Roses crowd was quite a mix, but mostly aged 40+. Axl is now 53, ‘ya know. And Guns N’ Roses killed it in their almost three-hour show. It was a high-intensity, hugely entertaining performance with amazing music, cool light show and great pyrotechnics. Axl’s voice is still rocking and his new band mates, DJ Ashba, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, Richard Fortis and drummer Frank Ferrer are all top notch. This GNR is backed by keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman (who also sang solid background vocals). To a man, shredding musicians and put on an unforgettable show that included most of Appetite For Destruction and all the hits you’d expect. Axl also covered The Who, Zeppelin and others in tributes.
I would 100 percent buy tickets to this show again and understand my impressions of the new Guns N’ Roses were uninformed. Guns N’ Roses rocked the Hard Rock Casino with a show that rained confetti! I would definitely go back for more of both! GNR and Vegas, a match made in rock heaven.