For thousands of fans of American rock band Guns N’ Roses in Jakarta, the capital became ‘Paradise City’ on Thursday evening. After their show in Mexico, the rock band delivered a three-hour mind-blowing performance during the “Not in this Lifetime” reunion tour on Thursday evening at the Bung Karno Stadium in Senayan, Central Jakarta.
It was not the first time that the Grammy-nominated band has performed in the country. In 2012, they rocked the capital, but vocalist Axl Rose was the only original member in the line-up at that time. This is why the “Not in This Lifetime” concert means the world for the group’s Indonesian fans as they witnessed the spectacular performance of guitarist Saul “Slash” Hudson and bassist Duff McKagan, joining forces with Rose and keyboardist Dizzy Reed for the first time since the “Use Your Illusion” tour in 1993.
At 8:15 p.m., Rose, who wore a black T-shirt and jeans with his iconic red headband, and pals walked straight onto the stage, playing the band’s first single, “It’s So Easy”, from their debut studio album Appetite for Destruction.The audience members directly jumped for joy and screamed.
“Hi, it’s good to be back. It’s good to see you again,” Rose greeted the crowd. After singing “Chinese Democracy”, the 56-year-old singer went straight into “Welcome to the Jungle” while the audience members sang along with him.
Rose seemed to struggle when it came to higher notes, but he successfully tackled a number of low notes. Guns N’ Roses, which stole the limelight worldwide in 1988 with its debut LP, Appetite for Destruction, belted out 24 greatest hits, including “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, the band’s only single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Hailing from Los Angeles, the band has released six albums, including its latest, Chinese Democracy, in 2008. It has received three Grammy Award nominations for Best Hard Rock performance, but has never won the coveted prize. However, it is one of the best-selling artists of all time with over 100 million records sold worldwide.
Prior to the concert, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who is well known for his love of rock music, said he planned to watch Guns N’ Roses as a fan, but he canceled the plan after attending a meeting with his presidential campaign volunteers. The group’s diehard fans had lined up from 3 p.m., mostly clad in black T-shirts with the band’s bullet logo, a pair of opposite-facing revolvers girdled by a thorny rose stem.
It seems the love toward Guns N’ Roses is generational as a number of parents attended the concert alongside their children. Toro, 47, a Jakarta resident and father, brought his son Davino, 15, to the concert. Both like to play musical instruments – Toro on the drums and Davino on the guitar – performing Guns N’ Roses covers.
“My love for the band has culminated since I listened to ‘Welcome to the Jungle’,” Toro told The Jakarta Post. During the concert, fans, who came from all over Indonesia, not only sang along with Rose, but also recorded the performance on their smartphones.
Among them was civil servant Diah Eka Rini, who went directly to the Bung Karno Stadium after completing her assignment at her office at the Public Works and Housing Ministry. She said she had loved Guns N’ Roses since she was a junior high school student in 2008, thanks to her father and older brother who liked to play the band’s songs loudly at home.
For Diah, Guns N’ Roses is still the hottest rock band on the planet, despite the rise of new rock bands. “Guns N’ Roses are living legends. They are irreplaceable,” she said.