Tearing It Up
Guns N’ Roses’ Hard Rock Hotel residency keeps the intensity high
Aside from lead singer and band co-founder Axl Rose, keyboardist Dizzy Reed is the longest-serving current member of Guns N’ Roses, having joined the band in 1990 just before the recording of the Use Your Illusion albums. Reed returns to Vegas along with his bandmates for Guns N’ Roses’ second mini-residency at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, dubbed An Evening of Destruction. No Trickery! Why come back to town?
“I’m pretty sure it’s because the last one was so much fun, and all the people at the Hard Rock were so great to us, and the city was great to us,” Reed says. The dirty rock ’n’ roll sound of Guns N’ Roses is also perfect for the Hard Rock Hotel and for Las Vegas, and fits seamlessly with the other iconic rockers (Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard) that the venue has booked for mini-residencies.
“Obviously we’re going to play the classics, and we’re going to do some Chinese Democracy stuff,” Reed says of the band’s plans for the set list. “I think we have a few more little surprises up our sleeves as well.” Those classics include hits like “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Paradise City” and “November Rain” (which last time featured Rose on a piano that flew over the audience), and they fit well with songs from the band’s 2008 comeback album Chinese Democracy, which was legendarily delayed but greeted with enthusiasm by fans when it finally arrived.
As for those potential surprise songs, Reed is less forthcoming. “They’re there, and when (Rose) calls it out, we play it,” he says.“It’s always a possibility.” Also a possibility are special guest appearances from former GNR members like guitarist Izzy Stradlin, who showed up for a few performances during the band’s last Vegas residency in 2012, or bassist Duff McKagan, who recently reunited with the group for several shows in South America when current bassist Tommy Stinson was off playing shows with his own reunited band, The Replacements. “The most important thing is it was a big treat for the fans that got to see that,” Reed says of playing with McKagan. As for the likelihood of guests during this run of shows, “Izzy kind of drops in when he feels like it, so that’s always a possibility,” he says.
Even without special guests or surprise additions to the set list, the GNR show at The Joint should be a treat for fans, with shows typically lasting nearly three hours last time around. Rose’s voice sounds as powerful as it did when GNR’s debut album Appetite for Destruction was released in 1987, and the current version of the band includes three powerhouse guitar players (Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, DJ Ashba and Richard Fortus) alongside Rose, Reed, Stinson, keyboardist Chris Pitman and drummer Frank Ferrer.
They’re in Vegas for just nine shows, so catch them while you can, since Reed doubts a long-term residency is in the cards. “I think with Guns N’ Roses, our calling goes worldwide,” he says, “and possibly universal.”
The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel, 11:45 p.m. May 25 & 31, 9 p.m. May 28 & June 4, 10 p.m. May 30 & June 6-7, starting at $49.50 plus tax and fee. 888.929.7849