Las Vegas will apparently “never be the same,” now that Guns N’ Roses has been booked for its first ever residency, Appetite for Democracy, this fall at Sin City’s The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Lock up yer womens! Or at least your security guards. Axl Rose allegedly bites them.
Guns N’ Roses 2.1 – meaning Rose with an assortment of musicians, including DJ Ashba, Bumblefoot and former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson – will play 12 dates at the 4,000-capacity venue starting Wednesday, Oct. 31, through Saturday, Nov. 24.
A statement on the Hard Rock website says the show will be a one-of-a-kind music experience. The setlist is made up of the band’s biggest hits, from their 1987 debut album, Appetite for Destruction, through to the 17-years-in-the-making Chinese Democracy, released in 2008 (not that GNR has actually had a “hit” since 1992).
Interesting. Vegas is more commonly associated with the schmaltz of Celine Dion or Barry Manilow, or the Harlequin-esque kitsch of Cirque du Soleil. Rock residencies are a fairly new thing to the city. Mötley Crüe became the first hard rock band to hold one when the band played 12 shows in February. Prior to that, Santana, Elton John and Rod Stewart have also had them. But when you think Vegas, you think Cher, Tom Jones and Bette Midler.
Times are changing, and it only makes sense for a city known for its constant reinvention to start catering to the aging metalhead. Rose himself, after all, is already 50 years old. Why keep flying around the world when you can stay in one place, and the audience will come to you? Tickets for all 12 shows went on sale Friday, and prices range from $45 to $110 US. The band sold out two shows at The Joint this past New Year’s eve; if sales near that for this 12-show residency, even with tickets all sold at the lowest price the band would make more than $2 million US in less than a month.
Over at Ceasars Palace, Celine Dion has perfected the Vegas run. CBS reported that the Montrealer celebrated her 100th show of her current run this month, and has performed at Ceasars Palace more than 800 times in half a decade. Dion’s return to Las Vegas, at the end of this year, will see her perform December through March, with tickets ranging from $55 to $250.
Though this Guns N’ Roses residency doesn’t compare to Dion’s marathon, it seems hard to believe that the notoriously volatile and tardy Rose will play 12 shows and be on time for each of them. But, pffft. He thinks he’s badass? If there’s any truth to rumour, historical Vegas mainstays Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack were made of way harder stuff. They just had classier suits. Still, I bet there’s a clause in the contract.
Mötley Crüe reportedly sold out their run, and the band has been asked back for another. At the time, Vince Neil told Rolling Stone, "I think it really opens the doors for the casino owners and managers to say, 'Wow, this really works and this could be something.’ And they can get in some other way cool bands and start doing the residencies also. So it’s going to open a lot of doors for bands in this city."
Maybe Vegas will become a rock town. It would change the vibe. One can easily see Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Black Sabbath following suit – even if it’s not clear whether an audience of 4,000 will show up each night. I’d totally see Maiden if we were in Vegas at the same time, but it does remain to be seen whether there are enough rock fans travelling to the city to sustain the shows. Well, that and whether Axl Rose will show up on time, which should be easier if he’s already in the city.
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