Guns N’ Roses Reunion Questions That Still Need Answering
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Now that we finally have official confirmation that the rumors are true and the classic Guns N’ Roses lineup is (at least partially) reuniting for some shows in 2016, it’s time to take a look at some of the bigger questions about the band’s plans that still need answers.
Who’s in this version of GNR? We know Slash and Duff McKagan are rejoining Guns frontman Axl Rose for the reunion, but the rest of the lineup remains a mystery. While we wait on official word, it’s worth noting that current drummer Frank Ferrer, longtime keyboardist Dizzy Reed and guitarist Richard Fortus all seem like pretty safe bets to be on hand when the group takes the stage at Coachella, but time has taught us not to take anything for granted where Guns N’ Roses are concerned. For some fans, it won’t truly be a reunion unless guitarist Izzy Stradlin and drummers Steven Adler and Matt Sorum are on board — and although rumors suggest Adler’s negotiating to participate in some manner, we may not know who’s showing up until the concerts start.
How long will it last? At present, the only officially confirmed shows are the pair of dates booked for at Coachella on April 16 and 23, and they could certainly end up being the only concerts this version of the band performs. But after all this time and all the buildup to the announcement — to say nothing of the hurdles everyone’s managers and lawyers doubtless had to clear simply in order to get these guys back on the stage — it would seem like a huge waste if it didn’t lead to a bigger tour. We’ve heard rumors suggesting they could head out for at least 25 dates, but again, there’s no official word.
What’s on the set list? The band members may not even have the answers to this question yet, but it’s worth considering. Fans are going to want to hear a ton of Appetite for Destruction with a healthy helping of Use Your Illusion, but given how steadfastly Rose has argued in support of the band’s later lineups, he may very well want to include a song or two from Chinese Democracy, and who’s to say Slash and McKagan won’t want to play something from one of their solo records — or even a Velvet Revolver number?
What comes next? We’ve seen other estranged groups get back together for a tour and nothing more, and this GNR reunion could end up existing only on the stage — even then, it’d go down as one of the most unlikely second acts in rock ‘n’ roll history. But fans are greedy, and now that we know at least some of the classic lineup is at least willing to play together, we can’t help wondering whether this rapprochement will lead to new music. Rumors suggest they could cut a couple of new songs for a best-of collection, which would be fine if somewhat anticlimactic; better yet would be a full LP, even if it uses a patchwork of GNR alums past and present.
When will the other guys comment? You just know there are a thousand fascinating stories that have already unfolded behind the scenes of this reunion, and we haven’t even heard one note out of the guys. Once the ball really gets rolling, we can presumably expect to hear some of those details — especially from any ex-GNR members who end up being excluded. While Stradlin eschews social media and seems content to do his talking through the occasional new release, we know he’s been working with McKagan. Adler has been one of the most vocal proponents for a reunion, and if he’s left out, the subject is bound to come up in interviews. Gilby Clarke can presumably also expect to be prodded for his thoughts.
Will the shows start on time? Rose’s well-documented problems with punctuality have already inspired at least one GNR reunion joke. But festivals like Coachella have pretty strict rules, and the crowd will have been standing in the desert since early in the day — and for the record, the last two times we caught dates on the Chinese Democracy tour, the show started right on time.
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