Guns N’ Roses Live Surprises: Debuts and Rarities From 2023 Tour
Guns N' Roses have maintained a largely stable set list since Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan launched their three-fifths reunion tour in 2016, so it's a cause for celebration among fans whenever they shake up things.
The rockers' ongoing 2023 tour has already provided a handful of surprises in the form of album cuts that haven't been played for decades, all-new covers and a few rarely performed epics. Chinese Democracy fans have also gotten a few treats so far, with the band subbing in a few of the album's lesser-known gems.
Read on to watch 11 live debuts and rarities from Guns N' Roses' 2023 world tour.
"Bad Obsession," Use Your Illusion I (first time since 1993)
Guns N' Roses came out swinging on the first night of their 2023 tour, following up their customary show opener "It's So Easy" with a scorching rendition of Use Your Illusion I deep cut "Bad Obsession." The greasy slide guitars sounded tough as nails, and Rose sounded confident and commanding in his lower register. No Michael Monroe on harmonica, sadly, but beggars can't be choosers.
"Pretty Tied Up," Use Your Illusion II (first time since 1992)
Fans have clamored for GNR to break out "Pretty Tied Up" since they reunited in 2016, and they didn't disappoint when they finally unveiled it at their 2023 tour opener. It was another fitting opportunity for Rose to flex his lower register, while Slash and keyboardist Dizzy Reed sounded particularly fired up on the bluesy, groovy rocker.
"Down on the Farm" (U.K. Subs cover), "The Spaghetti Incident?" (first time since 2006)
Guns N' Roses have been working "The Spaghetti Incident?" covers into their sets for the past several years, usually with McKagan taking over lead vocals for the Misfits' "Attitude" or the Damned's "New Rose." This time, however, Rose is sticking to lead vocal duties for a fiery version of the U.K. Subs' "Down on the Farm." It's a welcome, high-octane change of pace, with Rose gamely applying an exaggerated British accent just like he did on the band's studio cover.
"Anything Goes," Appetite for Destruction (first time since 1988)
Guns N' Roses' earth-shattering debut is the most-represented album in their set lists, with seven to eight songs routinely appearing every night. Still, fans freaked out when they unearthed the Side B gem "Anything Goes" for the first time in 35 years. They've now played all but one Appetite song in their reunion era, with "Think About You" being the lone holdout.
"T.V. Eye" (The Stooges cover) (live debut)
McKagan still has a lead vocal spotlight on this tour, but he's swapped out some of his old favorites for a fresh cover of the Stooges' "T.V. Eye," off their sophomore album Fun House. Perhaps the bassist was inspired by his recent contributions to Iggy Pop's Every Loser and performance at the punk legend's tour kickoff in April.
"Nice Boys" (Rose Tattoo cover), G N' R Lies (first time since 2017)
Guns N' Roses have covered Rose Tattoo's "Nice Boys" only twice since reuniting: once in 2017 and once at their 2023 tour kickoff. Rose Tattoo frontman Angry Anderson joined them for the 2017 performance, making it arguably more memorable, but it still made for a rip-roaring set list addition this year.
"My Michelle," Appetite for Destruction (first time since 2017)
One of the less-represented cuts off Appetite, "My Michelle" hadn't appeared in Guns N' Roses' set lists since 2017 before their 2023 tour kickoff. It was a live staple that earlier year, with the band playing it at 65 of their 83 shows. It was also a guest star opportunity in 2016, with Sebastian Bach and former GN'R drummer Steven Adler joining the band during a handful of concerts to perform it. They've performed it only at their 2023 tour kickoff so far, but fingers crossed they keep it in semi-regular rotation this year — and maybe share the stage with other high-profile guests in the process.
"There Was a Time," Chinese Democracy (first time since 2017)
Arguably the centerpiece of Chinese Democracy, "There Was a Time" is one of the most epic and technically demanding songs in the Guns N' Roses catalog. That's probably why they've played it only a few dozen times in their entire career, including twice in 2016 and eight times in 2017. They dusted it off for the third show of their 2023 world tour in Madrid — hopefully, it won't be the last appearance this year.
"Locomotive," Use Your Illusion II
Another shape-shifting epic from the Use Your Illusion albums, "Locomotive" ranks among "Coma," "November Rain" and "Estranged" as one of Guns N' Roses' greatest long-form masterpieces. It's also a staggering technical achievement, which is why it was not played for most of their career. They delighted fans when they rolled it out at three shows in 2019, and they've played it three times so far in 2023.
"Prostitute," Chinese Democracy (first time since 2017)
The closing track on Chinese Democracy is another symphonic rock epic in the vein of "There Was a Time." Guns N' Roses played it a mere 15 times in 2017, and they've begun to work it back into their 2023 set lists. Another welcome addition for hardcore fans.
"Street of Dreams," Chinese Democracy
Many Guns N' Roses fans have acknowledged "Street of Dreams" as a Chinese Democracy highlight since it was floating around file-sharing services with its working title, "The Blues." Despite that, the band's current lineup has barely played it live. After years of anticipation, they finally played it three times in 2022, and they've played it twice on their 2023 tour so far.