Guns N’ Roses‘ 2023 tour will kick off next month, which will make this the eighth consecutive year that the band has played shows since their reunion in 2016. During a recent interview, rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus addressed whether their setlist will change for the upcoming trek.
Aside from the two songs the band released in 2021, “Absurd” and “Hard Skool,” Guns N’ Roses haven’t released any new material since 2008’s Chinese Democracy. Thus, much of their setlist since 2016 has comprised of tracks from that album, as well as Appetite for Destruction, the Illusion albums and GN’R Lies.
So, fans often speculate on forums such as Reddit whether their upcoming shows will be any different than how they’ve been in previous years. Fortunately, Fortus is hopeful that they will be.
“Hopefully we’ll shake things up a bit and switch around songs and stuff like that. But a lot of times every night is different, ’cause we don’t have setlists,” the guitarist told St. Louis’ KSHE 95 (see the full interview below). “Axl [Rose], he’s got a button he can push that cuts off the mic from the… which, usually is used to tell jokes. He’ll just say, ‘What do you guys wanna do?’ And somebody else will say something, or he’ll say, ‘Let’s do this.'”
The rocker explained that there are typically “blocks of songs” that they’ll perform together, so if you’ve seen GN’R in recent years, you know you can expect to hear “It’s So Easy” and “Mr. Brownstone” together, as well as “Estranged” and “Rocket Queen” and so on. Plus, “Paradise City” is always their closing song, and always has been.
Though the bulk of the set has remained the same since 2016, there actually have been quite a few changes. In addition to “Absurd” and “Hard Skool,” “Shadow of Your Love,” an Appetite for Destruction b-side, has been a staple in their set since it was released as a single in 2018. They also brought out some Use Your Illusion deep cuts a few times, including “Dead Horse,” “So Fine” and “Locomotive,” as well as “You’re Crazy” from Appetite and “Reckless Life” from GN’R Lies.
They also added in a few covers over the years, including Velvet Revolver‘s “Slither,” Soundgarden‘s “Black Hole Sun” (after Chris Cornell died in 2017), Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” — which was actually written by a designer and friend of the band named Jimmy Webb, who died in 2020 — AC/DC‘s “Whole Lotta Rosie” and a few others. These, of course, were in addition to the covers they’ve been performing for decades, such as “Live and Let Die” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”
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Slash has also been saying for over a year now that they plan on releasing two more songs, which will also be reworked Chinese Democracy outtakes like “Absurd” and “Hard Skool.” Perhaps we’ll get to hear them during their upcoming shows as well.
Guns’ first 2023 show will take place June 1 in Abu Dhabi. The European leg of the tour starts a bit later in the month, and then they’ll head out on a North American run starting in August. While The Pretenders were recently announced as the opener in Europe, Fortus said that they still don’t have a supporting act set for the North American dates. In the meantime, see all of the dates and get tickets here.
Guns N’ Roses’ Richard Fortus Addresses Whether Setlist Will Change for Upcoming Tour
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Hope you got some time to get through this one.