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Flashback: Guns N’ Roses Launch Their Reunion Tour at the Troubadour

Now that we know GN’R have at least one live date in 2019, take a look back to the start of their reunion tour three years ago

The news came out this morning that Guns N’ Roses are playing Louisville’s Louder Than Life Festival in late September. It’s the first sign that GN’R’s Not in This Lifetime reunion tour didn’t wrap up at Hawaii’s Aloha Stadium in December, but was merely taking a long break. There’s no word about further dates, but it’s hard to imagine they’d go through all the trouble of getting the Guns N’ Roses machinery up and running for a lone festival appearance.

The reunion began on April 1st, 2016, when the group played a surprise show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. This was Axl Rose’s first time playing with Slash in 23 years and the demand for tickets was absolutely insane. They were distributed to a lucky few that lined up at the old Tower Records building, but the best way to get inside was to be incredibly famous. Lenny Kravitz, Chris Brown, Bradley Cooper, Nicolas Cage, Kate Hudson, Jim Carrey, Emily Ratajkowksi, Michelle Rodriguez and many others crammed into the tiny balcony. Presumably, none of them were in line for tickets with the others.

Cameras and recording devices were strictly forbidden, but nothing short of deep-cavity searches and Marines walking around with night-vision goggles and cattle prods was going to stop video from hitting YouTube later that evening. Here’s a clip from the balcony that shows a bunch of “Welcome to the Jungle” along with snippets of “It’s So Easy” and “Paradise City.”

Just a few songs into the night, Axl slipped onstage and broke his left foot. Adrenaline and incredible willpower allowed him to finish out the show, but he had to undergo surgery to repair it in the following days. The timing couldn’t have been worse since they were booked to play two Las Vegas shows the following week and then Coachella the week after that. The whole thing seemed over before it really even started, but Axl was determined to soldier on. All it took was borrowing Dave Grohl’s guitar throne from the previous year’s Foo Fighters tour and the willingness to actually sit still during some of the most high-profile gigs of his life.

By the time the tour resumed in June, Axl was back on his foot and the tour carried on for the next two-and-a-half years largely without incident across 159 shows on six continents. They hit just about every major market imaginable, but apparently they’re coming back for even more later this year. One thing they didn’t do is hit smaller cities in America that have arenas and would be thrilled to see Guns N’ Roses come to town. We’re talking about places like Dayton, Ohio, and Roanoke, Virginia. They could also simply return to the markets they already hit last tour around and probably still sell insane amounts of tickets. When you have as many huge songs as Guns N’ Roses, there’s no end to the money you can make on the road.

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