Guitar solo ‘Hatikva’ a highlight as Guns N’ Roses returns to TA

19 years after last visit, hard rock band plays songs from its long catalog for 10,000 fans

Axl Rose performs in Caracas in 2010. (photo credit: CC-BY Ed Vill, Wikipedia)
Axl Rose performs in Caracas in 2010. (photo credit: CC-BY Ed Vill, Wikipedia)

Welcome to the jungle. Or at least the villa in the jungle. After 19 years, and a bit of a lineup change, 80s hard rock sensation Guns N’ Roses were back in Israel Tuesday night.

The band played before an estimated 10,000 fans at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv.  “I’m pleased to be here again,” Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose told the Israeli news site Mako.

Lead guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal gave a solo rendition of Israel’s national anthem “Hatikva” (The Hope) to the shaky accompaniment of the crowd.

The musicians are staying in the royal suite at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv, the same suite where Madonna stayed with her family during her visit earlier this summer. According to Israeli media reports, Rose, who recently celebrated his 50th birthday, had an extensive list of requests, including a private gym to be built in his suite, nine rooms with scented soaps, the best masseuse and chiropractor in Israel and a bouquet of six red roses and six white roses for every room.

The Israel stop is an extension of the band’s 2012 European tour, with this concert marking its first visit to Israel since 1993. Indeed, it is almost a completely different group that took the stage this time around: Rose and keyboardist Dizzy Reed are the only bandmates left from the band’s legendary “Use Your Illusion” Tour.

Amir Asias, a social media and Internet marketing consultant living in Oranit, was 19 when the band was last in Israel.

“It was a great show,” he said. “It was a big thing getting Guns N’ Roses to play here in Tel Aviv while they were still hot — it was still unusual in those days. They had a big couch on stage and had a pizza on the table — it was funny. They played ‘Patience’ and ‘Dead Flowers’ by the Rolling Stones. Axl changed T-shirts; he came out with a Magen David and “GUNS N’ MOSES” T-shirt.”

Fans were rewarded with a mix of old favorites and newer hits. The band was still coming off of its induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame three months ago. The honor was accepted along with the group’s former Jewish drummer, Cleveland native Steven Adler.

This summer of music kicked off with a performance by pop icon Madonna. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Morrissey and Lenny Kravitz will be playing later this season.

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