AXL & SLASH REIGN IN SLANE
» 80,000 fans revel in mud, sweat and beers to see Guns N’ Roses » Axl Rose still reigns as showman despite downpours at comeback show » Music-lovers fly in from across the world for gig 25yrs on at iconic venue
NOT even the heavy rain could dampen the spirits of Guns N’ Roses fans at yesterday’s epic gig in Slane.
While one of their greatest hits is November Rain, revellers were drenched by May showers as they braved the wet and mucky conditions.
More than 80,000 people flocked to the sold-out concert with crowds already gathering more than seven hours before the band were scheduled to take to the stage.
Fans of the band travelled from as far away as Germany and the US to see their idols play on the grounds of the iconic Meath castle as part of their Not In This Lifetime tour. Celebrities among the crowd included Daithi O Se, Kian Egan and Kathryn Thomas as well as Conor Mcgregor’s coach John Kavanagh. The hitmakers arrived on stage at 7.30pm, kicking off their threehour concert with It’s So Easy, shortly followed by their famous single Welcome To The Jungle. Along with newer material and covers of songs by other acts, the band also wowed crowds with their smash hits Sweet Child O’ Mine, Civil War, Paradise City and November Rain. The show finished up shortly before the 10.45pm curfew, with the group playing Bob Dylan’s Knocking On Heaven’s Door and their song Nightrain.
They were supported by Otherkin, the Mark Lanegan Band and Royal Blood.
This isn’t the first time Axl Rose and his band mates have performed in Slane – the Welcome To The Jungle rockers first rocked the venue back in 1992.
Fans of the group revealed their excitement ahead of the show.
Kildare man John Lyster said he was delighted when he found out Guns N’ Roses would be playing Slane after being at their last gig here 25 years ago.
He added: “I’m very happy to be here, we
came down from Rathangan. I was here in 1992 as well, I used to be a massive fan back then and even though I haven’t listened to them much lately when it came up I said I definitely had to be here.
“At the last gig it was lovely and sunny – I actually got sunburnt. I was only 16 back then.”
Rob Walton and Vincent Vought were among the punters and revealed the show had a special significance for them.
Vince said: “It’s been 10 years since we’ve been to a gig together so this is a reunion for us.
“I live in Kinnegad but he’s come over from Reading for the show. He’s my best mate. The rain doesn’t put a dampener on it at all. Well it does, but only because my wife was right. I should have listened to her when she said it was going to rain.”
Waterford girl Lauren Keane said she was a life-long fan of Guns N’ Roses and couldn’t wait to see them in concert for the first time. She said: “I’ve been a massive fan even since I was a little baby. I’m so excited to see them today.
“I can’t wait until they perform Paradise City. I sang it at a talent show when I was six so it’s always been my favourite song.
“They rain doesn’t bother me. I’ve been to plenty of gigs when it’s been lashing but it doesn’t make a difference.”
Bernie O’sullivan and Joyce Thompson travelled from Ballymena to see the show
Bernie said: “I’m very excited for today. I’m a big Slash fan – I’ve seen him live before but never the full band together.”
Joyce added: “It’s quite scary to think of but I saw them 25 years ago in Castle Donington. If someone told me then I’d be here watching them again I’d say no way.”
Slane Castle owner Lord Henry Mountcharles missed the show due to a chest infection.
This is the first gig he has missed in the history of Slane concerts.
Speaking through a spokesman, he said: “I am obviously extremely disappointed that I can’t be there and my wish is for all of the fans to enjoy the day. I will be there in spirit.”
In the wake of the Manchester terrorist attack more than 400 gardai patrolled the event and strict security measures were put in place.
HATS THE STUFF Trio pay special tribute to Slash COVER GIRLS Pals brave wet weather in Co Meath SOAK IT ALL UP Drenched at Slane
REGAL ROCK Royal Blood
INSPIRATION Duff Mckagan at the Phil Lynott statue RIGHT AS RAIN Axl Rose and Slash on stage yesterday
FAN-TASTIC Huge crowd at concert