Guns N' Roses reunites minus Axl Rose for Hall of Fame induction
Axl Rose kept his promise to boycott Saturday’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland, but his former bandmates decided the Guns N’ Roses show must go on without him, gratefully accepting their statuettes before playing several vintage GNR songs with singer Myles Kennedy handling the vocals.
Kennedy, the singer in guitarist Slash’s current solo project and lead vocalist for Alter Bridge, stepped in to round out the lineup that also included bassist Duff McKagan, drummers Steven Adler and Matt Sorum, and guitarist Gilby Clarke in three songs from GNR’s 1987 debut album “Appetite for Destruction.”
Rose’s name drew choruses of boos and catcalls from the audience of about 7,400 at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium, where the ceremony took place. But Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong, who delivered the GNR introduction speech, shot back: “Shut up. He was the greatest frontman to ever step in front of a microphone.” He paused, then added: "But he is ... crazy. And I can vouch for that."
McKagan took a diplomatic tack to diffuse fans’ disappointment, saying, “I don’t think it matters who’s up here tonight, because this is about the songs that band created.” They offered up “Mr. Brownstone,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Paradise City” from “Appetite,” which Armstrong lauded as “the greatest debut album in rock 'n' roll history.”
It was, however, comedian Chris Rock, during his introductory speech for GNR’s fellow L.A. inductees, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who provided what perhaps was the most salient point of the evening regarding Rose.
“A lot of people are disappointed that Axl Rose isn’t here,” said Rock as the ceremony stretched toward the 1 a.m. mark for the Chili Peppers’ performance. “But let’s face it, even if he was going to be here, he still wouldn’t be here yet.”
The Chili Peppers closed the show with an all-star jam including Slash, Faces (and Rolling Stones) guitarist Ron Wood, Armstrong and the funk pioneer hailed by both bassist Flea and singer Anthony Kiedis during their acceptance remarks, George Clinton.
(For the Record: An earlier edition of this post referred to Ron Wood as "Faces (and former Rolling Stones) guitarist. He still is a member of the Rolling Stones.)
Flea, nearly in tears at the end of their extended-jam version of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” told the crowd, “I love the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
A full report on the evening, which also welcomed new Hall of Fame members the Beastie Boys, Donovan, the Small Faces and Faces, and Laura Nyro, will appear in Monday’s Calendar section.
-- Randy Lewis
Photo: Guns N' Roses members Gilby Clarke, Matt Sorum, Duff McKagan, Slash and Steven Adler attend Saturday's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Credit: Michael Locciano / Getty Images