5) Queen + Paul Rodgers – Hyde Park, London (15th July 2005)
It’s not like Queen to do things by half. This concert was no exception. Having been postponed due to the London bombings a week earlier, this show became a poignant tribute to the victims of those terrible attacks. The show took place under a glorious, blue sky and a warm blanket of Summer heat; the perfect conditions for a show of epic proportions. ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ opened the two hour setlist, which featured all of Queen’s greatest hits and a few gems from Paul Rodgers’ extensive back catologue. It’s true that Paul is no Freddie, but he’s not trying to be. Rodgers’ gravily blues vocals takes the familiar Queen sound to a whole other level.
4) Paul McCartney – Millenium Stadium, Cardiff (26th June 2010)
Seeing a Beatle in the flesh is certainly surreal. Looking up at a man who belonged to that group of four lads is quite momentous. McCartney is at such a level within the music industry that he gets a standing ovation just for walking on to the stage. Quite rightly to. The man has given the world some of the most iconic and time resistant songs of all time. Where would the music industry be without Macca? Part of Paul’s ‘Up and Coming Tour’, this show is a magical mystery tour through McCartney’s work with Wings, his solo material and, of course, the music he gave to The Beatles. The show opens with the Wings classic ‘Jet’ and doesn’t stop for three whole hours! They’re all in there; from ‘Let It Be’ to ‘Live and Let Die’ and from ‘Hey Jude’ to ‘Band on the Run’. Paul McCartney delivers!
3) Duff McKagan’s Loaded – 02 Academy, Bristol (14th September 2008)
It doesn’t get much more intimate than this. With a crowd which is about only 150 people strong, this show could be classed as the definition of ‘up-close-and-personal’. Standing so close to the stage that you can hear the plectrums striking the strings is a totally amazing feeling. At some gigs, you have to watch the band perform through a giant screen at the side of the stage; at this show, you make eye contact with the band. The band, Loaded, are a relatively unknown unit. However, frontman Duff McKagan is what draws the crowds in, his history in Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver speaks for itself. And these histories are explored and put on display during the course of the show. A gig which leaves a ringing in your ear five days after the last song is a gig to be remembered!
2) Velvet Revolver – 02 Academy – Birmingham (23rd March 2008)
Hot and sweaty is how rock n’ roll of this calibre should be served. It should be noted that the academy in Birmingham is not a particularly large venue. And when 3000 rock fans are squeezed into every single crevice of the place; space is a luxury that you don’t have. It’s not one for people with sensitive toes, perhaps steel capped boots should’ve been handed out? When the lights dimmed, the mayhem began. A gigantic surge towards the stage saw only the fittest stay upright; the weaker members of the audience fell straight to the floor. Velvet Revolver is a band that know how to do rock n’ roll better than any of their peers. From the opening chord to the last crash cymbal, the volume was constantly set at eleven. This was not a gig for the faint hearted!
1) Guns N’ Roses – LG Arena – Birmingham (17th October 2010)
It’s ironic that Guns N’ Roses have a song called ‘Patience’…because that’s exactly what you need for one of their shows. The gig was advertised to start at 8.45pm, however Axl didn’t grace the crowd with his presence until way past 10pm. The more negative members of the 17,000 strong crowd took this as an opportunity to boo and chant. But when ‘holier-than-thou’ Axl Rose does take to the stage; it’s a moment you know you’ll remember. There’s something about him, perhaps it’s the whole ‘will he/won’t he’ aspect of him, but whatever that something is; it’s something powerful. Axl takes the crowd through Guns N’ Roses’ back-catologue with total angst and aggression. His trademark scream and snake-hip dances are still as powerful as ever. With pyrotechnics that could rival Sydney’s Harbour Bridge on New Year’s Eve, the show goes off with something of a bang!