It was a long hot day on Tyneside – and how many of those do we get? But it was also a worrying day for the thousands of North East rock fans who’d forked out £21 to see the most dangerous band in the world only to read of cancellations elsewhere in the UK and Axl’s increasingly erratic behaviour.
In fact not until the moment his royal rockness stepped on stage did any of us really believe this gig was going to happen. But it did and it would go down in history as one of the must-see shows on the magnificent Use Your Illusion world trek.
But it wasn’t all down to the mesmeric Gunners. I still own my Soundgarden T-shirt replete with all of its holes, tears and faded Superunknown imagery and as an opening act they were simply unstoppable. Little did we know that Chris Cornell and his ilk would slowly destroy the music we love as grunge grabbed the attention of media’s tastemakers and consigned good old fashioned rock and roll to history (for a while).
Anyway if Soungarden were superb then Faith No More were fantastic. This was the band we’d come to see just in case Axl’s helicopter did make a U-turn somewhere over Teesside. The hits came thick and fast, the energy burned during a high octane set could have powered Gateshead and as a warm-up act for the main men FNM were damn near perfect. We cared a lot and the band repaid our faith.
Then it happened. Axl, Slash and the gang did, indeed, deign us with their presence and what a night we had. Dipping into the Use Your Illusion records with regularity the biggest cheers were, of course, reserved for the Appetite standards we had been learning off by heart for the best part of five years.
In retrospect November Rain was the spine-tingling highlight but on the night it was impossible to look past Paradise City. Axl came to life like never before for those few minutes when the world belonged to GNR and as for Slash? The kid from the Potteries pounded our eardrums with as emotional a solo as you’ll ever hear – now, then or in the future.
It’s impossible to describe just how privileged we all felt cramming onto the Metro sometime after 11pm drained, dehydrated and dreaming of the next time. Of course that dream became a nightmare and later reincarnations of GNR (I’m thinking Leeds Festival ad Newcastle Arena) have failed to cut the mustard.
But if you were there on June 16 1992 then you don’t really care. And why should you?