GNR Week – Classic Gig ’92

Guns N Roses @ Gateshead International Stadium, June 16 1992

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?

Simon Rushworth

I’m a journalist specialising in sport and rock music. Can’t play either so I write about them instead.

9 comments

  • voodookid00@gmail.com' voodoo

    I was there (sort of) we were too poor to buy tickets unlike some posh privately educated rock reporters so we had to look over the wall, on the hill behind the toilets, left of stage with about 50 other paupers. The highlight for me was when Big Jim Martin, guitarist from faith no more came out the gates signed 2 autographs and walked back to his tour bus without anyone else even knowing who he was. Good times 🙂

  • blackeagledrums@yahoo.co.uk' Dave Pazdziorek.

    I and some friends travelled down from Aberdeen for for the weekend to be part of this brilliant gig.. Soundgarden were ace, Faith no More were EPIC.. But the the thing that we were all worried about was Warren Beaty had Stolen Axles then girfriend and Axle had gone on a rant at there concert in France before Gateshead!! We wernt sure if (a) Guns n Roses would turn up or (b) Axle would have a huge rant!!!! Fortunately it turrned out to be one of the best gigs I have ever been to, not just the gig but the friends I found in Gateshead were FANTASTIC and I felt Very at home with lovely people. I even took some stotty cake home which I loved… One Happy Scotsman…

  • madden.wayne@gmail.com' Wayne Madden

    It’s all subjective and the thing of opinion, of course, but I felt Guns N’ Roses performance in 2013 at the Metro Radio Arena was fantastic and a real personal live highlight of mine. I doubt it would have been hard to top seeing Axl at his peak and I do admit the disastrous 2002 performance at Leeds could have been so easily avoided, but their (or his) 2013 “comeback” in Newcastle was outstanding for me. With Thin Lizzy as support it was truly one of the best gigs of my life.

    Was it before or after the Gateshead gig that the band cancelled Maine Road due to Duff’s bottling?

  • iamtheumbrella@gmail.com' AJ

    I still brag about this gig almost 25 years later, Soundgarden were amazing, Faith No More were even better, singing Easy for the first time I’d heard it an Jim Martin telling everyone to sing. But watching GNR at the top of their game is still one of the best moments in music I’ve ever had. Them big inflatable monsters from the appetite for destruction cover bouncing up and down and everyone dying from third degree sun burn the next day. Awesome.

  • andr.buber@gmail.com' andrey

    I know plenty of people who wish they’d seen that show.—- I’m one of them!But do U think Generation Zero could understand us?Or are we already history?Sad but true…

  • balaam73@gmail.com' Jamie

    I was there, it was a very hot day. My two friends and me got there about 9am, sat on the grass outside the back of the stadium and got stoned and sunburnt, I think it was about 2pm we entered, hit the beer tent and about seven hours later GnR came on stage. It was so good to see them at their best, great memories.
    I can remember Duff kicking off like it was yesterday haha, it was 25 years ago….wow.

    • Paul.h1000@yahoo.co.uk' Paul. H

      >yes mate i was right in front of duff at the barrier he spat all over a few of us at the front when he was kickin off. I had a op on my hand the day before and was hangin on for dear life. Good times.

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