The resurgence of hard rock: Guns n’ Roses, The Pretenders and The Darkness make history at BST Hyde Park

Guns N’ Roses, the legendary US rock band, graced the stage at BST Hyde Park on 30 June, 2023, and it was an experience that transcended all expectations. As someone whose life has been sound-tracked by their music, a night in their presence was nothing short of magical. From the very first chord to the last note, Guns N’ Roses delivered an unforgettable three-hour performance that left myself and the audience in awe.

Guns N' Roses, the legendary US rock band, graced the stage at BST Hyde Park on June 30, 2023

One of the most remarkable aspects of the evening was the band’s generosity towards their fans. They wasted no time in idle chatter or storytelling, diving straight into their music and playing non-stop hits. The iconic riffs of Slash reverberated through the park, electrifying the atmosphere and stirring the souls of everyone present. Their dedication to their craft was evident in every moment, as they poured their hearts and souls into each performance.

The pacing of the concert was masterful, ensuring that there was never a dull moment. They expertly balanced their repertoire, seamlessly transitioning from one song to the next, keeping the audience engaged and entranced. Time seemed to fly by in an instant, despite the fact that we had already enjoyed three hours of incredible rock from The Pretenders and The Darkness earlier in the evening.

As a music enthusiast who has attended most concerts at BST Hyde Park over the years, including those by the likes of the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, and Roger Waters (aka Pink Floyd), I can confidently say that this gig ranks amongst my top five live performances of all time. Guns N’ Roses’ energy, passion, and stage presence were unparalleled, cementing their status as one of the greatest rock bands in history.

The atmosphere at BST Hyde Park was electric. Surrounded by a crowd of 65,000 fans, the energy was palpable as the band took the stage. It was heartwarming to see such a diverse audience, from die-hard fans who had followed Guns N’ Roses since their early days to teenagers who had recently discovered their music possibly through Netflix series ‘Stranger Things’ – I saw kids wearing the show’s shirts while walking around. The event was even family-friendly, with teenagers rocking out alongside parents pushing babies in prams.

From the moment Guns N’ Roses kicked off their set with the classic “It’s So Easy,” the crowd erupted with excitement. The band effortlessly delivered a mix of old and new hits, including fan favourites like “Welcome To The Jungle,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and “November Rain.” Each song felt like a time machine, transporting us back to the moments when we first heard them and evoking a flood of emotions.

Axl Rose, the enigmatic frontman, interacted with the audience throughout the night. His larger-than-life presence commanded attention, and his voice soared through the park, delivering the lyrics with raw intensity. At one point, he looked out at the crowd and exclaimed, “You all looking f****** great.” It was a testament to the connection between the band and their fans, a shared love for music that transcends boundaries.

Guns N’ Roses didn’t shy away from paying homage to their musical influences. They flawlessly covered songs like “Live and Let Die” by Wings, “T.V. Eye” by The Stooges, and “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan. Each cover was infused with their unique energy, making it their own while still paying respect to the original artists.

As the night wore on and darkness descended upon Hyde Park, Guns N’ Roses delivered the climactic moments that everyone had been waiting for. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “November Rain” echoed through the park, evoking a sense of nostalgia and unity amongst the crowd. The air was filled with emotion as thousands of voices sang along, lost in the music and the memories it evoked.

After three full hours of non-stop rock, Guns N’ Roses closed their set with “Nighttrain,” “Don’t Cry,” and the iconic “Paradise City.” The crowd erupted into a frenzy of applause, knowing that they had just witnessed something truly special. It was a night that would be etched in their memories forever.

Not to be overlooked, The Pretenders delivered a powerful supporting set that raised the bar even higher. Chrissie Hynde and the band exuded a magnetic energy as they played hits like “Talk of The Town” and “I’ll Stand By You.” Their stage presence was captivating, and their performance left a lasting impression. It’s a shame that they did not performed ‘Brass in Pocket’, though, which is one of my favourite songs in their big repertoire.

Earlier in the afternoon, The Darkness took the stage and unleashed a wave of rock energy upon the audience. Justin Hawkins, the frontman, engaged with the crowd, showcasing his trademark charisma. Their set was filled with crowd favourites like “Growing On Me” and “I Believe In A Thing Called Love,” leaving the audience craving more. He announced an imminent tour which was positively received.

The entire day at BST Hyde Park was a testament to the power of live music. The atmosphere was electric, the performances were breathtaking, and the memories created will last a lifetime. As a Londoner, I consider myself fortunate to have such a fantastic music festival in the heart of the city. Who needs to go to Glasto! BST Hyde Park has become my favourite attraction during my favourite season, the summer, a place where I can enjoy world-class music while feeling well-rested after a comfortable night’s sleep in my own bed.

Guns N’ Roses’ gig at Hyde Park on June 30, 2023, was a true rock ‘n’ roll spectacle. It was a night of pure magic, where the timeless music of the band became a time machine, transporting us through memories and emotions. Their generosity towards their fans, the electrifying atmosphere, and the outstanding performances by The Pretenders and The Darkness all contributed to an unforgettable experience. As I left the park with a few tears of joy running down my cheeks, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for being a part of such a remarkable night of rock music.

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