Last year, the inaugural edition of Desert Trip took place in October at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA, featuring The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters, and The Who.
Led Zeppelin previously reunited back in December 2007 to rock London’s O2 Arena, once again for a one-off thing. Stay tuned.
When Guns N’ Roses announced that Chris Stapleton would be opening the Nashville stop of their Not in This Lifetime reunion tour, it appeared to be the unlikeliest of pairings. Last night onstage at Nissan Stadium, Stapleton himself admitted as much.
“When I was a kid, if you’d have told me I’d be up here playing before Guns N’ Roses, I’d have called you a liar,” said the singer, taking a breather after unleashing guitar fireworks during a blistering “Outlaw State of Mind.” That performance and “Might As Well Get Stoned” in particular illustrated how simpatico the connection between the rock & roll outlaws and the against-the-grain country singer really is. During “Stoned,” Stapleton let loose the blues-country equivalent of Axl Rose’s air-raid siren wail, while steel great Robby Turner played his guitar-hero foil, tilting his instrument precariously forward on its front legs. Stapleton, looking over at Turner, beamed. It was a moment of spontaneous emotion and theatrics, perfectly suited for a stadium stage and a Guns N’ Roses crowd that not only welcomed Stapleton, but, on the main floor, stood on their feet for the duration of his eight-song set.
Even with Stapleton playing before a hometown crowd, his supporting slot could have gone either way — falling on deaf, disinterested ears of fans with only the reunited Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan on their minds. As it was, inspired by the warm response, Stapleton gave arguably his performance of the year. He and his band, including vocalist wife Morgane, who worked in a few dramatic rock & roll hair flips of her own, were making their second appearance at the football stadium in a month’s time, having played CMA Music Festival in June. But while that set felt constipated by a short 25-minute time limit, Stapleton’s pre-Guns show had room to breathe.
Dressed in a sweat-soaked black shirt and his usual crumpled cowboy hat — which recalled the one Rose wore during Guns N’ Roses’ notorious 1990 Farm Aid performance — Stapleton was at ease, working his way through tracks off his heralded debut album Traveller. A marvelous “Fire Away” was made all the more mesmerizing with the Tennessee sun setting behind him. At one point, Stapleton ceded the spotlight to Morgane to sing “You Are My Sunshine,” surely marking the first time in history that the traditional folk song was heard on a Guns N’ Roses tour.
By the time he wrapped with “Tennessee Whiskey,” and Stapleton’s sung band introductions — which are quickly becoming as much of a can’t-miss as any proper song — he had nailed the support act’s job of priming the crowd. But he also pulled off something unexpected: shining a light on the inherent overlap between the Guns N’ Roses fan base and his own. Because if the 38-year-old Stapleton, a dyed-in-the-wool country boy from Kentucky, was listening to Appetite for Destruction in his formative years — and being fortunate enough to live out his rock-star dreams onstage on Saturday night — it’s easy to bet his same-aged fans were too.
For their part, Guns N’ Roses nodded here and there at their Nashville environs since arriving in Music City earlier this week. Slash joined Brad Whitford and Derek St. Holmes onstage for a gig at local club Exit/In on Thursday, while McKagan bopped his way through the honky-tonk district, becoming a fan of local country singer John Stone in the process. At Nissan Stadium, Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison played over the P.A., as an opening graphics montage flashed a neon country-and-western themed horseshoe and guitar logo. And, in one of his numerous costume changes, Rose himself went full-on cowboy, donning a hat and fringed jacket for the call-and-response centerpiece of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”
Review: The chatty pop queen talks and sings a great show, the first of two in St. Paul to kick off her North American tour.
She had us at hello.
“Hello” was the first word Adele sang Tuesday night at sold-out Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
She delivered it as an alluring cocktail of apprehension, melancholy, apology and hope.
The booming rendering of that one word — from her hit “Hello” — sums up the way Adele has gripped pop music lovers for the past five years with a big, luxurious but not over-the-top voice that mixes vulnerability with resilience, that comforts us during heartbreak and encourages us to press on.
Adele could have had us all with just that wondrous voice. But what elevates Adele above the Beyoncés, Taylor Swifts and Katy Perrys is her personality. She yaks and yaks like your tell-all BFF who just returned from a long vacation. She’s spontaneous, confessional, witty, potty-mouthed, self-deprecating and adorably charming.
More than any other major pop star, Adele, 28, keeps it real. There’s nothing false about her in concert except for her fingernails and eyelashes. If her songs reveal a love life of misery, her conversation celebrates a life full of mirth.
On Tuesday, Adele chronicled all her adventures thus far in the Twin Cities, where she is opening her North American tour for two nights. There was her first-ever Fourth of July parade, a trip to Mall of America and a Ferris wheel ride, a chicken-and-doughnut at the Hi-Lo Diner, a meal at the 112 Eatery, nonstop baseball games across from her hotel. “Any recommendations for tomorrow?” she asked.
Approachable doesn’t begin to describe her relationship with her fans. She gets downright cozy. One woman who claimed to be from Adele’s hometown of Tottenham, England, handed the singer a Tottenham Spurs scarf. Adele called two brothers and a sister onstage because she liked how they danced. They in turn asked if their parents and little brother could join them — all for selfies with the star.
Adele got the entire arena to sing “Happy Birthday” to an audience member named Daniel, and she spent five minutes strolling around a satellite stage posing for photos with her playful mug.
Clearly aware of where she was, Adele said had intended to drop “Make You Feel My Love” from her song list but because she was in Bob Dylan’s home state she’d do the one cover in her set, pointing out how “this song broke my heart and fixed it at the same time.”
She acknowledged Prince before her encore by playing the video of his “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” on big screens. She admitted that she thought the song lyrics were about sex and fetishes before it develops into the most beautiful of love songs. Someone on her staff suggested she edit the song. Said Adele: “We can’t edit Prince in his own hometown.”
Her conversation almost seemed the equivalent of a Rolling Stone interview. One reveal was that she wrote an entire album about her son Angelo, now 3, that she scrapped before writing and recording the material for “25,” the bestselling album of the past year. She also confirmed that she isn’t married and demurely and flirtingly said she’s waiting for Angelo’s dad to ask.
All the merriment of reality belies the heartache in her music, which, of course, is real — and a few relationships ago. Adele pleaded like Janis Joplin to prove her worthiness in “One and Only.” On “Don’t You Remember,” a summons for her lover to come back, she walked the line between a country plaint and a soul shout. On the syncopated, Paul Simon-like “Send My Love (To Your New Lover),” she proved that no one does a kiss-off pop song like Adele.
After 135 minutes with her, all 15,000 of us wanted to be Adele’s bestie and say “hello” over coffee. How ’bout tomorrow?