Axl’s masterpiece is revealed in its purest form
It’s actually still quite mindblowing, given the level of hate that seemed to exist between Axl Rose and Slash (mostly from the former directed toward the latter, it must be said), that Guns N’ Roses have managed to reform, and actually stay together for a tour - dubbed, appropriately, ‘Not in this Lifetime’ - that has lasted for over two years and shows no sign of stopping.
Of course, a quick look at the estimated revenues - currently $450m and counting - as well as the number of people they’ve played in front of - 4.5m and counting - shows you just how much people have responded to the reformation, and who could blame Axl and Slash for putting aside differences in order to play to a load of adoring fans, and also pocket an unfathomable amount of cash at the same time?
When any reformations happen, though, the record labels are never far begin and thus the reissue of 1987’s classic debut Appetite for Destruction has duly arrived, coming in a range of formats, including the super-mega-ginormo five disc, seven LP, seven 7” version, 96-page hand-bound photograph, replica memorabilia edition, which includes a frankly ludicrous 73 tracks, 49 of them previously unreleased.
It’s released today (29 June) and it includes one extremely notable new recording: the full, unadulterated ten minute long version of Axl’s masterpiece ‘November Rain’, which was recorded in 1986.
It’s an intriguing look at a song which was recorded, at Sound City studios in Las Vegas, before the band found fame, and wasn’t included on Appetite, instead being held back for 1991’s Use Your Illusion I (released on the same day as II).
You can listen below:
It’s pretty remarkable that Axl basically had this all planned out, way before their dreams of stadium tours and endless recording budgets came true - of course, the epic orchestration and Slash’s legendary guitars solos are missing from this version, but you just know that Rose had them in his head already; he just had to wait for the public to catch up with him and give him the budget to do it.
Slash has previously written in his autobiography than an 18 minute long version was recorded at a session with guitarist Manny Charlton (of rock band Nazareth) in 1986, before the recording sessions for Appetite for Destruction began - we’d love to hear that one at some point too.
Let’s remind ourselves of the majesty of the final version shall we?
Oh, and you also need to watch this incredible version of the track, performed live at the 1992 MTV VMAs.
Axl & Elton on double piano? Check
Full orchestra? Check
Elton in leopardprint shorts? Check
Slash on the piano for the solo? Check
Backing singer playing the flute? Check
Drums on a riser about 50ft above everyone else? Check
Axl drinking from a goblet? Check
Backing singers also playing brass? Check
Doing a radio edit for TV? NO WAY
Full length then? Check
This is how you play live isn’t it?