Guns N’ Roses + Support @ British Summer Time, Hyde Park, London – Friday June 30th 2023


The British Summer Time festival at Hyde Park always attracts headliners to appeal to a broad range of musical palettes. Tonight it was the turn of the hard rock crowd with Guns N’ Roses, fresh from their headlining performance at Glastonbury the previous weekend, leading a line-up that included some up and coming names and older favorites spread across the three stages.

Photo: Dave Hogan

Roots rockers Larkin Poe had the honour of opening up the Great Oak stage and did a terrific job of getting the day off to a strong start. The Nashville based duo, comprising sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell, pulled no punches with their hard-hitting blues rockers, kicking off with ‘Strike Gold’ and immediately making an impact. Rebecca has an incredibly powerful voice, and it would be no understatement to say that she gave arguably the strongest vocal performance of the day. ‘Kick the Blues’ and ‘Summertime Sunset’ maintained the momentum, Megan’s slide guitar being a real trademark of their sound. They return to the UK for some dates in October and are well worth checking out.

Over on the Rainbow Stage The Dust Coda drew a decent crowd, the four piece being one of several up and coming bands that are signed to the Earache label. Just a week out from the release of their third album, Loco Paradise, they delivered a tight, solid set that led off with the forceful ‘Jimmy 2 Times’ and groovy ‘Limbo Man’. Tagged with the New Wave of Classic Rock label, The Dust Coda combine old school influences with a contemporary sound, high on powerful vocals and heavy riffs.

Photo: Dave Hogan

Every festival needs one band that takes it to the next level, letting everyone in the audience feel as if the day has really moved up a gear. Today that band was The Darkness, led by the irrepressible Justin Hawkins, who were on fine form from the time they bounced on stage to ‘Growing on Me’. In playful mood throughout, Hawkins even gave in to audience demands for “The Christmas Song”, treating us to the first verse and chorus of festive classic ‘Christmastime (Don’t Let the Bells End)’. With the set largely based around Permission to Land, including ‘Love is Only a Feeling’ and ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’, Justin confirmed the Darkness would return at year end to mark the albums 20th anniversary and perform it in full. ‘I Believe In a Thing Called Love’ closed out a frantic, high tempo set.


Growing on Me
Heart Explodes
Solid Gold
Love Is Only a Feeling
Japanese Prisoner of Love
Get Your Hands Off My Woman
Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)
I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Earlier this year Chrissie Hynde described the Pretenders classic hits as “tired and old”, preferring to keep the attention on her more recent material, with new album Relentless due in September. But in front of an expectant festival crowd she was content to deliver the instantly recognisable ‘Kid’, ‘Talk of the Town’ and ‘Back on the Chain Gang’, and all of them still sounded terrific. With Hynde in fine voice and guitarist James Walbourne making some telling contributions, the Pretenders made it all seem so effortless. Songs like ‘I’ll Stand By You’ and ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’ have more than stood the test of time and they remain an electrifying live band.


Losing My Sense of Taste
Turf Accountant Daddy
Time the Avenger
Talk of the Town
Middle of the Road
Hymn to Her
Back on the Chain Gang
Let the Sun Come In
Junkie Walk
Don’t Get Me Wrong
Cuban Slide
Tattooed Love Boys
I’ll Stand by You
Mystery Achievement

Photo: Guilherme Nunes Cunha Neto

Taking the stage promptly at 7.20, Guns N’ Roses launched into their lengthy set with an explosive ‘It’s So Easy’. It is fair to say that their Glastonbury performance attracted criticism in some quarters, particularly with regard to the vocals on the TV broadcast, but tonight there were no such issues, with Axl coming through strongly throughout. There were one or two moments across the three hours, notably ‘Reckless Life’ and ‘Pretty Tied Up’, where he did appear to struggle but overall he sounded in good voice.

Inevitably it was the Appetite songs that generated the greatest reaction, from the snarling ‘Mr. Brownstone’, to a frenzied ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ and party anthem ‘Rocket Queen’. When the performance did dip occasionally it was during the newer songs, ‘Absurd’ and ‘Hard Skool’, both of which struggled to make much of an impact, and similarly during UK Subs cover ‘Down on the Farm’ and Duff’s romp through the Stooges ‘T.V. Eye’. Sometimes less can be more, and you could argue that the show would benefit from some trimming back here and there. Conversely, ‘November Rain’, ‘Estranged’ and ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ provided huge, showstopping, moments that were as powerful and captivating as ever.

Slash, naturally, was in imperious form, taking solos at seemingly every opportunity. The cover of Velvet Revolver’s ‘Slither’ and ‘Civil War’ allowed him plenty of time in the spotlight, the latter leading into his long solo section before ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ sent Hyde Park into overdrive once more. Some three hours after taking the stage, as they finally closed out with fireworks, confetti and ‘Paradise City’, there could be no argument that Guns N’ Roses had delivered yet again.


It’s So Easy
Bad Obsession
Chinese Democracy
Mr. Brownstone
Welcome to the Jungle
Reckless Life
Double Talkin’ Jive
Pretty Tied Up
Hard Skool
Live and Let Die
Rocket Queen
Down on the Farm
You Could Be Mine
T.V. Eye
Anything Goes
Civil War
Slash Guitar Solo
Sweet Child o’ Mine
November Rain
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
Don’t Cry
Paradise City