NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Have you ever wished you could have a rock and roll redo? You know that show you missed or if you would have arrived to the show a little early to see that opening band because they went on to become MEGA-stars?
This weekend will afford some here in New Orleans that EXTREMELY rare chance with Guns N' Roses and The Cult at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday night.
Almost 29 years ago The Cult played the Saenger Theater and at the time an unknown band out of L.A. named Guns N' Roses opened the show. The Cult were riding high off of their third album "Electric" with hits like "Love Removal Machine", "Wildflower" and "Lil Devil."
With a name like Guns N' Roses in the late 80's, they sounded as if they could be any hard rocking hair band you might want to skip coming out of L.A. at the time. We hadn't heard of them or any of their music so it was hard to judge their value as an opening act.
A bunch of us Cult fans couldn't wait to see them live and rolled downtown to the Saenger early enough to catch the opening act if we wanted to. Now nearly 30 years have passed and while my recall fades with each passing day I do remember hanging out in the lobby as the opening act began.
I walked over to the huge door leading into the theater, opened it up, heard a slab of noise from the band playing on stage and basically shut the door, thinking "ah, whatever." I never walked inside to see Guns N' Roses, missed it, all of it, not a second thought because that night It was all about The Cult.
Specifics of The Cult's performance escape me but they rocked and if my memory serves me, the band said it was the last night of their U.S. tour. What I also think I remember is some members of Guns N' Roses walked out on the stage toward the end of the show with just towels on and Ian Astbury tackled one of them trying to rip off his towel.
If that never happened, I promise I've believed that since 1987 so please forgive me!
Some months after the show I saw a video on MTV and I thought who in the heck is this? (I didn't say heck) It was "Welcome to the Jungle" by of course, Guns N' Roses.
I said to myself, "Wait, is that the band that opened up for The Cult?" That's right, I pretty much ignored one of the biggest debuts in the history of rock and roll right there in downtown New Orleans.
How cool would it have been to say 'I saw Guns N' Roses open for The Cult' before most of the world had a clue? But I couldn't. I vowed never to miss another opening act and for the most part I've stuck to it and thankfully so because I've seen some great openers that have gone on to great success.
This one though has always haunted me especially with the Gunners legendary live reputation on their way to becoming Rock and Roll Hall of Famers.
So can you go back in time? No, but a redo may be justified after all of these years.
Some who have seen GNR in their glory days, like the last time they played the dome in 1992 with Metallica, have talked about not wanting to relive what they've already experienced. Some say they are afraid Axl's voice won't hold up or that they can't dream of waiting to see how late the band will come on.
Well, a lot has changed since they broke up in the early 90's and most of it's good.
I've checked out some video of their latest concerts this summer and what I see is a tight band delivering a strong show and that sound as good if not better than their classic gigs. Also, Axl and the band are on time these days, that's right, on time! That's a definite plus for many who have aged along with GNR.
While this isn't the classic lineup, you have Axl, Slash and Duff and they're pulling out all of the hits in a two-and-a-half hour show that aims to please those shelling out big bucks for their unlikely "Not In This Lifetime" reunion tour.
Now for The Cult, they followed the '87 tour with their most successful album "Sonic Temple" before backsliding commercially over the last couple of decades.
If you followed the band all along though you would have learned artistically they have accomplished something many wish Guns N' Roses would have done, stick through the rough patches and come out on the other side stronger. I've always believed The Cult should have risen to GNR status.
Today, their body of work stands the test of time and for those who say rock isn't relevant take a listen to the last four Cult albums.
Starting with 2001's "Beyond Good and Evil", 2007's "Born Into This", 2012's "Choice of Weapon" and their latest "Hidden City", released in February, all are releases GNR would have been proud to have stayed together to create.
Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy are in very strong form these days and they shouldn't disappoint live as evidenced by this show in New York earlier this year.
As for the new album "Hidden City", it's full of inspired songwriting that finds the band mining all parts of their musical legacy.
Ian's voice is strong and continues to be one of the most distinctive and listenable in rock music.
Duffy and the rest of the band sound like they believe in what they are playing and it's time they get their due.
The Cult have incorporated a number of new songs into their sets and they fit in seamlessly, the music is relevant and they can be a force live.
It would be good to catch up with The Cult after their rain out at the Voodoo Fest last year and finally log the big and bad GNR into my concert-going bucket list. After 29 years, they team up again, while this time in inverse order, I believe it will be well worth the time travel.