Rockbrat Remembers: The 1988 Guns n Roses Australian Tour

By December of 1988, Guns n Roses were a bona-fide rock n roll monster. They had pretty much toured most of the major North American and European cities, in support of a debut album and single (Sweet Child O’Mine) which were continuing to fly off the shelves. As a disciple of all things metal, I was aware of the band just before the album was released via an article in (I think) Circus mag which said the band made Motley Crue look like choirboys. Good quote. Co-incidentally enough, the best ever rock quote I read was some year later on a Jeff Dahl tour poster which read ‘Jeff Dahl makes Guns n Roses look like the Osmonds!’. Eat that !  Anyway some months roll on and we are gathered a mate’s house who had been sent a copy of the album from the U.S. The first track he played was ‘Night Train’ and I cannot much after that. I was floored in amazement and did not need to hear anything else. Sure there was an obvious nod to our own Rosie Tatts, but it so raw, so catchy, so different sounding to anything else coming out of LA at that time. By mid-1988 the G n R juggernaut had long rolled out of small Hollywood venues and ther were now on the road supporting the big boys like Cooper, Purple and Aerosmith.The Gig Lizard tells the tale that when he was walking through Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall in the latter months of 1988, it seemed every third person was adourned in a Guns n Roses tee-shirt. The word was out alright. Around this time, Michael Gudinski and the Frontier crew announced an Australian Tour for December of 1988. One show in Sydney on Saturday December 17th and demand strong enough in (what was the HM capitol) Melbourne for two dates (14th and 15th of December). Kings of The Sun and GnR heroes The Angels had the support slots. Me and the aforemention friend drove to the venue (Sydney Entertainment Centre) in the wee small hours to secure tickets. There were several other rock fans also gathered. It paid off as we ended up with ‘floor’ tickets. GnR rolled into Australia in December for their shows and from memory, there was no sign of Axl in the media.  At least I never saw him.
Duff and Slash made an interview on the ABC TV Program (I think) called The Factory, or maybe it was Rock Arena. Former Seattle punk McKagen, once again acknowledged his love of Australian bands including The Saints. Say what you want about Guns n Roses, but they were weened on the right kinda rock n roll, which ultimately was the mix of their original sound in the mid – late 80’s. I believe Rose Tattoo were asked to reform for these shows by GnR (who would’ve loved to have both their Aussie heroes on the same stage) but it wasn’t to be – not yet any way. Was it Stradlin or Rose who apparently saw the Tatts on their US club tour in 82 ?  After the Sydney show,  Izzy Stradlin was whisked down to Wollongong to make a guest appearance with the Angels, who themselves had left the CBD for a South Coast live venue. Many fans may not know that on one particular evening in Sydney, Slash and Duff were keen on checking out the local scene, and walked into the Landswone Hotel at Broadway to catch the mighty Psychotic Turnbuckles (both would be thanked by the Turnbuckles on their next record). As has been well documented on this blog, Rockbrat favorites Kings Of the Sun had their set cut short at the Sydney gig. Read that here. My memories of the show have become somewhat hazy, but I do remember thinking that things were a little bit overplayed, drawn out, overblown etc. They were good, but there was no hunger – maybe they were road weary I don’t know……….this was nothing to how overblown and boring they would become, visiting Australia some four years later. Actually apart from that buzz and excitement of the curtain dropping before the opening number, their wasn’t much edge to the whole set, though Stradlin, as ever was super cool. I think from memory, someone chucked an orange at Rose (was it one of the Mortal Sin guys?) and he spat the dummy…a sign of the tantrums that were to come in his career.  After Sydney they flew to New Zealand and played a Monday night show on Dec 19, 1988 at The Big Top – Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland. Anyone else got any memories from this tour ? Oh and for what it’s worth, Night Train is still my favorite G n R tune!

5 thoughts on “Rockbrat Remembers: The 1988 Guns n Roses Australian Tour

  1. The Melbourne concert… 2nd night… lead singer from Kings of the Sun whipped himself in the face with his prop whip during “black leather” then threw a brown eye at the crowd…Axl was beginning to really show his Diva side by wandering off stage as it suited him…Slash was almost horizontal and virtually incoherant as he tried to explain to the crowd that the GnR crew were filming a video and needed audience participation , “the F****n house lights are gonna come up and then *slur slur* everyone’s gonna go f*****n *slur slur*. Seeing one of the biggest bands in the world at such an intimate venue, indescribably awesome.

  2. I was also on the dance floor at that concert. I was only 17 and it blew me away.
    I remember Axl actually did a stage dive into the crowd fully clothed and exited wearing only his tight leather pants.
    He didn’t do any stage diving at the 93 show.
    I also remember the tantum

  3. Went to the both nights in Melbourne at the Glasshouse. The first night was one of the best shows ever. The band was on fire and the crowd was lit up like you wouldn’t believe. By comparison the second night saw the band looking very tired and very much the worse for wear, but they still put up a solid show. On the first night in particular, they all seemed to be having a ball. Too bad it all fell apart so shortly afterwards.

  4. Found a youtube vid from the 2nd night’s show. The one I went to!
    It’s almost exactly how I remember it.

  5. Went to the Sydney show at the old Entertainment Centre – was 16 and my first big outing. Also on the floor – and it was a wicked show. But I remember slash didn’t move much all night – kind of fixed to the stage. The show is etched on my memory. Didn’t really listen to gnr afterwards

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