Five years ago, a reunion of the classic Guns N’ Roses lineup didn’t seem like a possibility at all to millions of fans across the globe. However, now, in 2019 — with three of its original members — the Welcome to the Jungle group has just earned itself the third-highest-grossing tour in music history.
After a little bit of Patience, an unexpected reunion 22 years in the making, and nearly four years of touring together, the Appetite for Destruction-era lineup — or at least most of it — of GNR has just concluded a tour spanning 43 months: the Not in This Lifetime… Tour.
GNR’s ambitious and extensive trek pulled in US$548.2 million from 5,371,891 tickets, according to Billboard Boxscore, ranking the band third behind U2‘s 360° Tour and Ed Sheeran‘s Divide tour, which claims the No. 1 spot.
The tour kicked off in the U.S. on April 1, 2016, with the first gig taking place at the iconic Troubadour venue in Hollywood, Calif.
The band concluded the tour 156 shows later with two nights in Las Vegas, Nev., on Nov. 1 and 2, 2019, for a total of 158 shows across six continents (sorry, Antarctica). That includes nine in Canada alone.
While the current GNR lineup does not include original guitarist Izzy Stradlin or drummer Steven Adler, frontman Axl Rose — the band’s sole consistent and leading member — welcomed back Slash (lead guitar) and Duff McKagan (bass) in early 2016.
Their return was officially confirmed by Coachella Music Festival in a press release announcing GNR as their 2016 headliner.
Rose, McKagan and Slash had not played together since 1993, on the Use Your Illusion world tour.
Though Adler was not invited to take part as the full-time drummer on the critically acclaimed reunion tour, he joined GNR onstage for the first time in more than 25 years on July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he performed Out Ta Get Me and My Michelle.
He also played four additional performances with the band, including one in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Last month, the band achieved another milestone on YouTube.
The chart-topping single comes from Appetite for Destruction (1987) — the band’s first and most successful album. It is a diamond-certified album in Canada, has gone 18-times platinum in the U.S. and has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. It is the best-selling album in the U.S. to date.
GNR isn’t planning to live off of the success of Appetite, however. According to Slash, the band has plans to release a brand new album, which is still in the works.
It’s been 11 years since fans were treated to new music, and more than two and a half decades since they’ve heard material from the beloved classic lineup.
The last GNR record, Chinese Democracy, came out in 2008 (pre-reunion) and featured only two members of the classic lineup: Rose and longtime keyboardist Dizzy Reed — who joined in 1990.
Before Chinese Democracy came 1993’s The Spaghetti Incident? — which featured no original material, only covers — and then 1991’s Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II.
No release date has been set for the purportedly upcoming GNR album.
The band currently has no scheduled tour dates.