Review: Guns N’ Roses :: Use Your Illusion I + II

A scene that sums up the theatrical madness of the California hard rock revivalists’ USE YOUR ILLUSION phase: At the end of the epic “Estranged” video (helicopters! Stretch limos! A slash soloing in the sea!), in December 1993 and hence Released 26 months after the release of the double album as the 9th (!) single, a bathrobed W. Axl Rose squats next to a dolphin and grins conspiratorially at us. What answers does this man have? Maybe the ones we had to ask why the wedding party in the “November Rain” clip went so wrong? Why does one of the guests seek shelter from the completely unforeseen thunderstorm in the multi-tiered cake? And how and if the buttocks-less dolphin “sits” next to Rose, please?


Like any rock star who knows his trade, Rose then harnessed not only the power of the illusion of his omniscience, but also the fascinating confusion. He understood his role perfectly. At a time when the popularity of childishly disguised gimmick wrestlers was also reflected in rock music, when Bono gave MacPhisto and The Fly, Genesis became style icons for neoliberal geography teachers and Kurt Cobain uniformed an entire generation with flannel shirts, Rose was the pompous provocateur . While Kanye West is now turning heads with “White Lives Matter” shirts, back then it was Rose’s shirts printed with Charles Manson and Jesus Christ.

The band’s discography can be considered complete after 1991

Four years after one of the greatest and most successful debut albums in history, the rock radio classic puking 30-million-seller APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION, USE YOUR ILLUSION should put Rose on a par with his songwriting idols, next to Jagger/Richards, next Tyler/Perry next to Mercury, next to Taupin. With songs like “Don’t Cry” and “Civil War” he scaled their heights – after all, 30 songs give you many an opportunity to do so – but he often fell down in the ecstasy of victory. Especially ILLUSION I thins out towards the end. “Bad Apples”, “Dead Horse” and “Garden Of Eden” not only supported the thesis that less would have been more, which is cited in any discussion about double albums, but in combination with CHINESE DEMOCRACY, which rightly received little attention in 2008, made fan dreams come true more albums burst.

The band’s discography can be considered complete after 1991. This claim is also supported by the bonus material of the re-release: In contrast to the 2018 deluxe edition of the predecessor, among the 63 previously unreleased pieces of the 97-song strong re-releases of the twin albums USE YOUR ILLUSION I + II there are no insightful demo versions of unfinished masterpieces or promising sketches of a treasure map of the future. Instead, in addition to the remastered albums, a 100-page book and memorabilia pipapo, there is above all: a lot of live music, such as the band’s 27-song concert on January 25, 1992 in Las Vegas.

Here, alongside the usual covers of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”, “Live And Let Die” and the “Love Theme From ‘The Godfather'”, there is an almost instrumental version of “Wild Horses” by the Rolling Stones, as well as here and there interspersed elements of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”, the Eagles’ “Hotel California”, the Queen album track “Sail Away Sweet Sister” and “Only Women Bleed” by Alice Cooper, who also featured on the studio version of “The Garden” can be heard.

Rose would never make his mark on pop culture like that again

The box set for the 30th birthday was released somewhat unpunctually with a one-year delay – after all, it was in the tradition of Rose’s Stagetimes at the time. Maybe you also wanted to wait for the wave of success of the summer blockbuster “Thor: Love & Thunder”, director Taika Waititi garnished his superhero ham with four songs from the GN’R he admires, sorry: GN’F’R, including im dramatic final battle the finale of “November Rain” with Slash’s probably most electrifying guitar figure – one of, if not the pinnacle of the entire hard rock genre, but definitely the most gripping moment of the ILLUSION albums.

The strangest again waits at the end of II: The out of the ordinary “My World”, which not only rumbles amazingly close to Björk’s later “Army Of Me”, but also as a kind of post-credit scene outlook on the industrial sequels Oh My God and Shackler’s Revenge. As with Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose second film appearance as a cyborg in “Terminator 2” accompanied the lead single “You Could Be Mine” here, Rose also said: “I’ll be back”. For good. No offense. But like the T-800, Rose would never make his mark on pop culture again.


Hawa :: Hadja Bangoura

The New York producer and singer combines a classical education and unbelievable pop sensitivity to the seminal Afro-Art-R’n’B.

Tom Liwa :: Another time

The singer/songwriter tries to leave his gender and gain new perspectives.

Loyle Carner :: Hugo

Grime as an epic: the British rapper is looking for catharsis.


“Guns N’ Roses Live In New York”: We are giving away tickets for an exclusive cinema screening in Berlin

To coincide with the release of the new edition of “Use Your Illusion I+II”, there will be an exclusive screening of the concert film in Berlin on November 10th. MUSIKEXPRESS is giving away 10 x 2 tickets.

Guns N’ Roses: “Use Your Illusion I+II” get reissue

Guns N’ Roses re-release Use Your Illusion I+II. In addition to many live recordings, it also includes a new version of “November Rain” with a full orchestra.

After Genesis farewell concert: Lily Collins thanks her father ‘for the inspiration’

Phil Collins’ daughter Lily comments on his recent Genesis show and thanks him for the memories and inspiration.