Guns N’ Roses shooting for ‘kick-ass’ residency in Las Vegas

Not a lot is being revealed about the upcoming Guns N’ Roses residency at the Hard Rock Hotel, but it will have lots of surprises, lead guitarist DJ Ashba said.

When asked what will be different from the band’s first Hard Rock residency, he said mischievously, “just live sex shows.”

And this is why we love rock stars.

Joking aside, this is what we do know: Things are going to be blown up.

“Last time, we had those crazy aerial artists and strippers everywhere,” Ashba said. “There’s been a lot of talk about doing some really cool stuff and pushing the limit even further, which will be a lot of fun.”

Their nine-show residency opens right before Memorial Day weekend, and the band is still working on developing the show.

“A show like what we’re going to bring to the Hard Rock isn’t done overnight,” he said. “It’s going to take still even more planning right up to probably show time.  There’s a lot that goes into a show like this.”

Guns N’ Roses typically puts on three-hour shows, running through much of their hit-heavy catalog.

“That’s typically just a normal show for us,” he said. “But I have no idea. It’s kind of up in the air right now. We want to come in and give the fans a really kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll experience and that’s our only goal.”

The first GN’R residency, “Appetite for Democracy,” opened at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in 2012. Like the previous Hard Rock residency, the entire property has been transformed into a sort of Guns N’ Roses campus. Front line staff are wearing GN’R shirts. The Center Bar, elevators, windows, the resort’s exterior, and so on, are wrapped in the band’s residency artwork. Drinks and dishes at the resort’s bars and restaurants are named after the band’s popular songs.

“I think they even have the little poker chips,” Ashba said.

Chas Smith, vice president of entertainment at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, said the campus atmosphere is all-encompassing.

“We found that having every team member involved, versus just the entertainment department, really helps get the word out there,” Smith said.

For Ashba, who lives in Las Vegas, the residency at the GN’R campus is like a month-long slumber party.

“It’s almost like band camp,” he said. “You get a chance to really get close to your fan base. You run into them in the hallways … and it’s just cool.

“Our fan base is just the most dedicated, really cool fan base you can ever dream of having. It’s a lot of fun partying with them and hanging out. Their appreciation for what we do is cool. It’s overwhelming.”

More than that, the residency will give the band some much-needed time together to weed through about three albums worth of already recorded, but not-yet-released music for a new album, Ashba said.

“This is going to be a great opportunity for this band, to finally be in one place for a solid month,” he said.

But even a rock star needs a break. As a Las Vegas resident, Ashba said many visitors are missing out on much of what Vegas has to offer.

“I think there’s a whole Vegas that people never get a chance to experience and that’s the local scene,” Ashba said. “Vegas is so cool off the Strip. There’s so many cool little places, little bars off the Strip. Vamp’d is a cool one. A lot of gun ranges, which is fun, because I love shooting guns. Just tons of stuff to do. Vegas is one of those places that never closes.

“If you have a bad time in Vegas, then it’s not everyone around you. It’s you. Pretty much you’re just an a–hole (laughs). It’s hard not to have a good time, though.”

When Axl Rose and crew are on stage, they will offer a show that would be next to impossible to do on the road.

“You’ve got to tear down and move on to the next city, so (the residency) definitely allows us to do a much cooler show,” Ashba said. “It’s an experience of a lifetime. It’s going to be different from any other Guns N’ Roses show you’ve ever experienced.”

Guns N’ Roses: An Evening of Destruction. No Trickery! will rip through much of the band’s lengthy catalog and greatest hits on select nights May 21 – June 7 at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. Showtimes vary. Tickets start at $75.

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