Guns N’ Roses bring out Dave Grohl for their Glastonbury headlining set – but the air-guitaring sign language interpreters win the night

Axl Rose and Slash of Guns N’ Roses onstage at Glastonbury
Axl Rose and Slash onstage at Glastonbury (Image credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Guns N’ Roses brought out Dave Grohl during their first ever Glastonbury festival headlining set – but arguably the best reaction was saved for the British Sign Language interpreters covering it for the BBC.

The US rock icons topped the bill on the main Pyramid Stage on Saturday night (June 24). Appearing on time at 9.30pm prompt, they kicked off with Appetite For Destruction track It’s So Easy, before dipping into all six of their studio albums plus post-reunion singles Absurd and Hard Skool for their 24-song, two hour-plus set.

Addressing the crowd before playing the title track from 2008’s Chinese Democracy, Axl Rose said, “How you doing? We’d like to thank you for inviting us. Thank you!”

During Civil War, the band flashed a Ukrainian flag on the screen behind them to cheers from the audience. Axl also wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the blue and yellow flag.

The band played their cover of Wings’ Live And Let Die, though they weren’t joined by Paul McCartney despite speculation that the ex-Beatle and former Wings leader would appear onstage after being spotted on the site earlier in the day.

However, the band were joined by Dave Grohl on guitar for closing song Paradise City. “You can never have too many fucking guitars,” announced Axl as the Foo Fighters frontman walked out.

Reaction to the set was mixed, with many people criticising Axl’s vocals.

“Slash is incredible. The band is brilliant. But…… this Guns N’Roses set would be so much better with Rick Astley on vocals,” tweeted @AndrewJazzie, referencing the UK pop star who had played two different sets earlier in the day.

Other people jumped to the singer’s defence. “Hats off to Axl rose here, not only is he doing lead vocals he's also doing a fucking bleep test on the stage at 61years old,” said @joshknightson.

However, some people were more impressed by the British Sign Language interpreters who covered the set on the BBC’s iPlayer streaming service. 

“People watching #GunsNRoses on iPlayer are missing out if they don’t choose the British sign language option,” @mildhorror, tweeting a clip of a BSL interpreter rocking out on air guitar and air drums during instrumental sections.

The previous day at Glastonbury saw the Foo Fighters play a not-so-secret set under the name The Churn Ups. Dave Grohl dedicated the final song, Everlong, to late drummer Taylor Hawkins. The frontman also made an appearance during The Pretenders’ set on the Park stage earlier on Saturday, along with Johnny Marr.

Arctic Monkeys headlined the Pyramid Stage on Friday while Elton John will close the festival on Sunday night with his last-ever UK show,

Check out Guns N’ Roses’ full setlist plus the best reactions below.

Metal Hammer line break

Guns N’ Roses Glastonbury 2023 setlist

It’s So Easy
Bad Obsession
Chinese Democracy
Slither (Velvet Revolver cover)
Welcome To The Jungle
Mr Brownstone
Pretty Tied Up
Double Talkin’ Jive
Live And Let Die (Wings cover)
Reckless Life
TV Eye (Stooges cover)
Down On The Farm (UK Subs cover)
Rocket Queen
Civil War
You Could Be Mine
Sweet Child O’ Mine
November Rain
Hard Skool
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Paradise City (Dave Grohl)

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