Guns N' Roses at Power Trip festival was an epic homecoming that proves they're the ruling class of rock'n'roll (even with the late start)

An epic 29-song setlist from Guns N' Roses closed out the first day of California's Power Trip festival

Guns N' Roses onstage at Power Trip
(Image: © Guns N' Roses)

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Guns N' Roses have had a mixed bag in 2023. The band's Glastonbury set should have highlighted their legend and cemented their place as one of rock's most iconic groups, but instead was received as something of a mixed bag by fans and critics alike, the band struggling to contemporise their appeal. But at Power Trip they have no such issues; this is effectively the band on home turf after all, and with an audience preinclined to embrace nostalgia over reappraisal. 

Despite being half an hour late, the band still manage a colossal three hour set, cramming a whopping 29 songs in before the end. The question is: did they really need to? The hits sell themselves; from opener It's So Easy to Mr Brownstone, Welcome To The Jungle and You Could Be Mine, Guns have the kind of songs that could define a lesser band, but in truth only present part of their impressive arsenal. 

But other songs have a decidedly filler feel. Against the sublime covers of Live And Let Die and Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Wichita Lineman deflates the atmosphere almost entirely, while Down On The Farm lacks the thrust and bite Guns can still so clearly deliver. Even Duff McKagan's spot-on Iggy Pop impression on TV Eye could be livewire if it weren't trotted out at every gig these days.   

Thankfully, the balance is tipped by just how well Guns are able to switch gears throughout the set. The motorbreath snarl of early Guns can still be felt in the galloping pace of Absurd, It's So Easy and a particularly howling Nightrain, while the likes of Pretty Tied Up and Slither tap into the sleaze of Sunset Strip glam with (forked) tongue purely in cheek.  

Guns don't particularly go in much for the spectacle side of rock'n'roll - they'll leave the rollercoaster drummers to Mötley Crüe, thank you very much - but have a natural inclination to granstanding that lends itself to some sublime performances throughout the set, Slash busting out solos you could inspire a legion of guitarists with, while Axl and Dizzy Reed get to strut their respective stuff across the keys of November Rain and Live And Let Die, Axl going full Elton as he dons a shining coat and rhinestone rings to tickle the ivories like he's giving a violent one man concerto. 

Additionally, Power Trip's stage set-up ensures stunning kaleidoscopic visions throughout the set, underpinning massive moments as lasers light the sky to give a Vegas-style feel. While not quite a homecoming show, the reality is that the Sunset Strip that spawned them couldn't possibly house such grandiose proportions these days and Guns are long past being the edgy outsiders, instead becoming the ruling class of rock'n'roll.

Guns N' Roses Setlist Power Trip October 6 2023

It's So Easy
Bad Obsession
Chinese Democracy
Pretty Tied Up
Mr. Brownstone
Welcome To The Jungle
Hard Skool
Double Talkin' Jive
Reckless Life
You Could Be Mine
Live And Let Die
Down On The Farm
Rocket Queen
T.V. Eye
Anything Goes
Civil War
Sweet Child O'Mine
November Rain
Wichita Lineman
Knockin' On Heaven's Door
Paradise City

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.