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GNR Ottawa Show – August 21, 2017

August 31, 2017

On the absolute short-list of contenders for “Best Surprise Ever”?

Unbeknownst to me, my fantastic friend Andy had secretly arranged with my wonderful wife for me to be available on August 21st.



He’d gotten us GN(FN)R tickets!

Andy made the trip from Hamilton, scooping me in Kingston en route to Ottawa.


We picked our Must-Hear/Probably-won’t-but-Wouldn’t-it-be-great-if-they-played tracks (Andy: You Could Be Mine/My Michelle, Geoff: Night Train/Estranged), had some dinner and a pint or two, and made our way to Lansdowne Park.

The show was scheduled to start at 6:30(!); given Axl’s declaration of “I get up around 7, we go on stage around 9,” we thought that as long as the show started by then, by Axl’s standards, it would be punctual!

But sure enough, Our Lady Peace started on time at 6:30 and the Gunners went on around 7:25.

We had floor seats; I don’t think we so much as looked at the chairs for the rest of the night.


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Setlist (thanks to


1. It’s So Easy – and they’re off! Solid choice for the opener, nice to be able to yell out the generally accepted callback to “Why don’t you just?” right off the bat!

2. Mr. Brownstone – Said a little better than before!

3. Chinese Democracy – Slash broke out a green guitar (based on the shape, I’m guessing a B.C. Rich) for this one. And it was evident by this point that the other guitarist, Richard Fortus, is more of a second lead guitarist, he can play.

4. Welcome to the Jungle – You know where you are?

5. Double Talkin’ Jive – Kudos to Andy for winning the name that tune game right away on this one

6. Better – Nice backup vocals by bassist Duff McKagan & keyboard player Melissa Reese

7. Estranged – My probably-won’t-but-Wouldn’t-it-be-great-if-they-played track! Dizzy Reed provided some solid piano work in the mid-song breakdown, so many Slash guitar solos throughout, so good.

8. Live and Let Die – I almost gave in and cried (tears of joy) at this point, having such a great time!

9. Rocket Queen – A friend of ours messaged Andy to say he heard Rocket Queen when driving by the stadium that night, I’m guessing most of the area heard most of the show too!

10. You Could Be Mine – Andy’s must hear, drummer Frank Ferrer sounded stellar on the intro.

11. New Rose & 12. This I Love – Bit of a welcome respite with these 2 tracks, I don’t know if the frantic pace of the first 10 tunes would have been sustainable.

13. Civil War – Slash broke out a double guitar for this one. You know those guitars that are, like, double guitars?!

14. Yesterdays – The song I always play when I pick up a new guitar, single or double, loved the ‘Yesterdays’ whisper at the end.

15. Coma – who else would play a 10-minute track mid-set?!




16. Slash Guitar Solo (with Johnny B. Goode jam) & 17. Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather) – another appropriate breath-catching moment before…

18. Sweet Child O’ Mine – and the crowd, rightfully so, went bananas.

19. Used to Love Her – First GNR Lies tune of the night

20. My Michelle – Andy’s Probably-won’t-but-Wouldn’t-it-be-great-if-they-played track, needless to say, we were jubilant!

21. Wish You Were Here – Quick bathroom break before…

22. November Rain – Amazing, three 9+ minute songs in the set, so far!

23. Black Hole Sun – Guitars were spot on, nice idea for a cover

24. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Probably the peak of audience participation for the night, with the Knock-knock-knockin’ on Heaven’s Door response

25. Night Train – My must hear!


26. Don’t Cry – The Use Your Illusion I lyrics

27. Whole Lotta Rosie – turns out, Axl sounds pretty good singing AC/DC

28. Patience – As the crowd whistled along with the intro

29. The Seeker – Another cover

30. Paradise City – Great finale to wrap up over 3 hours of music!


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Verbalize the Positive

As much positive as I’ve already verbalized about GNR, that’s only the tip of the iceberg compared to what I could & should say about Andy.

My undying thanks for the GNR surprise AZ, oh what a night!

From → Uncategorized

  1. Wow. That’s an amazing, epic set! I’m well jell!

  2. Great stuff. You were absolutely in the right place at the right time.

    • Thanks Bruce – we were talking about Donovan and identifying a time/place the other day, and I’m definitely lucky to have been in that time/place in Ottawa last Monday!

  3. My buddy from work Frank The Tank was at the Ottawa show as well! Haven’t talked to him yet as i have been off but he was stoked to see them!
    Great time and I was going to ask if u had seen theme as u kinda alluded to it somewhere on the blogosphere! hahaha…
    Full props to Andy for scoring tix to an excellent gig and kudos to u for wearing just a straight kick ass black T shirt to the show!
    Almost 4 am..taking Kylee to the airport and she’s on her way to your hometown!

    • Cheers Deke!
      I bet Frank the Tank enjoyed the show – and his namesake on the drums, Frank Ferrer, was solid!
      Safe travels to Kylee today, hope she enjoys K-town!

  4. ahh found it it was from your Chinese Democracy review yesterday!
    Here is my proof!

    The three Chinese Democracy tunes they played in Ottawa (Chinese Democracy, Better, This I Love) sounded fantastic.

    (should have called u out on it..haha..missed opportunity!)

  5. Damn! What a set list and it sounds like a helluva show!!

    • We couldn’t believe it when the songs just kept coming, over 3 hours, and we’d have happily heard much more!

  6. Awesome story! I know a few guys who went to this show and I heard nothing but good things. Good to see how Axl has finally got his act together.

  7. Glad to see you had a fine time. Good to score tickets for any show. Makes for more spare cash for beer.

    • And like all stadiums, the Ottawa stadium beers weren’t inexpensive – it’s like flowers on Valentine’s day, the prices escalate!

  8. Zoiks! This is amazing, Geoff! Some of my favourite Guns tracks in there… what a set! Amazing.

    • Thanks J!
      What a set indeed – I’m quite curious as to what would make your top 5 gnr tune list!

      • Y’know, I should do a top 5… but it’d likely be the usual suspects!


    Geoff, you hit all my sweet spots. You know those guitars that are…double guitars? In our family, this has even extended to trucks when we’re driving down the highway. You know those trucks that are, like, double trucks? Exactly. Jen said it one day and I couldn’t stop laughing. Now we say it all the time.


    Yes Slash does play a BC Rich on occasion so I think you’re right.

    Yes Richard is more of a second guitarist but when he solos, he shreds! It’s like a secret weapon in the band. I never quite understood why he didn’t solo more, even in the previous incarnation of the band. Ashba and Bumblefoot did most of the solos prior to Slash’s return.

    That is a good slice of “other”. Guns have always thrown “other” into the set and I love them for it.

    • Like double trucks? Brilliant!
      Based on the jagged nature of the Chinese Democracy axe he used, it felt BC Rich-esque.
      Richard was a really nice surprise! There are bands where there is clearly a ‘rhythm’ guitarist (for example, any band I’ve been in, I’m definitely ‘rhythm’ rather than lead) but this is a nice luxury having two guys who can really solo.
      The Black Hole Sun cover was probably my favourite of the other, really well done.
      Many thanks Mike – and happy anniversary to you and Jen!

  10. Wow that sounds awesome. Good on your buddy for getting you to the gig!

  11. Awesome!

  12. Cool surprise!

    I always find that whatever song I’m most wanting to hear is the one they won’t play. I need to learn to love the radio hits I guess.

  13. Wow! Wonderful stuff – I can’t believe they played Coma, love that track.

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