Guns N’ Roses or Trad Jazz?

Everyone has a list of gigs they wished they’d been to but didn’t go for a variety of reasons. Here’s a few of mine:

  • Woodstock in ’69 (I was 2 years old, we didn’t live in New York and my folks weren’t free loving dope smoking hippies)
  • The first Glastonbury Festival in 1970 (I was 3 years old and my folks weren’t free loving dope smoking hippies)
  • The Stone Roses at Spike Island in 1990 (I had no idea that this gig would become legendary and besides, Notts County were playing at Wembley for the first time in our long history!)

I could write a blog post on this very subject and probably will do one day! However, there’s one gig I could have gone to, was meant to go to and very nearly did. But then I didn’t…

Guns N’ Roses at Rock City Nottingham – 5th October 1987

I’d only been a fan of the band for a couple of months after my mate Simon had leant me an early 12″ EP (It’s So Easy and Mr Brownstone were the main tracks on it). That piece of vinyl blew me away. In fact I don’t think I have ever returned it so it’s probably in the attic… (sorry Si).

When it was announced that Guns N’ Roses were coming to Nottingham Simon and I decided to go to the gig. There was no rush to get tickets – the band was relatively unknown in the UK at the time (although they were gathering momentum) and we’d been told that tickets would be available on the door anyway so we didn’t bother buying them in advance.

On the night of the show we met for a quick pint in The Bell Inn – one of Nottingham’s oldest and finest drinking establishments – and settled down for catchup. It was a Monday night so the mood in the pub was fairly subdued but, when the house Jazz Band struck up and the second and third pints went down, the ambience changed and we found ourselves tapping along and having a good laugh and joke.

Then the conversation went something like this:

Simon: “Are we going to bother with this gig or not?”

Me “not arsed to be honest, are you?”

Simon: “Rock City’s about 5 mins walk from here. It’s warm in here and the beer is good. What do you think?”

Me: “Nah fuck it. Get ’em in, I’m going for a piss….”

So that was it. We missed the mighty Guns N’ Roses at Rock City – probably our only opportunity to see them at a small(ish) UK venue – choosing instead to have a few pints and enjoy a local trad jazz band at The Bell Inn. Pair of BELL ENDS more like! We still joke about it to this day….

PS. The ticket in the blog header is clearly not mine. I borrowed it from another great blog.

Footnote: When we did finally get to see Guns N’Roses, less than a year later at the Donington ‘Monsters of Rock’ Festival they had become a massive global sensation. Unfortunately the crowd in the mosh pit (including yours truly) was also pretty huge and the traumatic events of that afternoon led to a couple of fans sadly not making it home… Blog HERE:

Donington ’88 Triumph and Tragedy

Read my memories of it HERE

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4 thoughts on “Guns N’ Roses or Trad Jazz?

  1. The only gig I regret not going to, is Donington Monsters of Rock 1984. Widely accepted to be the strongest lineup ever. I was 16 and been into rock and metal for about two years. I was a shy kid and slightly embarrassed about the music I liked. And nobody else I knew, did. My dad liked some of the bands but wasn’t a gig-goer. At that point, I’d never been to any gigs. To be honest, I was a bit scared to go to a metal show. I don’t know why, as we all know metal heads are the most decent people you could wish to meet (generally). I lived on the outskirts of London then and I’d never seen another headbanger. In fact, the only people I knew who liked heavy metal, were my two older cousins from Northampton. So the prospect of going to Donington to see Van Halen (who became my all-time favourite band) on the 1984 tour, plus AC/DC, Ozzy and the Crüe was never on the cards. Little did I know that I’d never see the classic VH lineup. Never. Ever. I got to see them in 2012 in the States, when they got back together with DLR, but with Wolfie on bass. A short while after Donington 1984, a girl who I knew at my tennis club, suddenly told me she was into metal. We became good friends, doubles partners and more importantly, gig buddies. Queen, Dio, Maiden and Ozzy soon followed as well as Donington ’86 and others, but I’ll never truly get over missing the 1984 show. Over the years, I’ve become friends with some slightly older people, who were there. They never tire of reminding of what a great day I missed. Bastards! 😂

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