ATLANTA -- Guns N' Roses return to Atlanta with a show at the Georgia Dome on Wednesday.
The show is part of the band's "Not In This Lifetime" tour, which sees core band members Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagen on stage together for the first time in more than 20 years.
In a wide-ranging conversation with local media on Tuesday, the band’s production manager, Dale "Opie" Skjerseth, offered the following:
- Crews have been at the Georgia Dome since Sunday. There are three sets of steel that travel the county in anticipation of shows. While production put the finishing touches on the stage at the Georgia Dome on Tuesday, the other two sets were in Orlando and New Orleans, where the band will play later this week.
- There are a total of 16 trucks that transport the steel, each accompanied by a 16-team crew, Skjerseth said.
- A 125-person crew travels with the band on six tour buses and 20 truck. Another 125 local workers assist with constructing the stage
- It takes about 8 hours to put up lights, sounds, video, pyro and other components of the stage once the steel has been set
- It takes about 36 hours to put up the steel and other heavy construction.
- Once the show is over, it takes about 2.5 hours to take down the production, and another 12 hours to remove the steel from the stadium.
- The band will soundcheck early afternoon on Wednesday and it could last hours, Skjerseth said.
- Fans will see pyro at Wednesday’s show. “We have an indoor show -- as we call it --that limits the heights and restrictions…It still looks big and boomy, but it won’t go to the ceiling.”
- Skjerseth said he wasn’t sure when the band arrives in town, but said when they do, he expected them to head to a hotel and rest before the show.
- The production manager said he sees the band “when they show up.”
- Skjerseth worked with the band on the Use Your Illusion tour in the early 90s
- Skjerseth was the catalyst for GNR lead singer Axl Rose joining AC/DC. Skjerseth, who also works with AC/DC, said that band happened to be in Atlanta rehearsing when they got word that their lead singer, Brian Johnson, was forced to bow out of their tour due to hearing issues.
- After hearing the news about Johnson, Axl called Skjerseth, who was in South America with the Rolling Stones. Opie then called AC/DC in Atlanta. Axl flew to Atlanta to audition and the rest is history.
- In April, after Axl broke his feet in GNR’s first reunion gig, bassist Duff McKagen contacted Foo Fighters’ main man Dave Grohl to see about using a throne that he’d used after a similar fracture.
- Skjerseth said all three members of the classic line-up (Axl, Slash and Duff) all had equal input in construction of the band’s current stage.
- “We met in January, we all talked about it,” Skjerseth said. “The basic bottom line is: people want to see Guns N’ Roses. They don’t need flying pianos, they don’t flying lifts…they just needed a heavy rock n’ roll stage.”
- “We wanted big video, big sound, big lights, big pyro and an exciting show for the fans of rock n’ roll music.”
- As to how Axl is managing to take the stage on time now as opposed to years past, when the band often began performing hours after its scheduled start time, Opie said, “We’re all older and want to get to bed now.”
- “We were all young,” Skjerseth said of Rose’s behavior on previous tours. “Even I was young. It’s his maturity and business and how it should be. Everybody feels good about it. He’s here before the guys, the rest of them, some days. He comes in, he shows up, gets out of the car, goes on stage. Sometimes he stays on site.”
- Skjerseth said the band is “getting along just fine.”
- The fact that band members have separate dressing rooms isn’t a sign of tension within the ranks, Skjerseth said. “Just because everybody’s older, they carry their families with them. They all have to have their space.”
- “Everybody meets before we go on stage. It’s a meeting point and that’s where the chemistry happens.”
- All band members are taking buses to the gigs, but they do occasionally fly to cities.
- “It’s business and everybody’s enjoying it.”
- As to what brought the band back together, money or music, Skjerseth said, “I believe it starts with the love the band…And then of course – we all want money.”
- On the band’s future: “I’ve been told there’s no end date, and I’ve seen plenty of dates going into next year, far into next year. Everybody’s working together to keep a common goal and common direction: keep the machine going.
- Opening band The Cult will play about 50 minutes
- Opie wouldn’t say if the band had any surprises – such as an appearance from a former band member – in store for Wednesday’s show.
- The biggest change Opie’s seen of the band from when he first met them in 1990 and now: “Age. Our maturity. Everybody paying attention doing what they’re doing.”
- Opie promised that everyone at the Georgia Dome would get a good view of the show – even those in the nosebleed seats.
Doors for the show will open at 6 p.m. The Cult will take the stage at 8. Guns N Roses will go on some time around 9:20 p.m.
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