IN THIS LIFETIME: GUNS N' ROSES
There are so many shocking things about Guns N' Roses' reunion tour that it's hard to know where to start. A few off the dome:
1. It's actually happening. Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan on stage together in 2016? A miracle, given all the bad blood over the past 25 years. Yet here we are, with the Gunners rampaging across America and coming to Orlando's Camping World Stadium (formerly the Citrus Bowl) on Friday.
2. It's actually a professional rock show. Forget Axl keeping fans waiting all night. How about Guns N' Roses starting a recent show in Chicago 15 minutes early? 1991 Axl never would've stood for that.
3. The reviews are actually pretty good. Maybe expectations were so low that any semblance of competency would've sufficed. But how about critics tossing out words like "crisp," "dazzling," "sensational," "transformative" and "awesomeness?"
Here's a theory about why Guns N' Roses' reunion is working so well: The memory of what the band was, and the specter of how much bigger they still could've gotten, has loomed so large for so long, we've come to take their once-blinding talent for granted. It took a band that ambitious, that debauched, that destructive, to write epics like Welcome to the Jungle and Paradise City, to craft insane, next-level, glam-metal odysseys like Use Your Illusion I and II. No band since has adequately picked up where they left off. Seeing the core of the group live in 2016 must come as a shock to the system, like seeing a Tyrannosaurus rex on your morning commute.
And just like the T. rex, it might be only a matter of time before Guns N' Roses goes extinct once again. So buy a ticket to hear Axl, Slash and Duff play Sweet Child o' Mine while you still can.
The Cult opens at 8 p.m. Friday at Camping World Stadium, 1 Citrus Bowl Place, Orlando. $60.50 and up. livenation.com.
GOING, GOING GONE: THE GO-GO'S
After 38 years, how do the Go-Go's pare down a setlist for their farewell tour?
"We're going to try to throw in some surprises and do some songs we haven't done either for a long time or maybe never at all," guitarist Jane Wiedlin, above in hat, said in a recent interview. "Every tour, we try to figure out a new cover song. We're going to shake it up. It's going to be fun."
Wiedlin, singer Belinda Carlisle, guitarist Charlotte Caffey and drummer Gina Schock are out to enjoy this last long Vacation, even if bassist Kathy Valentine is sitting this farewell trek out. They'll dive into their bag of New Wave classics like We Got the Beat, Our Lips are Sealed and Head Over Heels. And who knows what else?
Their farewell tour ends at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, but it kicks off at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. Kaya Stewart opens the show. $71.25 and up. (727) 791-7400. atthecap.com.
For more with Jane Wiedlin, see tampabay.com/soundcheck.
DISTRICT PATROL: CANDLEBOX
Get ready for a new live music venue in downtown Tampa.
"When people hear the sound and everything, they're going to be wowed," said Gary Alan, co-owner of District 3, which on Sunday will host a show by '90s rockers Candlebox, known for their 1993 hit Far Behind.
It's an odd booking for District 3, which has hosted DJs and rappers in recent years, but no real rock concerts. The building's bread and butter is special events — weddings, luncheons, parties for groups ranging from the Shriners to Tampa's 13 Ugly Men.
Rock concerts are different animals, but the beauty of a large, multi-purpose room is that you can contour it any way you like. District 3 already has a professional sound system, and can hold up to 3,000 for some events.
Alan said that if all goes well, he hopes to have more concerts in the future, creating the sort of concert venue downtown Tampa doesn't really have — something between huge venues like Amalie Arena, the Straz Center and Tampa Theatre; and smaller clubs like Ferg's Live or the Hub.
"This is going to be breaking the ice," Alan said. "It just diversifies what District 3 was and is."
Show is 6 p.m. Sunday at 802-812 E Whiting St., Tampa. $25 and up via Ticketmaster. (813) 304-2411. district3.us.
SHRED CRED: BORIS
For 20 years, renowned Japanese avant-garde metal trio Boris have blown away audiences with a relentless stream of genre-defying, boundary-pushing albums. You'll hear sludge, thrash, power metal, drone, ambient noise, electronic elements, even moments of quiet, melodic beauty. Usually you can't pin 'em down, but this American tour comes in support of a 10th anniversary deluxe reissue of their thrashing, pummeling album Pink, so they'll be playing that punkish album in full. After that, who knows? Drone metal and ambient rock pioneers Earth open the show, as do Miami grindcore act S---storm at 7 p.m. today at the Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $18 and up. (813) 248-9500. theorpheum.com.