Guns N’ Roses has had an extraordinary comeback over the course of the last 18 months or so. Throughout much of 2016 and 2017, the group has been on tour, playing shows all over the United States and Europe. Dubbed the “Not In This Lifetime Tour,” it’s been the first stretch in years that the group was back together with any kind of regularity, and the shows have been going very well. While classic rock may be past its golden age, there are a lot of groups still going strong today. That means there are tons of fans who will still get excited for something like a GNR concert coming to town. At times, this has all felt like we got stuck in a time machine and transported back to the late-'80s.
This all started with some very deliberate efforts on the band’s part though. It’s not as if they just got together for a reunion concert and kept things rolling for a year. Guns N’ Roses seems to have been pretty clever about reaching out to audiences beyond their own loyal fans, gradually building anticipation for the reunion and tour that were to come.
First up was a partnership with an online gaming company aimed at casino players. The Guns N’ Roses slot reel is featured among the most popular gaming offerings from NetEnt, a developer that has made a habit out of working with classic rock artists. The game itself is more or less a traditional slot reel. But its background, symbols, and special effects are all about the band, which makes for an interesting blend of activity. On the one hand, the game can bring GNR fans to this particular genre of online gaming. On the other, it can also expose young casino gaming enthusiasts to the music and iconography of one of the great classic rock groups.
In another bid to reach out to audiences that might be broader than their own, Guns N’ Roses debuted a mysterious trailer during previews for Star Wars: The Force Awakens back in the winter of 2015. The trailer didn’t make it clear what was coming, but it did seem to reveal that the band was up to something and generated quite a bit of attention. That’s not to say that every Star Wars fan instantly got excited about a GNR reunion, but gaining exposure through one of the most popular films of the century certainly didn’t hurt the group.
As it turned out, the trailer was a hint regarding the band’s public reunion at Coachella in 2016— which in turn launched the Not In This Lifetime Tour that’s still going on this year. Now it feels like the group is back in full swing, having never missed a beat. The only thing missing has been new material, and that might be about to change.
According to some new reports, guitarist Richard Fortus has stated that the band is assembling ideas for a new album. Though he stressed that Guns N’ Roses has not actually put in any studio time, he said things are going too well lately not to result in new music. Fortus anticipates putting together brand new material with Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan all on board. He's also gone so far as to say that some of the material has already been recorded (just not in an official studio setting).
It sounds like we know what’s next in GNR’s extensive and successful revival. There's no underestimating the power of a good tour and the "Not in this Lifetime Tour" has consistently been one of the top grossing tours of the year. If they can add new material to add to the shows, it's likely that they'll do even better.