Guns N' Roses invited their original drummer onstage for the first time in over 25 years and it happened in AP's home state.
Cincinnati fans watched history in the making Wednesday night as Steven Adler sat behind the kit for a pair of GN'R classics. The show at Paul Brown Stadium was part of the band's current U.S. tour, which features founding members W. Axl Rose (vocals), Slash (lead guitar) and Duff McKagan (bass) touring together for the first time in nearly two decades, alongside longtime keyboardist Dizzy Reed (since 1990), guitarist Richard Fortus (2001), drummer Frank Ferrer (2006) and new keyboardist Melissa Reese, who made her debut with the band in April.
Rose has remained the only constant member of the legendary hard rock band. Adler was the first original member to go, sacked after a performance at Farm Aid in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1990.
He was replaced in the band by Matt Sorum (ex-The Cult), who performed on Use Your Illusion I & II and the band's covers album, The Spaghetti Incident?. (Sorum later cofounded Velvet Revolver with Slash, McKagan and for a short time, original GN'R guitarist Izzy Stradlin.) Adler's battles with substance abuse were well-publicized, including his appearance on VH1's Celebrity Rehab reality TV series. He appeared at GN'R's Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2012 where he split drumming duties with Sorum. Both Rose and Stradlin skipped the event.
Rose carried on as the band's sole remaining original member following McKagan's exit in 1997. With Reed by his side, he recruited various musicians to record and tour in support of Chinese Democracy, which was finally released in 2008. Those musicians included drummers Ferrer, Josh Freese (ex-A Perfect Circle) and Brian “Brain” Mantia (ex-Primus); guitarists Fortus, Paul “Huge” Tobias, Robin Finck (ex-Nine Inch Nails), Buckethead, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and DJ Ashba; bassist Tommy Stinson (The Replacements) and keyboardist Chris Pitman.
Both Stradlin and McKagan joined the reconfigured version of the band onstage on multiple occasions, but anything close to the current classic lineup reunion remained impossible until Rose and Slash patched up the personal rift between them.
On Wednesday, GN'R's original drummer played two songs from the band's classic debut album, Appetite For Destruction with the band's current lineup. Ferrer graciously gave up the kit to Adler for “Out Ta' Get Me” and “My Michelle.”
“On the drums, you might know this guy,” said Rose, as he introduced Adler in Cincinnati.
— Guns N' Roses (@gunsnroses) July 7, 2016
Hey Cincinnati, you fuckers were awesome tonight! Thank you. It was a special evening. Cheers! iiii]; )'
— Slash (@Slash) July 7, 2016
Thank you Cincy! Rowdy as HELL!!
— Duff McKagan (@DuffMcKagan) July 7, 2016
Watch fan filmed footage of Adler's reunion with Guns N' Roses below.