Guns N’ Roses’ Ford Field show: What you need to know

The ins and outs of the concert many thought they’d never see... ‘Not in This Lifetime,’ at least

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Welcome to the jungle, Detroit.

On Thursday, Ford Field plays host to the kickoff date of Guns N’ Roses’ “Not in This Lifetime” tour, which reunites the core members of Guns N’ Roses’ original lineup for its first tour since 1993.

The band played a series of well-received warmup gigs in April, including headlining gigs at both weekends of the Coachella festival. Thursday’s show launches a 25-date tour that stretches through August and wraps Aug. 22 at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium.

As of Wednesday morning, tickets for Thursday’s show were still available at all price levels: $49.50, $63.50, $83.50, $103.50, $153.50 and $253.50. Tickets are available through Ford Field’s website or by phone at (877) 212-8898.

Gates to Ford Field open at 7 p.m., and the show is scheduled to begin with opening act Alice in Chains taking the stage at 8:30 p.m.

Expect Guns N’ Roses to hit the stage between 9:45-10 p.m., says production manager Dale “Opie” Skjerseth, who spoke to members of the media at Ford Field on Wednesday.

That’s despite Axl Rose’s history of on stage tardiness, which has long been part of his mystique. In Las Vegas, where the group played two shows in April, GNR hit the stage just before midnight on the first night and around 10:30 p.m. the second night.

Skjerseth said Rose is up and moving after breaking his left foot at GNR’s first performance back at Los Angeles’ Troubadour on April 1 and is ready to go for Thursday’s concert.

The group members — including Rose, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagen — arrived in Detroit at various times over the last several days, and performed a three and a half hour soundcheck on Tuesday night at Ford Field. The group will perform another soundcheck Wednesday night.

“They’ve been rehearsing every song they know,” said Skjerseth, who said the concert will likely be between two-and-a-half to nearly three hours. “They’re ready to do anything.”

Expect upwards of 25 songs in the setlist, pulling mainly from the group’s “Appetite for Destruction” and “Use Your Illusion” albums.

The early shows featured flashy pyrotechnics and dancing go-go girls but minimal stage banter, according to reports.

“Every bell and whistle you can think of with Guns N’ Roses will be here,” Skjerseth said.

Guns N’ Roses’ stage was erected at Ford Field after the tear down of Beyoncé’s stage following her June 14 concert at the Detroit Lions’ home. A crew of 125 people loaded out 20 production trucks and 16 steel trucks over three 12 hour shifts, and will break down the stage and production in less than 24 hours following Thursday’s concert.

The ability to rehearse at the venue is one of the reasons Ford Field was chosen as the tour’s kickoff, Skjerseth said.

Come showtime, fans with floor tickets should enter Ford Field through Gates C or E, located along the north side of Ford Field. These are the only gates that will have wristbands that will allow ticket holders to get to their seats.

Ticket holders with Flash Digital Tickets will be required to show valid ID along with the credit card they used to purchase tickets in order to gain entry into Ford Field. No tickets will be left at will call, so all members of each ticket holder’s party must be present in order to gain access to the venue. This ticketing process is likely to cause delays while entering Ford Field, so fans should allow extra time to enter the building, though it’s worth noting the ticketing process for last week’s Beyoncé concert was relatively smooth.

Parking will be $25 in Ford Field-controlled lots, located directly north of the stadium along Montcolm Street, as well as the parking deck directly west of the stadium, along St. Antoine street. Prices may vary at other surface lots around the city.

Downtown traffic has the potential to be congested; in addition to the Guns N’ Roses concert, Comerica Park is hosting an afternoon Tigers game (first pitch is 1:10 p.m.), and Ringo Starr is playing the Fox Theatre Thursday night.

Real time traffic updates and suggested routes will be given through Ford Field’s Twitter feed, @fordfield.

Detroit’s People Mover is currently closed for maintenance, so plan accordingly.

Cameras with detachable or extended lenses will not be permitted, nor will any food, beverages, water bottles, backpacks, laser pointers, banners, signs, iPads, tablets or large purses. Bags and purses must measure 8 1/2” x 14” x 10” to be allowed inside the venue.

More information is available on Ford Field’s event page, located here.

(313) 222-2284