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17th August 2003 GNR play Japan

Guns N' Roses have started their World tour in Hong Kong - a set that included two new songs. The band played the first night of a brief tour in support of new album 'Chinese Democracy' at the Hong Kong Exhibition Hall. The band performed a two hour greatest hits set, punctuated with two unreleased songs, 'Madagascar' and 'Chinese Democracy'. The title track had previously been premiered by the band at their dates last year.

Since the end of the show, fans have been emailing nme.com, enthusing about the gig.

One wrote: "The show went down a storm. People were quite cynical beforehand. The band hasn't released new material in a decade, has an unrecognisable line-up and everyone has forgotten about them. But once the band started playing a set that was almost all old songs the atmosphere was quite special. Axl has new band around him, but they are tight, and he can still scream like a banshee."

Another added: "I've just witnessed some kind of phenomenon, the most intense and remarkable 2 hours of my life, I have been to countless gigs but never before have I been so totally overwhelmed and engulfed by such an awesome performance as tonight. This band is going to take the world by storm they are simply amazing. As musicians there is no band ever that has the talent of this one and as for charisma every member is a superstar.

"The highlight for me though was Mr Axl Rose. He looked young and healthy and his voice was stunning, he will go down in history as the greatest frontman ever, he was totally awesome and should be commended."

During the gig, singer Axl Rose mainly concentrated on his singing. However, he did pause to show the audience a photograph that is likely to appear on the cover of 'Chinese Democracy'. It depicts a Chinese street, and in the background 'Guns 'N Roses' can be seen scrawled on a wall.

The band played:
'Welcome To The Jungle'
'It's So Easy'
'Mr. Brownstone'
'Live And Let Die'
'Think About You'
'You Could Be Mine'
'Sweet Child O' Mine'
'Knockin' On Heaven's Door'
'Madagascar'
'November Rain'
'Out Ta Get Me'
'Rocket Queen'
'Chinese Democracy'
'Patience'
'Nightrain'
'My Michelle'
'Paradise City'


From here, Guns 'N Roses head off to Japan, with dates at the Summer Sonic festival in Tokyo and Osaka. They then come to the UK to headline the Carling Weekend in Leeds (23), and end their tour at the London Docklands Arena (26).

After the shows, the band will put the finishing touches to 'Chinese Democracy', although there is currently no confirmed release date.