Axl Rose Made a Surprise Appearance at Stagecoach This Weekend

He joined Carrie Underwood for two Guns N' Roses songs

Axl Rose and Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood and Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses perform onstage during Day 2 of the 2022 Stagecoach Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 30, 2022 in Indio, California.
Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Stagecoach

Axl Rose showing up at a music festival doesn’t sound all that shocking. Axl Rose showing up at a country music festival, though — well, that’s something you might not see coming. And yet that’s precisely what happened on Saturday night, when Carrie Underwood included a pair of Guns N’ Roses songs in her headlining set at Stagecoach — complete with Rose joining her on vocals.

The Los Angeles Times has more details on Rose’s appearance. Pop critic Mikael Wood hailed the intensity of Underwood’s performance for the duration of her set. “Underwood sent her voice booming out over the expanse of the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif., with such intensity that you could see the veins popping out from her forehead,” Wood wrote.

Rose joined Underwood and her band for “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Paradise City,” and if the video clips that have surfaced of the performance are any indication, the covers of both took a faithful approach. Underwood herself wore a Guns N’ Roses t-shirt, and later called the experience “the greatest night of my life.”

The idea of someone who grew up on Rose’s music eventually playing music with him isn’t all that surprising, in this context. It also points to the ways in which musical genre boundaries are breaking down — Wood notes that Shania Twain recently made an appearance during Harry Styles’s set at Coachella.

Had you told someone around the time of Guns N’ Roses’ heyday in the 1980s and 90s that Rose would eventually make a high-profile appearance at a country music festival, you might well get some odd looks. On the other hand, Rose himself looks like he’s have a fine time; maybe one of the reasons genre walls are crumbling is because it opens the door for a more enjoyable experience for musicians everywhere.

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