Guns N' Roses touch down in Wellington ahead of capital concert
Rock superstars Guns N' Roses have landed in Wellington.
The band, which regrouped last year and is in the middle of a long tour which has already taken in the US, South America and Japan, was spotted arriving at Wellington Airport on Tuesday morning.
Complete with mainstay Axl Rose and the recently reunited Slash and Duff McKagan, the band, which formed in Los Angeles in 1985, will perform at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Thursday before heading to Auckland for its second and final show on Saturday.
Having reached the height of its stardom in the 1980s and early 1990s, the band has received rave reviews since Slash and McKagan announced they were rejoining the band early last year.
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Rolling Stone magazine hailed the band's performance after one of its shows on its extensive tour, which began in June last year and will end back in the US in September.
"This was the real thing, the thing we'd all been waiting for: the triumphant return of one of the most important bands to cross rock music history. And it happened in our lifetime," the magazine said.
The band arrived in Wellington direct from Tokyo, after playing a show there on Sunday.
Plane spotter Tim Gorman said the plane pulled up and almost straight away a Range Rover, Jeep, and Audi pulled up to whisk the band away.
He saw Axl Rose get off and straight into a vehicle but had not yet spotted Slash, the band's most-celebrated member.
But it appeared the band snubbed the Audi, which carried only luggage.
The sign-written Boeing 767 made a "beautiful landing" as it touched down in Wellington just after 7am, Gorman said.
Westpac Stadium boss Shane Harmon said preparations for the show were already well underway, with a particularly tight turnaround following the Wellington Sevens last weekend.
As soon as the goalposts were down and the trophy awarded on Sunday, crews moved in to set up the stage and equipment.
The stadium usually had a four-day turnaround for big shows but the Sevens meant they had just three full days.
Containers full of gear were waiting at the stadium along with crews as the tournament ended, he said.
"They literally started bumping in as soon as the cup was awarded."
About 30,000 tickets had already sold, putting it on track to be larger than AC/DC's recent visit and similar to the Aussie rockers' 2010 visit.
"I expect it to be loud and there will be some very big guitar solos."
A capacity crowd for the stadium during the concert would be about 40,000 people, Harmon said.