SANTIAGO – The inaugural Santiago Rock City musical festival in the Chilean capital winds to a close on Saturday, when Def Leppard will look to deliver a fitting finale to an event that already has featured plenty of star power in the form of The Who and Guns N’ Roses.
Those latter two bands, the headliners of Friday night’s show, shattered any cliches about aging artists and showed that in their case age is truly just a number.
The Who took the stage at 6:30 pm, a time when many concert-goers were still fighting rush-hour traffic, but it only took them one song – “I Can’t Explain” – to get the crowd of both old and young at Monumental Stadium in a frenzy.
Even at ages 73 and 72, vocalist Roger Daltrey and lead guitarist Pete Townshend brought the same power and elegance that has been the band’s trademark on the big stage, with The Who delivering powerful renditions of their greatest hits such as “Who Are You?” “The Seeker,” “You Better You Bet” and “My Generation.”
Vocalist Axl Rose, 55, and Slash, 52, and the rest of Guns N’ Roses then followed at 8:30 pm and maintained the energy at a fever pitch as they rattled through a selection of their repertoire.
They drew mostly from “Appetite for Destruction,” the album that made them global stars when it was released in 1987, delivering blistering performances of songs such as “My Michelle,” “Rocket Queen” and “Mr. Brownstone.”
Perhaps the biggest highlight of the show, which hardly dipped in intensity over three hours, was when the crowd heard the first chords of the band’s mega-hit “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”
The Who and Guns N’ Roses made up for some of the disappointment after Aerosmith canceled their scheduled appearance at this two-day concert due to the poor health of lead singer Steven Tyler.
Now it will be up to Marky Ramone, former drummer of famed American punk rock band the Ramones; and Def Leppard to keep the intensity high in the event’s final performances Saturday night.