BY LARISHA PAUL
Carrie Underwood’s Denim & Rhinestones tour only has a few dates to go before it wraps up, but she’s got the set down to a science. Every night, after almost two hours of music, she returns for her first encore with a cover of Guns N’ Roses hit “Welcome to the Jungle.” Anyone at her Los Angeles show on Monday who had looked up the setlist beforehand knew it was coming, but they didn’t know frontman Axl Rose would be hitting the stage for it, too.
“Los Angeles, I want to hear you make some noise,” Underwood called out to the arena audience, pausing momentarily before adding: “For Axl Rose.” In a zebra print jacket and black jeans, the frontman opted for denim over rhinestones.
Underwood and Rose first performed together at Stagecoach Festival in 2022, where they ran through “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Paradise City.” Later that summer, Guns N’ Roses extended their own offer, asking Underwood to guest on the same two songs onstage in Tottenham, England.
“It was many years in the making,” Underwood told Rolling Stone about drawing the reclusive musician out of hiding for his Stagecoach debut. “I’ve been covering Guns N’ Roses my whole life, pretty much, and definitely onstage for the past 15 years at least. I had asked before if he would ever come sing, or if I could come to him somewhere. We had a couple almost maybes, where it almost maybe would have happened, but for various reasons, it wasn’t the right time.”
She added: “But [for Stagecoach] I asked. I sent him an email and said, ‘We’re so close to you,’ and explained the why and what he meant to me. The way I learned how to sing was I would pick really hard vocalists to try to emulate, and his voice always mesmerized me. I was like, ‘How is he doing the things that he’s doing?’ So I told him all that…and he came! We had rehearsals and everything went very smoothly. It was easy for all of us to be around each other. Hopefully, he had a good time.”
After “Welcome to the Jungle,” Underwood closed her L.A. show with “Before He Cheats.” The tour wraps on Friday, March 17, with one last show in Seattle.
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BY LARISHA PAUL