Guns N' Roses, 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door' @ The Ritz 1988

After doing an interview in Cedar Rapids a couple weeks ago, I was rolling down Interstate 380 in the sunshine and heard something on Rock 108 that I had not heard in forever — this live version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Guns N’ Roses.

I love this live version. It seemed to be Rock 108’s default version of the song when I was in high school, but the station stopped playing it sometime when I was in college. I had not heard it since and missed it so much it hurt. Well, not really — but I had no clue when or where it was recorded and could never find it, though I did not make much of an effort. (I suppose I could have called the station.) Thankfully, legendary Rock 108 DJ Michael Cross provided information after the song so I was finally able to track it down online.

What sets this version apart is when Axl Rose tells the audience to “get some aggressions out and help me sing this part.” That is why it so memorable for me, especially when Rose says, “Let’s make ‘em pull the faders back,” and screams “LET THIS ONE BE LOUD!”

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