During a show in Edmonton, Canada earlier this week, rock band Guns N’ Roses further proved the late Glen Campbell’s reach as one of popular music’s seminal vocalists and guitarists. The band surprised its audience with a cover of “Wichita Lineman,” a Jimmy Webb composition that helped propel Campbell to global stardom in the late ’60s.
The true to the original cover allowed fans to hear a stripped down, acoustic take on Slash’s guitar virtuosity, in the vein of “Patience.” Axl Rose, a singer with a scientifically great vocal range, offers an earnest attempt at singing country without added rock frontman bravado. The fitting tribute ends with Rose simply saying, “For Glen.”
Before the song, Rose introduced it as something the band had never performed live. He also admitted it might not be everyone there’s cup of tea. Considering the number of audience members clamoring for a Chris Cornell tribute, it wasn’t necessary what fans wanted. One woman loudly laughs about not recognizing the song about halfway through, not that she constitutes a majority.
Cover songs can’t win them all, especially when they are from outside a band’s chosen genre. Still, Guns N’ Roses offered a fitting tribute for Campbell as touching as any by his country peers.