No Need To Use Your Illusion: Guns N’ Roses ‘Use Your Illusion I, II and Super Deluxe’ album review


Photo from Spotify

Mike Singer, Music Manager

Almost 31 years ago, Guns N’ Roses broke the Earth for the second and third time in their career with the release of the “Use Your Illusion” records. 

Coming off the very successful juggernaut that was “Appetite For Destruction” which contained hits like “Welcome To The Jungle” and “ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” how could the band get any higher?

Enter the Illusion records. Released on the same day of Sept. 17. 1991, on the backs of popular songs like “Civil War,” “Don’t Cry,” and smash hit “November Rain” and through the chaos that was guitarist Izzy Stradlin quitting the band, GNR pushed.

Almost 31 years later, fans were able to celebrate the release of those records with three different releases. The super deluxe set includes 77 songs over 7 hours and 21 minutes. In the super deluxe set, it includes both “Use Your Illusion” records along with two full live concerts from The Ritz Theatre in New York City on May 16, 1991, as well as the Las Vegas show from the Thomas & Mack Center on Jan. 25, 1992. The lucky part for fans was the releasement of both “Use Your Illusion I” and “Use Your Illusion II” as separate records with more live recordings from legendary shows such as the Paris, France show at the Hippodrome De Vincennes on June 6, 1992, as well as live from London, England at Wembley Stadium on Aug. 31, 1991.

I won’t go into exact detail about every individual song like I normally do since there are 133 total songs between the three records. Instead, I’ll talk more broadly about the records and pinpoint anything interesting.

The fact that Guns N’ Roses put out a super deluxe set to celebrate the anniversary of the Illusion records is awesome. There have been videos circulating on YouTube for years of the live shows that were put out on these albums so it’s great to finally listen to them on my phone.

I love how both records are remastered and shown the care and the love that they deserve and put on one record so that fans can enjoy them all in one place.

Guns N’ Roses were always known for going bigger and grander in everything that they do so it is no surprise that they went bigger and grander for these releases.

It’s great that they acknowledged that these records deserve this recognition and to also add the two live concerts from this tour is even better. Prior to this release, all fans got was the “Live Era ‘87-’93” record. It’s awesome that we have more than enough music from the Illusion tours to hear Guns N’ Roses in their prime before they disbanded in ‘96 following the departure of Slash which was followed by drummer Matt Sorum and bassist Duff McKagan leaving by ‘98 and rhythm guitarist, Gilby Clarke who replaced Izzy Stradlin, left after the very last show the band ever played.

One of the best things about the live material on the super deluxe edition is the covers that they use to play in their set that they don’t play anymore. Some of the covers include Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” at the beginning of ‘Civil War,” The Eagles “Hotel California” and Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed” at the beginning of “Knocking On Heavens Door” which is a Bob Dylan cover. They also cover The Rolling Stone’s “Wild Horses” and Queen’s “Sail Away Sweet Sister” at the beginning of “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

The good thing about all the remastered songs is that they are nice and crisp and you can hear each band member playing which was a little bit lost in the master versions that came out in ‘91.

Moving on to the two records themselves is that, besides the remastered songs, they also have rare live versions of songs such as “14 Years” and my favorite, “Bad Apples” from the legendary Rock In Rio concert.

The final really neat thing that the band threw into these records was the guest appearances from Joe Perry and Steven Tyler from Aerosmith when they jammed on “Mama Kin” and “Train Kept A Rollin’” from the Paris, France show.

They also included Lenny Kravitz and his hit song “Mama Said” from the same show as Aerosmith. Since Slash played the solo on that Kravitz song, I thought it was pretty cool that GNR could bring Kravitz out for that song during their show.

The Aerosmith and Lenny Kravitz footage was widely available on YouTube but it’s even better to have it on platforms like Apple Music and Spotify so we can hear the clean, crisp versions of the songs.

As a huge Guns N’ Roses fan since middle school and watching all these shows on YouTube and owning the Illusion records as one of my first records ever, I love having these remastered and live records


Finally, it’s time for The Singer’s Thoughts:

  1. I love that GNR decided to finally celebrate these records and add live concerts to the box set, it shows they care about their past and acknowledge it.
  2. Now since there aren’t any major anniversaries, it’s time for the band to jump into the studio and either release a full-length record or a small EP of new material, fans know there is music recorded so it’s time to release it
  3. New music will mean more touring for the band and since their reunion tour did so well, think about all the touring and money they could make from touring new material and a new record. I’ve only seem them once but I’m dying to see them again.