'I felt like I was 14 again'
Long-time Guns N' Roses fan, 41, wins dream trip to see their comeback tour
First, it was a 45-minute downpour during the opening act on Day 1.
Then a pre-concert hailstorm followed by two hours of unrelenting rain during the actual set on Day 2.
But Mr Ganesan Kandasamy was willing to brave the elements in just a thin cotton hoodie just so he could realise his teenage dream of watching his favourite US rock group Guns N' Roses live in concert for the first time.
The lucky fan had scored not one but two pairs of standing tickets to see the legendary band in Mexico City on both April 19 and 20 in an all-expenses paid trip which included return flight tickets and accommodation.
Guns N' Roses - whose original members parted ways with controversial frontman Axl Rose in the 90s - are currently on their long-anticipated Not In This Lifetime... comeback tour, which kicked off with an intimate performance in Los Angeles early last month.
The last stop - for now - will be in San Diego on Aug 22.
Mr Ganesan, 41, a Singaporean, was picked from over 8,000 entrants in ONE FM 91.3's Big Ones SMS contest in partnership with local concert promoter LAMC Productions.
The contest ran for two weeks before Mr Ganesan was announced the winner on April 8 on the station's #1 Breakfast Show.
"I initially wanted to buy my own ticket for the second show so when ONE FM (told me) that they are throwing that in as well, I was so surprised and was close to tears," the human resource professional told The New Paper in a telephone interview.
THRONE: Axl Rose (above) performing seated after fracturing a bone in his foot early last month. PHOTOS COURTESY OF GANESAN KANDASAMY
Getting to watch Guns N' Roses twice is more than he could ever ask for.
"Before YouTube, I settled for bootleg DVDs of their live performances and watched them with a sense of amazement and wonder. I felt the same exhilaration when I watched them live last month. I felt like I was 14 years old again," he said.
It was at that age when his classmate introduced him to Guns N' Roses by lending him a cassette tape of the band's second album G N' R Lies (1988).
He vividly recalled the inside sleeve of the cover artwork which featured a seductive, naked woman posing provocatively.
"As a 14-year-old boy seeing such a cover, I was drawn to the album. It's embarrassing, but it's the truth. If the cover is good, the music should be good too," said Mr Ganesan with a laugh.
For him, that marked the moment when he was first exposed to rock and heavy metal music.
Since then, he has been a diehard fan of Guns N' Roses, even selecting the band's 1992 hit November Rain for his wedding dinner walk-in song in 2003.
REUNITED: Guns N' Roses lead guitarist Slash (on big screen) with Duff McKagan and Axl Rose (in foreground). PHOTOS COURTESY OF GANESAN KANDASAMY
It was only apt that the father of one travelled to Mexico City with his wife of 13 years to see his idols.
The opportunity could not have arrived at a better time.
Rose, 54, had reunited after two decades with lead guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan, sharing the stage for the first time since 1993.
Mr Ganesan also witnessed something other fans have never seen at the band's previous tours - Rose performing atop a grand throne loaned to him by US rock act Foo Fighters' frontman Dave Grohl.
Rose had reportedly fractured a bone in his left foot early last month but had soldiered on for the rest of their shows, with plates and screws inserted to help his foot heal.
The two gigs in Mexico City, lasting nearly three hours each, featured well-loved classics like Sweet Child O' Mine, November Rain and Knockin' On Heaven's Door.
"Axl Rose was still a dynamo of energy even sitting on the throne, with a leg cast, throughout the performance. He can still sing after all these years and his injury did not affect the performance. There was great chemistry with the rest of the band too," recalled Mr Ganesan.
Another highlight for him was watching the original line-up doing songs like Chinese Democracy and Better from the 2008 album Chinese Democracy.
To cap off his two days of Guns N' Roses madness, he also scored the band's two-page setlist and a drum stick on the second day.
"This is something I will never forget and as a fan, I can only hope they will continue to make great music," said Mr Ganesan.