Credit: Paul Warner/

The lasting images from the peak of Guns N’ Roses’ reign are all epic: The massive stadium crowds, the white leather suits, the entirety of the “November Rain” video.

It’s difficult to consider them as a club band, and yet just like all big bands before them, they had to start somewhere.

In an effort to remind the world that Axl & Co. used to be, uh, smaller, Guns N’ Roses announced that they will play a series of shows at small venues in February. The centerpiece of the run will be a stop at New York’s Webster Hall, which only holds about 1,200 people for rock shows and was the site of a notorious GNR show taped by MTV in 1988.

Back then, the club was called the Ritz, which is what it will be re-christened when Axl and his band of merry men take the stage on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

The rest of the run shakes out like this: Two other New York shows (Roseland Ballroom on Feb. 10 and Terminal 5 on Feb. 12), then shows at the House of Blues in Chicago (Feb. 19), the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Md. (Feb. 23), and the House of Blues in Atlantic City (February 24). Presale tickets go live on Tuesday, Jan. 31, for the New York shows, with the rest of the lot on sale this Wednesday, February 1.

Axl is hardly the first rock giant to book a back-to-the-start run in smaller venues:

Just a few weeks ago, Van Halen made their triumphant return via an hour-long set at a room in Greenwich Village, New York, that only held 250 people, and Nine Inch Nails did a similar spin through NYC on their farewell tour a few years back, playing not only Webster Hall and Terminal 5 but also the much smaller Bowery Ballroom. Rage Against the Machine played some notoriously rowdy small-room shows after opening dates on U2’s stadium-sized Popmart tour, and even the Rolling Stones have gone to small rooms in the midst of massive sold-out runs.

The current iteration of Guns N’ Roses, of course, only features one original member of the band (that being Axl Rose himself), though a number of the “new” members (including bassist Tommy Stinson and keyboardist Dizzy Reed) now have more GNR tenure than Slash.

The band has been elected to this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, though it’s still unclear who will be showing up to collect the prize or participate in the requisite jam session that ends each of those shows.

What do you think of Axl’s invasion of clubs? Will you be buying a ticket? Get on the night train in the comments.

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