Today’s Daily Song of the Day: Guns N’ Roses — “Madagascar Medley”

Jason McGathey
2 min readMar 15, 2020

I remember watching this live on MTV — a bunch of us were hanging out at a friend’s apartment on Winterset that night. Everyone’s general impression seemed to be that this medley wasn’t so much bad as it was…kind of like we had stepped into some sort of alternate dimension.

Jimmy Fallon introduces the band, and seems extremely nervous — although it’s hard to say whether he’s just that excited, or more worried that Axl might bite his leg. You can find the full version with his introduction elsewhere, but this clip features just the music: classics “Welcome To The Jungle” and “Paradise City,” with a new song called “Madagascar” wedged into the middle.

Though he was once the biggest rock star on the planet, I’m pretty sure that this was the first time I’d seen Axl Rose in about 8 years. Back then he still had his regular band intact, but now is playing with some cobbled together lineup of weirdos — Buckethead, Robin Finck from Nine Inch Nails, Tommy Stinson of the Replacements. Axl can still hit the notes, at least when he’s standing still; he does sound a bit winded after running around, although this makes you wonder why he would do so in the first place. It still seems weird he debuted a piece of “Chinese Democracy” in a surprise appearance on national TV, some six years before it was released. Our official verdict that night was that “Madagascar” was decent (and clearly Rose was more interested in singing that than he was the mildewy hits), but the big joke was that after all these years worrying about his new lineup…he probably sounded the worst out of anyone.