ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Welcome (back) to the jungle: Guns N' Roses is playing the Hard Rock casino this year.
The iconic hard rock band has booked two dates at the Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City on September 11 and 12 in the clearest sign yet that big-name entertainment is returning to the seaside gambling resort as it emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.
Guns N' Roses will also be playing Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood in South Florida on Saturday, October 2 and Sunday, October 3.
The band's current lineup includes its biggest stars, lead singer Axl Rose and guitarist Slash along with original bassist Duff McKagan and longtime keyboardist Dizzy Reed. Opening the shows will be Mammoth WVH, the band led by Van Halen bassist Wolfgang Van Halen, son of the late guitar legend Eddie Van Halen.
The band says the Hard Rock shows will be the "most intimate" of their tour, which normally plays huge sports stadiums. The Atlantic City casino's Etess Arena has about 6,000 seats and the capacity of Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood is 7,000 seats.
"Without question, we believe that entertainment is ready to come back," said Joe Lupo, Hard Rock's president. "The artists and their management have been hungry for the past couple months as we waited for capacity restrictions to lift and vaccinations to increase. We're looking to bring fans in here and make a statement."
Tickets go on sale Friday at noon, although fan club and other presales will begin before that.
Other big-name acts are due to play Atlantic City this summer and fall, some of which were rescheduled from last year when the pandemic forced the casinos to close for 3 1/2 months, and to operate at reduced capacity even after they opened.
Those restrictions, since lifted, made it impossible to book A-list acts because only a small percentage of seats could be sold.
This year's scheduled shows include Kiss, Toby Keith, Dierks Bentley and Pitbull, all at Hard Rock; Phish on the beach; Michael Buble at Boardwalk Hall; Jerry Seinfeld at the Borgata, and the Beach Boys and Alice Cooper in separate shows at the Ocean casino.