Axl Rose and his reconfigured band took the stage at the House of Blues in Las Vegas around 3:30 a.m. New Year’s Day, reportedly because a Goo Goo Dolls concert preceding the GNR show didn’t end until well after midnight.

Rose greeted his patient fans with a sheepish “Good morning,” according to the Los Angeles Times. “I’ve just woke up. I’ve been taking a nap for about eight years.”

If anyone in the sold-out hall had dozed off waiting for the belated show to begin, Guns N’ Roses woke them up by launching into their early hit “Welcome To The Jungle.”

While they warmed up the crowd with the familiar chestnut, GNR also mixed a fair smattering of new material into the nearly two-hour show with five songs expected to appear on the long-awaited Chinese Democracy album.

In addition to “Oh My God,” which was previously released on the “End of Days” movie soundtrack, new songs debuted included “The Blues,” “Chinese Democracy,” “Oklahoma” and “Silk Worms.”

Besides showcasing the new material, GNR dished out plenty of the tried and true, including “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “November Rain,” “Live and Let Die” and “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”

The show was not without its glitches – Rose announced that the band had only begun rehearsing three days before the gig, and took technical problems in good humor. When the piano malfunctioned, Rose hopped on top of it and sang “Patience” as the crowd chanted “Welcome back!”

Rose and keyboardist Dizzy Reed were the only members of the band remaining from previous incarnations. But at least one of the new members showed early on that he doesn’t intend to play the role of anonymous backup musician to the charismatic frontman.

Aptly named guitarist Buckethead performed the entire show with a trademark Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his head and a white “Phantom of the Opera”-style mask on his face.

Other new members of the band include bassist Tommy Stinson (ex-Replacements), drummer Brian “Brain” Mantia (Primus), and guitarists Chris Pittman (Replicants), Paul Tobias (aka Paul Huge) and Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails).

Guns N’ Roses is next scheduled to perform January 14 at the Brazilian mega-fest Rock in Rio, and a full tour is expected later in the year. The album Chinese Democracy – reported to be some five years in the making – is reportedly due to hit store shelves in June.