Love is a strong word. Way too strong. Tolerate is probably more appropriate though even that might be overstated as a good number of fans dislike Axl. GnR are one of the only bands where a sizeable chunk of the fans despise the lead singer. I hear Billy Corgan has the same effect on his fans. Regardless, to understand this phenomenon, you have to look to the past eras.
AFD & Lies Axl (87-90) = awesome and badass. Stone cold legend and a godly rock n' roller. His vocals in this era are untouchable. This is who everyone reveres or grudgingly respects - even the haters.
UYI Axl (91-94) = A culmination of their creative peak. They are becoming accomplished musicians and most of their greatest compositions are on the Illusion albums. That said, I hesitate to say that Axl is at the peak of his powers here as his vocals are clearly on their way down. The first leg of the tour with Izzy is cool and the band still has that punk rock energy of old. Once Izzy leaves at the end of 1991, Axl becomes a full-on ass clown and the band has transformed into a bloated whale carcass. Aside from a couple of highpoints like the freddie mercury tribute, the era feels really cringe in retrospect largely because of Axl. The albums also suffer from his bullshit overdubs and over-singing everything. Overall, a real mixed bag even if there are some legendary performances and music that come from this era. TSI and Sympathy for the Devil in '94, arguably, has some of his best ever vocals.
Chinese Democracy Axl (1995 - 2001) = Axl is now an enigma with an aura of mystery and coolness. Some of his clownery from the early 90's had even been erased by time. We all wanted to see what he could do because up to that point, musically, Axl - sans my world - was still fire. The HOB show and RIR in 2001 still largely delivered the goods and whet the appetite for what was to come. He still had it even if that voice was a little shaky. Some of the UYI buffoonery (his Liberace wardrobe) was rolled back by this Axl. This guy was worth taking seriously again.
Where the fuck is the album?? Axl (2002-2005) - By this point, he is once again a total fuck-up...but still has that aura of danger and unpredictability. His fashion is again a dumpster fire. Everyone was incredibly letdown by the 2002 tour unraveling. Once Bucket leaves, many of us give up and start jumping ship. The writing is on the wall and the emperor has no clothes.
The Album is coming out this year Axl (2006) - Anyone who was still on board at this point after all the promises made truly believed the album was coming out this year. Axl nails the hammerstein shows and looks the best he has since the 90's. He has clearly hired a stylist because the bizarre fashion is gone. This guy actually looks like he means business - and his voice sounds amazing - nearly like AFD Axl (!). There's even reunion rumors flying in the air. This is the most credible Axl has been since 2001. Most of the album leaks and is very positively received by the fans.
Ok, it's really coming out soon but no one cares anymore Axl (2007-2008) - Welps, he's back to being a fuckup again. This era is all about the drama. It's Interscope's fault. It's whatever producer of the week's fault. Redhead throws everyone under the bus. Public feuds with the old band continue. Christ - just give us the album! Oh the album is coming out finally at the end of 2008 - you're unceremoniously dumping it with no fanfare....and there is hardly anything noteworthy that we haven't already heard a million times? Fuck this is disappointing!
Redneck Axl (2009-2010) - He's decided to tour the album nearly a year later when there's virtually zero momentum left. Another colossal fuckup. He can still sing but the awful fashion is back. Touring an album that has been heard by most people since 2006 goes about as expected. It's all stale by now and people are looking for the exits. They are barely an arena band now.
FAT AXL (2011 - 2015) - What's there left to say at this point? GnR and Axl are a complete joke and a walking car wreck. Fat Axl is a legend for his absolute demolishing of a plate of ribs. The shirts aren't fitting anymore and splitting his pants mid-show has become a real worry. Shows would feature a huffing and puffing Axl with pork rind crumbs around his mouth struggling not to faceplant from exhaustion during the first song in a set. Sometimes he'd just be bottled off stage within the first few songs when fans couldn't be bothered anymore. Cake and yorkshire pudding on his rider are the only reason at this point that he's still showing up to gigs.
Reunion Axl (2016) - He's slimmed down a little and pumped full of meds. The "original" band is apparently back together but they hardly interact onstage. We're still saddled with Fortus, Frank, and another keyboard player. Why? Who knows. Duff and Slash appear to still be hired guns (albeit, handsomely compensated). Vocals are okay - enough to keep the casuals happy enough. Slash is doing all the heavy lifting but Axl's professionalism cannot be denied. This guy shows up on time and sees each show to the end - holy shit. His AC/DC shows are impressive. Unfortunately for GnR fans, the AC/DC fans got far better Axl vocals. The band feels more scripted and staged - which kinda kills the spontaneity. They're boring and predictable now. Where's Izzy?? You brought Steven for two songs?? Well...shit, I guess that's better than nothing. What's keeping our attention ? Will they bring Izzy and Steven full time? Will there be new music? If they're going to be a legacy act - I want the real band, the AFD era lineup!
Shell of former self Axl (2017 - present) - The answers to the above questions? Nah - not happening. None of the band gives a fuck and are coasting on the reunion cash. All they had to do was complete the first year of the tour without issue and the rest is gravy. Touring is a giant ATM machine. The band is now plumbing the depths of Kiss level merchandising. Axl has repaired some of his credibility by being professional and rejuvenated his legitimacy by pairing up with Duff and Slash. The press write some glowing reviews of this legacy act. Fernando, GnR's low-IQ manager, announces that the band is hard at work on an AFD dildo which will be released on their website soon. He is upset to hear that there isn't breathless anticipation on the forums. Hardly anyone cares what this band does by this point. Even Slash is rumored to be showing up for gigs only to collect a paycheck.
Tldr, hardly anyone here gives a fuck about Axl aside from the sideshow at this point. The drama is what sustained many of us all these years. Axl the assclown being mocked by James Hetfield, Mike Patton, Kurt Cobain, Trent Reznor - take your pick. Even that isn't there anymore - so it all has become boring and trite.