20 Years Ago: Slash and Duff McKagan Play Their Last Guns N’ Roses Show
Their show at Argentina’a Estadio River Plate was pretty much a typical one for the band at that point: a ‘Use Your Illusion’-heavy set, a Rolling Stones cover, some dude delivering pizza to the group onstage. It was close to their 200th show in almost two and a half years, and the final stop on a 27-country tour that played to more than seven million fans.
By the time they took the stage for the last show of the grueling tour, everyone had had enough of road life. “I was definitely physically and mentally exhausted,” Slash told Guitar World in 2008. He wasn’t the only one. The guitarist pointed out that McKagan “was in dire need of some serious rehabilitation” after the tour.
The band tore through their usual set, including a mix of ‘Illusion’ and ‘Appetite for Destruction’ songs like ‘You’re Crazy,’ which was followed by a man walking onstage in a Domino’s Pizza uniform and delivering a pie to singer Axl Rose. After that, the band continued their set, threw in covers of Stones and Who songs and ended with ‘Paradise City.’
And that was it. “I knew I was just done,” Slash said. “But I couldn’t look too far into the future to imagine what would happen next.” What happened next was an extended break, then delays and then Slash and McKagan — as well as guitarist Gilby Clarke and drummer Matt Sorum — leaving Guns N’ Roses. (Slash, McKagan and Sorum would then join forces in Velvet Revolver.)
But it wasn’t a bad concert that prompted Slash to walk away from the band he helped make one of the ’80s’ biggest. As he told Guitar World, “the final show was great.” He even preferred the “stripped-down and raw” edge the later shows on the tour adapted. He was simply “very worn out.” The long, historic tour (one of the longest and historic in rock history) was finally over. And so was Guns N’ Roses’ greatest era.