The tour that never happened with Pearl Jam, Guns N’ Roses and U2

Think about a tour with Pearl Jam, Guns N’ Roses and U2 together. Axl Rose had this idea in the summer of 1993, it never happened, but…

Photo: Henry Ruggeri

Doug Goldstein, former Guns N’ Roses manager, revealed this possibility in an episode of the podcast Appetite for Distortion.

In 1993, Axl Rose asked Goldstein to organize a tour – or a short leg of shows – with his band, together with Pearl Jam and U2. He affirmed he didn’t care about the order in which the bands – that were at the moment the most famous rock bands in the planet – would be playing.

It is not a mystery that Axl was a big fan of the Seattle music movement. In 1992 Guns N’ Roses had Soundgarden as opening band of their tour. The next year the Los Angeles band recorded a cover of Big Dumb Sex and put it in their cover album The Spaghetti Incident?.

When Axl Rose started to work on Chinese Democracy, he wanted to obtain a sound between Nine Inch Nails and Pearl Jam (this direction was not approved by Slash though) he also had Dave Abbruzzese (who had been already out of Pearl Jam for a while) play drums in the infinite recording sessions of the album (those sessions however were not included in the final version of the record). We also remember the famous quarrel between Axl Rose and Kurt Cobain during the 1992 MTV Video Music Award, but this is a different story…

Back to the tour: Initially, Goldenstein talked to Paul McGuinnes, U2 manager, who said he was interested in the idea. It didn’t go as well with Kelly Curtis instead, the Pearl Jam manager, without even listening to the offer, said that he (Goldenstein) shouldn’t tell him how to do his fucking job. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise since in 1993 Pearl Jam were already fighting against the huge success that suddenly had hit them. Guns N’ Roses were also very vey distant from the musical and ideological direction the North-West bands took during those years.

Recently, while promoting his new side-project with Painted Shield, Stone Gossard talked about the rumors related to this “tour that never happened”.

Pearl Jam guitarist said that even if he would have expected such proposal from Axl Rose, he doesn’t see U2 accepting that idea, since in 1993 they were the greatest rock band of the planet. Stone Gossard said he doesn’t remember being asked if he wanted to tour with Guns N’ Roses, he also added, with a bit of irony, that setting up all the instruments for such a show would have been a nightmare.

In the summer of 1993, Pearl Jam accepted to open for U2 during their 4 Italian shows, part of the colossal ZooTv Tour. Guns N’ Roses weren’t involved.