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The Story of Slash and Duff McKagan’s Last Classic-Era Guns N’ Roses Show

K. Mazur, Getty Images

When Slash and Duff McKagan walked offstage following Guns N’ Roses‘ July 17, 1993, concert in Buenos Aires, they had no idea it would be their last gig with the classic-era lineup of the band. They wouldn’t play with singer Axl Rose again until an unexpected partial reunion more than two decades later.

Their 1993 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 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, before finally reuniting with Rose.)

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.

But the story wasn’t quite over. In 2016, Slash and McKagan rejoined Rose and Guns N’ Roses for a massive world tour that carried over well into the next year, opening a successful new chapter in the history of one of rock’s most enduring bands.

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