Thursday, MAY 14, 1992
BAND ARRIVES in Dublin at 7.15pm on their private jet, having been delayed for five hours in Los Angeles because of radio problems on the plane. The crew has already been over for a week. Four stretch limos wait to ferry the band to the luxury Berkely Court Hotel. Despite secrecy surrounding the band's arrival, several fans, one journalist and a photographer are waiting for them. A smiling Axl Rose rewards them.
Friday, MAY 15
AXL'S SMILING, stubbled face makes the front page of the Irish Independent. Other newspapers and magazines, however, are more concerned whether the good Catholic girls of Ireland bare their breasts on the video screens at the concert - a trend at the band's recent American shows.
While Axl starts his preparations for tomorrow's show, the rest of the band speed through the Irish countryside for a soundcheck at Slane Castle, 30 miles north of Dublin. Set in a natural amphitheater on a curve of the River Boyne, with the castle on a hill to the left of the stage, it's the most beautiful venue on the band's European schedule.
The soundcheck lasts two hours until everyone is satisfied and then the inflatable "beast" is let out of his cage for the first time. Later that night Slash goes to check out the girls in their ball gowns en route for the Trinity Ball, the social highlight of the Dublin year.
Saturday, MAY 16
THE PRESS reports that 800 police - one tenth of Ireland's force - will be patrolling the Slane Castle site. But, apart from drunkenness and minor drug offenses, they have no problems. The little village of Slane (population 1,200) is totally sealed of to traffic as thousands of bandanna'd fans block the main (and only) street, drinking and dancing to ad hoc bands that seem to spring up out of nowhere.
U2 send a crate of 40-year-old Irish whiskey and a barrel of Guinness for the band. A 24-seat Sikorsky helicopter brings the band to the site at 4pm, circling around it three times so that everyone can take pictures of the 50,000 crowd gathered below.
Local band My Little Funhouse, recently signed to Geffen Records, open the show followed by Faith No More. Matt, Duff and Slash go fishing by the river and have their photographs taken in front of the castle. While waiting for Guns N' Roses kids in the audience amuse themselves by building human pyramids with the top figure giving a quick "moon" before loosing his balance. Meanwhile, the police scour the crowd with binoculars, vainly searching for a bared breasts.
Later on, Slash says how pleased he is to be in Dublin. "I can always tell a drinking town when the people in the bar get drunk before I do."
Sunday, MAY 17
THE PREVIOUS night's show makes three front pages in the newspapers. The Sunday World review is headlined "Burns And Roses" (with appropriate 'mooning' pictures).
Slash later goes out to sample some traditional Irish hospitality at Howth Island and there's a mass trip to McDonalds to ward off the first signs of homesickness.
Tuesday, MAY 19
BAND FLY to Prague, Czechoslovakia, in the evening for the first of three shows. They have had to change their hotel after their original choice withdrew having discovered who the band was. Various band members venture forth to find one of the first symbols of Western decadence to reach Czechoslovakia - a strip club.
At a production press conference with the local state promoter, the media is preoccupied with the ticket price, which at 280 crowns ($9) is one of the most expensive ever in Czechoslovakia.
Wednesday, MAY 20
TONIGHT'S SHOW is at the massive Strahov Stadium. 50,000 people turn up for the biggest rock concert in Czechoslovakia since the Rolling Stones played in 1990, just a moth after the country's return to democracy.
There is a huge military police force present to guard the stadium. This is the first date with Soundgarden on the bill. An MTV crew, headed by Headbanger's Ball host/producer Vanessa Warwick, arrives to interview the band at the show in the afternoon.
The band come on stage to the introduction, "Okay, you ex-commie bastards, get ready to rock!" The video screens and pyrotechnics are used for the first time and the inflatable beast is joined by its twin brother. The band is clearly pleased with the audience reaction. Slash says: "I guess you guys don't know much English so I'll just say fucking hi!"
En route from the venue, Axl stops off to admire one of Prague's finest statues in the centre of town. The rest of the band goes out drinking.
Thursday, MAY 21
BAND MEMBERS and entourage go shopping and buy Russian army hats, military paraphernalia and puppets. Throughout the day, a shuttle service is run between the hotel and McDonalds, as the food at the hotel leaves a great deal to be desired.
Friday, MAY 22
THE SHOW at Budapest is at the Nep Stadium, but the band's plane is delayed leaving Prague for four hours by a bomb scare and arrives at Budapest just 20 minutes before scheduled showtime. The band is rushed straight from the tarmac to the stadium with a police escort, at 80 miles per hour, where 70,000 fans are waiting patiently.
Axl greets the crowd by saying: "I'd like to congratulate you on your new-found freedom. I hope it goes well for you."
Three songs into the set the band finds themselves having to compete with a tremendous thunderstorm as lightning flashes around the stadium and driving rain drenches both the the audience and the band. The crowd rip up the plywood they are standing on to construct makeshift umbrellas. Even after the rain ceases the band continues to get wet from the water pouring off the roof of the stadium.
Midway through the set Axl announces: "This is a song that Freddie Mercury asked us to sing for you. He couldn't be here tonight, he had other plans, so we tried to learn it in the dressing room tonight." Axl and Slash then play the same Hungarian folk song 'Tavasziszel' that Queen performed in Budapest at their show in 1985. After two verses Axl lets the crowd take over for the third.
Saturday, MAY 23
BUSKING MUSICIANS playing outside their hotel wake the band. Tour manager John Reese is ordered to pay them off, which he does with $100 bills. Within minutes other aspiring musicians descend on the square in hopes of a similar pay-off.
The band fly to Vienna for tonight's show before 70,000 at the Donau Insel stadium situated beside the river Danube. U2, who are due to play in the same venue the following night, are in attendance.
Afterwards the band is presented with a Golden Penguin Award by magazine Rennbahn Express for the best band of 1991. Later on Axl and Bono, who have been in animated conversation after the concert for an hour, join U2's accountant Ossy Kilkenny for his birthday party at a Viennese restaurant, at which the birthday cake is presented by a naked Adam Clayton.
Sunday, MAY 24
THE BAND returns U2's compliments by going to their concert, which is at the same venue. Axl joins Bono on stage to sing an acoustic version of 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door', which they perform from a tiny circular stage at the end of a walkway-50 metres from the main stage, right in the middle of the crowd. He introduces Axl by saying: "This song could be written for him". Axl's appearance brings an ecstatic response from the audience.
Later that night, Slash and Gilby find themselves in a very upmarket strip club, were the staff pressures them into buying a bottle of champagne, for which they are later charged $300.
Monday, MAY 25
GUNS N' Roses fly to Berlin.
Tuesday, MAY 26
SHOW BEFORE 40,000 at the Berlin Olympic Stadium, built by Hitler for the 1936 Olympics. In the first unpleasant incident of the tour a bottle is thrown on stage. Axl repeatedly calls the offender a "fucking asshole", but the rest of the show contributes without interruption. One woman goes into labour during the show and security and medical staff makes frantic efforts to find her and take her to the hospital.
Thursday, MAY 27
THE BAND fly from Berlin to Stuttgart for the biggest show of the tour do far - 75,000 people at the Cannstatter Wasen. It's also the biggest rock show Stuttgart has ever seen and the first time that this new site has ever been used for a rock concert.
The show starts slightly later then scheduled after the band requests an NWA song to be played before the band come on stage. The CD has to be hurriedly ferried through the crowd to the mixing desk.
The announcer introduces Guns N' Roses with the phrase: "OK you beer swilling, Merc driving mugs…", The band opens the set with 'It's So Easy'.
Saturday, MAY 29
THE BAND fly from Stuttgart to Cologne for another sell-out show in front of 70,000 people at the Mungerdorferstadion. Not even a couple of heavy showers can dampen the crowd's enthusiasm, which is the wildest yet. The band respond by playing two songs - 'Perfect Crime' and 'Rocket Queen' - for the first time on this European tour and 'So Fine' which has only been performed once before. The band's entrance on stage is proceeded by Sid Vicious' version of 'My Way'.
Axl, whose beard is looking more messianic by the day, describes the crowd as "The biggest wet T-shirt contest in the world", to which Gilby responds: "It's a sea of tits". Axl later reminds the crowd: "This is live, not Memorex".
Midway through 'Patience' he stops the show, shouting: "Stop, stop, let's get this son a bitch over" and the band replays the song. Unencumbered by an early curfew, the band play for two hours, 42 minutes, with two encores, making this their longest show yet.
Wednesday, JUNE 3
AFTER THREE days off in Cologne, during which the band spent time shopping, fishing and gambling, they fly to Hannover for a show at the Niedersachsen Stadium with another 60,000 crowd. As this was the only concert in Northern Germany, fans have come from all over the region - including many thousands from Hamburg, two hours drive away - clogging the main roads into Hannover. Members of Germany's leading rock band, The Scorpions, also show up at the gig. Slash's girlfriend, Renee, flies in from Los Angeles to join him.
Thursday, JUNE 4
DURING THE early afternoon, band members and some of their entourage play American football on a small patch of grass outside the hotel. Later, the oppressive humidity is broken by another ferocious thunderstorm as the party waits impatiently at the Hannover Airport Holiday Inn to leave for Paris - Axl's favourite city.
Having checked into the luxurious Hotel De Crillon, overlooking the Place de la Concorde, the band meet up with Jeff Beck, Lenny Kravitz, plus Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith. All of whom have flown in specially for the Paris show, which is to be televised live around the world on Saturday evening. Already, TV and radio networks, who are carrying the show in the US and across Europe, are well installed on site, with satellite uplinks, commentary booths and miles of cable - creating a 'media city' backstage, which is bigger then the band's own compound.
Friday, JUNE 5
SOUNDCHECK AND rehearsal during the afternoon at the Hippodrome in the Bois de Vincennes for tomorrow's show. The band are joined by Lenny Kravitz, who plays 'Always On The Run' (a song that Slash wrote the guitar parts for), Jeff Beck for an instrumental version of 'Locomotive.' And then Beck, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry for a brainstorming version of the Yardbirds 'Train Kept A-Rollin'', which leaves the stage crew in awe.
That evening the band's backline is transported to the Elysee Montmartre club where the band continue rehearsing with Kravitz, Tyler and Perry behind closed doors for two hours.
Saturday, JUNE 6
THE BIG day gets off to a bad start when Jeff Beck is woken at 4pm with a piercing pain in his right ear, which recognizes as a recurrence of tinnitus. After Jeff and Slash talk it over, it is decided not to risk permanent damage to Jeff's hearing. Slash says: "Just playing together during rehearsals and bullshitting together off stage was fucking great. I can't see risking your hearing for the sake of a show. He's meant too much to me and rock 'n' roll in general. It was an honor to be on the same stage as him."
As Jeff returns to London to consult an ear specialist, the band and remaining guest artists make their way to the Vincennes Hippodrome, where 58,000 - including French rock personalities Johnny Halliday, Jean-Michel Jarre and Eddie Mitchell, plus leading French ballet dancer Patrick Dupond and top French actor Patrick Bruel - are in place as the show kicks off to a welcoming: "Oui, Oui Motherfuckers!". The band power through 'It's So Easy', 'Mr. Brownstone', 'Live And Let Die', 'Attitude' and 'Bad Obsession' before introducing Lenny Kravitz, whose 'Always On The Run' stirs up the crowd still further.
'Double Talkin' Jive' is "dedicated" to movie actor Warren Beatty by Axl, who is wearing a T-shirt that says 'Nobody Knows I'm A Lesbian'.
The band return for the encores with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry and play the classic Aerosmith hit 'Mama Kin' and 'Train Kept A-Rollin'', before Guns N' Roses close the two-and-a-half hour show themselves with 'Don't Cry' and 'Paradise City'.
Sunday, JUNE 7
AFTER A day spent recuperating and sightseeing, band and entourage dines out at the River Café - a floating restaurant on the River Seine - to celebrate band manager Doug Gouldstein and Jenny's second wedding anniversary. During the day hundreds of fans have gathered outside the Hotel de Crillon and a decoy limousine is parked at the front entrance while the band make good their escape unnoticed from a side entrance. The band's security team then leave in the limo and shake off pursuing cars in a high speed chase around the streets of Paris.
Monday, JUNE 8
THE BAND go shopping and sightseeing in Paris. Axl goes to the Louvre to see his favorite statue, The Winged Victory, after which he takes a boat trip on the Seine. However, he has not been sleeping and by late Monday is in a state of complete physical exhaustion.
Doctors recommend that Axl takes 36 hours rest, so the band postpone the Manchester Maine Road show, scheduled for Tuesday June 9 until the following Sunday. The band request that the production catering, as it's now not needed for the Manchester load-in be given to a local hospice.
Tuesday, JUNE 9
MAINE ROAD ticket holders are promised a full rebate if they are unable to make the new date. However, most hold onto their tickets for the Sunday show.
While Axl remains in Paris to recuperate, the rest of the band flies to London.
Wednesday, JUNE 10 - Friday, JUNE 12
DURING THEIR three days off, the band and crew stop, dine out and meet old friends. On Thursday, Axl flies in from Paris and later that day makes a brief shopping expedition to Europe's leading toyshop, Hamleys. That same day, a softball game is organized at the Bank of England sports ground, which all band members (except Axl) and the crew takes part in.
On Friday night the band's UK booking agent John Jackson organizes a five-hour go-karting championship for the band and entourage, at a specially designed indoor track in West London.
Saturday, JUNE 13
72,000 PEOPLE pack into London's Wembley Stadium for what is generally regarded by the band, critics and fans alike as the 'hottest' show of the tour so far.
During the show, Axl, in fine form, has one trouble-making fan removed and later stops the performance so that security can help a young girl, who he spots in distress at the front of the crowd.
For the first encore, the band spring a surprise on the now-ecstatic crowd when they are joined on stage by legendary Queen guitarist Brian May for 'Tie Your Mother Down' and 'We Will Rock You'. The band ends their longest European show yet with 'Don't Cry' and 'Paradise City'.
Sunday, JUNE 14
BAND FLY to Manchester for the rescheduled date before 30,000 fans. The band are almost two hours late on stage after arriving behind schedule then having to wait while lighting difficulties were overcome.
After the show, while the crew completes a hyper-quick load-out and transport the gear to Gateshead, the band flies back to London.
DUFF AND Gilby go to the Townhouse recording studio in Shepherd's Bush to work on a track for Duff's solo project. Later, Axl and Dizzy work on another song at a different studio.
Tuesday, JUNE 16
BAND FLY from Luton airport to Newcastle for the show at Gateshead International Stadium before 25,000. It's considered a storming show with just one awkward moment - when Duff had a verbal altercation with one excitable fan. But after Axl's words of warning - "I wouldn't mess with him: he's not had a drink in two weeks!" - the fan piped down.
GN'R fly back to London after the show to continue their stay at Chelsea harbor's exclusive Conrad Hotel, where fellow guests include Prince and INXS.
Wednesday, JUNE 17
DUFF AND his girlfriend Linda fly to St. Tropez in the south of France for a few days. Slash stocks up on Dr. Marten boots and visits London Zoo. Gilby and Matt go to Kensington Market.
Thursday, JUNE 18
DIZZY'S BIRTHDAY. He celebrates in the evening by having his first taste ever of Indian food at the Bombay Brasserie, with Matt. Later he joins pop-band Deee-Lite at their party in the Zatopce club, south London.
Friday, JUNE 19
KEYBOARD PLAYER Ted Andreadis' birthday. Late afternoon, the band flies to Frankfurt. But Axl is pulled over by a security guard at Heathrow Airport: the second time staff there had singled him out by harassment, following GN'R's visit to London for the Freddie Mercury Tribute.
Following this latest incident, Axl issued a press statement in which he said: "Having just given what I consider to be the best performance I am capable of at this point in my career, I totally understand why someone in the UK would want to needlessly harass me in this way."
"I don't expect to be treated any differently from anyone else traveling in and out of Britain and I understand these people have a job to do. However, to be singled out by someone who just wants to score a few points and have a story to tell his friends over a beer is really out of order."
Saturday, JUNE 20
TONIGHT'S SHOW is a two-hour drive from Frankfurt, at an airfield on top of a hill in Wirzburg. As GN'R approach the venue, the weather breaks and one of the worst storms in recent years hits the site. For a while, the local airport is forced to close and the autobahns in the surrounding area grind to a halt.
45,000 fans witness an astonishing show during which the lightning cannot be distinguished from the onstage pyrotechnics. Within minutes both the fans and the band are soaked to the skin and, for a while, the steam rising from those packed at the front prevents those further back from even seeing the stage. No one can believe that Guns will complete a full set, but two-and-a-half hours later, they've done just that.
Sunday, JUNE 21
THE BAND leaves Frankfurt and fly to Basle in Switzerland for another sold-out show at the 50.000 capacity St Jakob Stadium. Hurrying to the venue through the rush-hour traffic, the band is given a police escort from the airport to the venue. Media and fan response is ecstatic, one DJ proclaiming the show to have been "the most wonderful performance a band had ever given in Basle".
Whilst some band members venture out sample the local bars, Duff - starting to feel the effects of playing in the torrential downpour in Wurzburg - retires early to bed, with a temperature and signs of flu.
Monday, JUNE 22
BEING IN Switzerland, Axl goes out and buy watches as surprise gifts fro many of the entourage and management - who in the meantime have also stocked up on Swiss watches.
Duff's condition worsens and so he spends most of the day in bed hoping to recover for the next day's gig in Rotterdam.
As evening draws in, Axl is also found to be suffering from a sore throat.
Tuesday, JUNE 23
THE JOURNEY to Rotterdam is delayed whilst Axl and Duff receive medical treatment to ensure they get through the show. Axl is given further medication by a doctor who is waiting for him at Rotterdam airport. The band finally goes on stage at 10pm, two hours after Faith No More have completed their encore. There is an 11pm curfew at the Feijenoord Stadium and as that time approaches, the local authorities tell the GN'R management that power will be cut at 11.30. Axl is made aware of the moves and, concerned that the fans will be deprived of a full set, announces to the crowd: "You have a right to a complete show. You paid for it… If they cut the power, be my guests, do what you want." After much discussion backstage, the police decide to let the band play on until well after midnight and any trouble is avoided.
Duff, however, arrives at the night's hotel feeling considerably worse and on medical advice is forced to spend two days resting. Consequently, the following night's show in Belgium has to be canceled.
Wednesday, JUNE 24
FLY TO MILAN, where the entourage is forced to split into two hotels as no one has enough rooms to hold all of them. Whilst Duff stays in his room, the Italian promoter takes everyone else out to one of the city's finest pasta restaurants.
Thursday, JUNE 25
SLASH, GILBY and Ted Andreadis take a small private jet to Munich where they meet Michael Jackson to film the video for his next single, 'Give In To Me'. Shot in a small club, before an invited audience of both Jacko and GN'R fans, filming continues until the early hours of the morning.
Friday, JUNE 26
AXL VISITS the showrooms of top Italian designers Gianni Versace and Armani. In the evening he dines with Versace's sister, Donatella, and her top model husband, Paul Beck. Also at the table are supermodel Naomi Campbell and Axl's girlfriend Stephanie Seymour.
Saturday, JUNE 27
AFTER AN hour-and-a-half drive to Turin, and theme to the movie 'The Good, The Bad And The Ugly' serving as their intro, GN'R take to the Della Alpi stadium to see 65,000 faces looking back at them. With his girlfriend Stephanie watching from the wings, Axl gives the performance of a lifetime. The crowd responds ecstatically, prompting Axl to comment… "They didn't warn me that the Italians were so hot. Now I know!"
After the show, GN'R and entourage board a 40-seater coach for a four hour drive to San Remo, their base for the next couple of days.
Sunday, JUNE 28
TO CELEBRATE Duff and Linda's engagement, the band rent a 180-foot luxury motor cruiser, called Maxime's, for a party cruise along the Italian coastline. The day is spent swimming, snorkeling, water-skiing, fishing and attempting to master the jet skis. In the evening, the crew lay on a celebratory dinner and make a special cake, iced with the Guns N' Roses logo. Members of the party take advantage of the grand piano on the lower deck, to jam on into the night.
Monday, JUNE 29
STILL ON the cruiser, members of the band wake themselves up by high-diving 60 feet off the top deck into the Mediterranean - whilst Gilby finally manages to get up on the water-skis. Late afternoon, the cruiser returns to San Remo.
Tuesday, JUNE 30
LEAVING THE Italian coast, the band drive two hours to Genova from where they fly to Seville in Spain. The evening's gig has no curfew to obey so the band delay their start until darkness so that the lightshow can be seen in full and finish the set in the early hours of the morning.
Wednesday, JULY 1
SOME MEMBERS take a special private guided tour of the World Exposition site, others go shopping, whilst Slash makes an excursion to a derelict building inhabited by a small herd of sheep and goats for a photo session.
In the early evening, news reaches the management that the authorities have closed the 55,000 capacity Vicente Caldaron stadium in Madrid where GN'R were to play the last date of the tour on Saturday July 4 because the concrete fabric of the building has been badly affected by aluminosis. A search for an alternative venue begins immediately…
Thursday, JULY 2 - Friday, JULY 3
THE GN'R crewmembers, who had already begun to work at the Vicente Caldaron stadium, are on permanent standby to build a new stage at a different venue, should one be found. Unfortunately, at such short notice, this proves impossible and the gig cannot be rescheduled. In a statement issued Friday, Axl said: "We were looking forward to this last date in Europe, as we love the Spanish audiences and were planning on a wild night to end the tour. We hope that we will be able to return soon and make it up to our fans."
After the disappointing cancellation of the last date in Europe, GN'R returned to the USA to begin their much anticipated co-headline tour with Metallica. Together they were scheduled to play 25 dates, beginning July 17, 1992 at the RFK Stadium in Washington DC. With Guns going on last each night, Faith No More opened the majority of the early shows…