Back in the early ’90s, we saw some pretty amazing concert lineups, including tours which featured the likes of Pearl Jam, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Nirvana all on the same bill. Needless to say, it was certainly a time to be alive for fans of alt-rock. But sadly, one tour that had the potential to be one of the biggest of the decade, never got off the ground due to one of the aforementioned grunge legends.
Back in 1991, all three bands released albums that saw them cemented as some of the biggest rock bands of the era, with Pearl Jam’s Ten, U2’s Achtung Baby, and Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion I & II being released in the space of three months. So when 1993 rolled around, Axl Rose seemed to think it was a rather appropriate time for all the bands to head out on tour together.
“What happened was Axl [Rose] came to me, Pearl Jam had just broke, they had released Ten and it was on fire, I was [somewhere] in Tel Aviv, Israel, we were playing there,” began Doug Goldstein. “Axl had come to me in the morning and said, ‘I don’t care if we open, I don’t care if we don’t get paid, I want to do a show or a couple of shows with us, Pearl Jam, and U2 closing. Can you please call everybody?’ I said, ‘Sure.’”
“So I called Paul McGuiness from U2, he was in, ‘Absolutely Doug, that would be great. We can talk about who will headline.’ I said, ‘No, no, no. Axl already said he wants you guys to close.’ We were bigger than U2 at the time, but it wasn’t about who was going to close, and it wasn’t that Axl wanted to kick their ass, he just wanted to do this show.”
However, as Goldstein explains, it was when they tried to get Pearl Jam involved that things began to go south.
“So I called Kelly Curtis in Seattle, who manages Pearl Jam. I’ve got a finger in my ear, because the music is going on, I’m at a closet hut in Tel Aviv, and he has me on speakerphone,” he continued.
“I said, ‘Kelly, can you please pick up?’ ‘No.’ ‘Kelly, I need to talk to you, it’s kind of important.’ ‘Yeah I don’t care. What do you want?’ ‘Kelly, I can’t hear, I’m in a closet.’ ‘I don’t care. What do you want, Doug?'”
“So I told him, and he goes: ‘Eh, no. We’re going to pass.’ I said, ‘Okay hang on a second. I manage Guns, and when an idea comes to me, I usually talk to the band.’ I go, ‘Are you speaking on behalf of the band?'”
“He goes, ‘Yeah, we’re going to pass.’ I go, ‘Don’t you have a moral ethical responsibility to at least discuss it with the band?’ ‘Don’t fucking tell me my fucking job.’ ‘Okay, nice talking to you, you have a great life!'”
“At that point there couldn’t have been a venue big enough to hold all three of those bands.”
While there’s no doubt that this would have been one of the biggest concerts of the decade, this is just one of those things that proves that some lineups are just too good to be true.
As it stands, it’s currently been a few years since Pearl Jam last graced Australians with a trip to our shores, the group have recently released their first new song in a number of years, with a new album on the way.
Their current touring schedule seems to leave it wide open for an Australian visit around Splendour In The Grass time, but sadly, if they do make it out here, we can’t promise they’ll be bringing Guns N’ Roses and U2 along with them.