Back in the 1990s, there weren’t many bands in the world bigger than Guns ‘N’ Roses, U2 and Pearl Jam. According to Guns ‘N’ Roses’ manager Doug Goldstein, who recently spoke with GNR Central, all three nearly combined together at the height of their powers for what could’ve been the biggest triple-bill in the history of rock and roll.
Though Pearl Jam were still on the come up at the beginning of the decade, their debut album Ten, which dropped in 1991, cemented their status as one of the forebears of alternative rock. That same year, Guns ‘N’ Roses destroyed pretty much everybody by releasing two albums at the same time, Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, while U2 were extending their streak of excellence with Achtung Baby. It was around this time that Guns’ singer Axl Rose had an idea.
“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,” Goldstein remembered. “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.’”
U2 manager Paul McGuinness apparently agreed to the run, but when Goldstein dutifully put in the call to Pearl Jam’s manager Kelly Curtis he found someone less than enthralled by the proposition. “I told him, he goes: ‘Eh, no. We’re going to pass,'” Goldstein said. 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?’”
So there it is. Obviously, all three bands came out alright, but the mind races, wondering what might have been.