Looking back, it’s no wonder that the Use Your Illusion tour marked the end of the original Guns N’ Roses. Recording the two Illusion albums was an absolute nightmare of ego and debauchery, and they fired founding drummer Steven Adler early in the process. Then they hit the road for a 192-date tour that lasted two-and-a-half years across 27 countries. By the time the tour hit Argentina for the grand finale, the band was running on fumes.
Guitarist Izzy Stradlin quit the band just eight months into the tour. He had gotten off drugs and struggled to remain in a band where the bassist was doing ludicrous amounts of cocaine and the singer regularly showed up to shows psychotically late. Gilby Clarke was brought in to replace him, but when he broke his wrist in a motorcycle accident in April 1993, they were forced to plead with Izzy to return for the final run. He came back to a group in worse shape than when he left two years earlier, but he knew his old friends were in a tough spot and he wanted to help out.
The tour wrapped July 17th, 1993 at River Plate Stadium. It was a long show that kicked off with “Nightrain” and ended 21 songs later with “Paradise City.” Axl has since brought Duff McKagan and Izzy Stradlin onto the stage with the new Guns N’ Roses, but this was the final time he ever shared the stage with Slash or drummer Matt Sorum. “As I recall, we played until about two a.m.,” Slash wrote in his 2007 memoir. “And then we commandeered the hotel bar until about six a.m.”
The band had every intention of carrying on after the Use Your Illusion tour wrapped, and they did release the punk covers record The Spaghetti Incident? later that year, but they were burned out. The group was beyond tired of Axl’s endless drama, and Duff was in desperate need of drug counseling. Attempts to record new material in 1994 were disastrous, and eventually, everyone left the band but Axl.
Thankfully, a professional camera team was on hand for the Buenos Aires finale of the Use Your Illusion tour. The band had begun in filthy clubs on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip in 1985, and eight years later, they wrapped up in front of a South American soccer stadium filled with 100,000 people.