On May 22, 1993, "Guns N' Roses" took the stage for the first time, at the HaYarkon Park in Tel Aviv.
The excitement before the show was immense. The band came to Israel at the height of its fame, duringAvivIsrael the endless tour that followed the double album "Use Your Illusion I & II" and lasted almost three years.
The excitement even intensified, when before the show it was announced that guitarist Izzy Stradlin would arrive with the band, as a replacement for Gilby Clarke, who had been injured shortly before. It was a golden opportunity to witness the band as close to its original lineup, minus Steven Adler of course.
Israel was the first country in which the band performed in this part of the tour. This leg of the tour was designed to be less extravagant and more minimalistic than the grandiose shows that came before it, and bared the name "Skin n' Bones".
The anticipation for the show was insane. It was supposed to be the biggest show in the country at the time, with fifty thousand enthusiastic fans purchasing tickets for it. A performance by a band that was considered that summer as the largest rock band in the world.
But then came the frustration. The band gave one of the weakest performances of its entire career in front of 50,000 viewers. So weak that guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan wrote about it in their biography and Axl Rose addressed it during one of his performances in 2001.
Slash put the blame for the poor show on the shoulders of Izzy Stradlin who had recently returned to the band to fill Gilby Clark's place. He noted that Izzy did not want to rehearse. He did not want to play even one song in advance and did not know the materials well enough before going on stage. Axl Rose claimed that the band's soundmen lowered Izzy's guitar channel to a minimum because he just wasn't in sync with the band.
Despite these claims by Axl Rose and Slash, it is a known fact that the band did rehearsals in Israel before the show and there were rumors that it happened even in a small rehearsal room in Tel Aviv, whose owners were simply in a total shock when the rock stars suddenly rolled into the studio.
Izzy or not, bottom line, we got a poor performance. The sound was bad, the setlist was not cohesive and far from satisfactory. It included quite a few acoustic versions of familiar songs, along with songs that were originally played as acoustic in the previous parts of the tour as well, and above all the band chose not to play their biggest hit in Israel, "Don't Cry".
Sound issues and performance quality were even covered, in real-time, on Israel TV Channel one.
And if all this is not enough, then this vanity concert was won by an egocentric singer who was late to take the stage and managed to annoy the audience even before playing one note, a heroin-addicted guitarist, a bassist too drunk to talk, and a second guitarist who didn't know the material well enough.
And this was the list of songs played on that show on May 22, 1993:
1. It's So Easy 2. Mr. Brownstone 3. Live and Let Die 4. Welcome to the Jungle 5. Attitude 6. Double Talkin' Jive 7. You Ain't the First 8. You're Crazy 9. Used to Love Her 10. Patience 11. Knockin' on Heaven's Door 12. November Rain 13. You Could Be Mine 14. Sweet Child O' Mine 15. Dead Horse 16. Paradise City
In conclusion, it can be said that the highlight of that evening, was the excellent warm-up show of Brian May of "Queen", who came on stage with his band that included legendary drummer Cozy Powell and bassist Neil Murray.
And with all the disappointment from that show in 1993, it is impossible not to mention the tremendous affirmative experience the band gave us with one of the greatest shows ever In Israel, when "Guns" took the stage for the third time (the second with Slash and Duff) on July 15, 2017.