Duff McKagan on Why Guns n’ Roses First Reunion Show Was “Nerve-Wracking”

Guns N' Roses 2016

Duff McKagan on the Troubadour Show!

In a recent interview with Planet Rock, Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan spoke about what it felt like to go back out on stage with both Slash and Axl Rose for the first time in 23 years at the group’s April 2016 concert at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California.

“I’ve gotta say, and I can’t really say it enough — just the fact that we got together way before that and communicated and talked would have a lasting effect on me personally,” he said. “Then [we thought], ‘Okay, well, [let’s] try some gigs. Coachella wants us to play. That’s two weekends. We can do that. Why don’t we do something on April 1st, April Fools’ Day? Announce it maybe with a question mark.’ But Axl, third song in, breaks his foot at the Troubadour. A nerve-racking thing that show, ’cause it was first time back. And then there was a monitor thing. I saw it. He’s pretty athletic too — he can bounce around and do stuff. He slipped on that thing, and on his mic, he goes, ‘I think I broke my foot.’ But he got on and finished the set. And I’m, like, ‘Okay. Maybe he sprained it.’ No, but he broke his foot in six places. But we continued on — he wanted to continue on. I think it was a call to arms for him.”

He continued: “Singing those songs sitting down… I don’t know if anybody out there listening is a singer… I realized at that point, the guy has become a master. His warm-up regime — an hour-and-a-half warm-up thing — and being able to sing those songs sitting down. And then his warm-down routine. He’d become a master. And maybe he always was, and I didn’t notice it before. But the amount of work he puts into a gig — it’s gym, warm up for an hour and a half, do a three-and-a-half-hour show, warm down… I’m already in bed. But, yeah, for it to go… We did 159 shows, I think.”