So Fine: Duff McKagan gets back in the ring for his first full set with Guns N’ Roses in 17 years
 

Last night, for the first time in 17 years, Duff McKagan played a full set with Guns N’ Roses. The Buenos Aires, Argentina, show was the first of five South American dates where he’s filling in for Guns’ current bassist, Tommy Stinson, who’s doing some reuniting of his own during that time with the Replacements for Coachella and the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta.

“I had those Replacement shows come up the same time the (South American) tour came up, and it got to be a scheduling issue right out of the gate,” Stinson told Billboard last week. “I didn’t want to fuck anyone up in Guns by saying, ‘Hey, I can’t do this tour’ or anything like that.”

Re-enter McKagan, who made a surprise appearance with Guns N’ Roses in 2010 in London, performing four songs, including “You Could Be Mine” and “Patience” and later that year, while his band Loaded performed opening duties, he rejoined the group twice again for an encore.

This time around, with some proper planning and rehearsals that took place last month in Los Angeles, the shows have the ability to be more adventurous with deeper cuts and covers. That was evident last night when “Raw Power” and “Attitude,” by the Stooges and the Misfits respectively, were pulled out of the hat, the former never performed live by Guns N’ Roses. Both were on the band’s 1993 covers album The Spaghetti Incident? and both featured McKagan on lead vocals.

The rest of the 35-song marathon set ran like a greatest hits roll call — despite the obligatory handful of tracks from the long-awaited and ultimately disappointing Chinese Democracy. Versions of Rose Tattoo’s “Nice Boys” and the Who’s “The Seeker” sat alongside epic ballads “Estranged” and “November Rain” and the muscular “Mr. Brownstone” and “It’s So Easy.”

“It’s pretty great to play these songs again, and looking forward to playing some gigs with my pal again,” McKagan said in a statement. “South America is always a radical place for rock n roll… and I’m honored to be doing this thing, in that place.”

A picture tweeted by McKagan early last week had a handwritten list of songs spread across two pieces of notepaper. One of the titles was the McKagan sung original “So Fine,” which appeared on 1991’s Use Your Illusion II. The track was performed live a few dozen times, but hasn’t made an appearance in a set for 21 years. There’s still four nights left for it to return.

McKagan was the final original member of Guns N’ Roses to leave the group when he quit in 1997. Since then he’s found the most success with Velvet Revolver, currently on indefinite hiatus and still hunting for a singer, but has also played in Walking Papers and Loaded, had a brief stint in Jane’s Addiction and has done session work for artists as varied as Iggy Pop, Macy Gray and Mark Lanegan. He’s also appeared on multiple solo releases by his former G N’ R bandmates Slash, Izzy Stradlin and Gilby Clarke.

Here’s the set list and remaining tour dates, via Consequence of Sound:

Setlist:
Chinese Democracy
Welcome to the Jungle
It’s So Easy
Mr. Brownstone
Estranged
Rocket Queen
Nice Boys (Rose Tattoo cover)
Attitude (Misfits cover) (Duff McKagan on lead vocals, first time played live since 1993)
Raw Power (The Stooges cover) (Live debut)
My Michelle
Better
Guitar Solo (Richard Fortus)
Live and Let Die (Wings cover)
This I Love
Piano Solo (Dizzy Reed)
Catcher in the Rye
You Could Be Mine
DJ Ashba Guitar Solo (La Bella Vita)
Sweet Child O’ Mine
Jam (“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” by Led Zeppelin)
November Rain
Abnormal (Bumblefoot cover)
Don’t Cry for Me Argentina (Julie Covington cover)
Don’t Cry
Used to Love Her
Civil War
Shackler’s Revenge
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan cover)
Jam
Nightrain

Encore:
Jam
Patience
The Seeker (The Who cover)
Jam
Paradise City

Guns N’ Roses 2014 Tour Dates:
04/09 – Asuncion, PY @ Jockey Club ^
04/12 – La Paz, BO @ Estadio Hernando Siles ^
04/15 – Recife, BR @ Chevrolet Hall ^
04/17 – Fortaleza, BR @ Centro de Eventos de Fortaleza ^
04/23 – Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia (Golden Gods)
05/13 – Bethlehem, PA @ Sands Bethlehem Event Center
05/16 – Columbus, OH @ Columbus Crew Stadium (Rock on the Range)
05/21 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
05/24 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
05/25 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
05/28 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
05/30 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
05/31 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
06/04 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
06/06 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
06/07 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

^ = w/ Duff McKagan

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