“Two of rock’s elite guitar soloists go lick for lick”: Watch Slash and Mike McCready trade leads on Paradise City as the Pearl Jam guitarist joins Guns N’ Roses onstage

Guns N’ Roses hit Seattle on Friday night (October 14) and were joined onstage by local rock royalty, in the form of Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready.

The LA sleaze gods always had enough punk edge to get a pass from the grunge scene – and, indeed, it’s rumored that GN'R even tried to arrange a package tour with Pearl Jam and U2 in 1993.

Instead fans got a small taster of what could have been, as the Pearl Jam man joined the group for traditional closer Paradise City. 

Since then fan footage has emerged that shows him giving the song all the energy it requires, going toe to toe with Slash on the song’s frantic final lead runs. 

Seattle Times music writer Michael Rietmulder was there in person to review the gig and sums it up nicely. 

“It’s not every day, even in Seattle, you get the chance to watch two of rock’s elite guitar soloists like Slash and McCready go lick for lick,” says Rietmulder. 

“That’s exactly what they did during the song’s closing blitz, the two locking in as McCready unleashed a rapid-fire screamer before Slash answered right back.”

In the footage, you can see Slash armed, as you would expect, with a Gibson Les Paul, while the Pearl Jam guitarist appeared to be using his long-favored (and heavily worn) 1960 Fender Strat, which served as the basis for the recent Fender Mike McCready signature Stratocaster.

The result of the two player’s contrasting tones and techniques – Slash’s feel, and McCready’s buttery speed – is a sort of hybrid monster of the GN’R and Pearl Jam sounds. 1993 aside, it makes you wonder what would have happened, had McCready been born and raised a few states south.

It's a typically animated performance form McCready, who is known for his energy onstage, but then perhaps he’s still riding the wave of motivation provided by Pearl Jam’s recent album sessions with producer Andrew Watt. 

“He kind of kicked us in our asses a little bit,” McCready told Guitar World, in September. “Like, ‘Okay, let's go, let's go, let's go, let's go go go!’ He's the most hyper guy I've ever met besides myself. But he's a giant fan of our band, and he's a really smoking guitar player in his own right.”

In the same chat, McCready also revealed he’s working on a rock opera about the Seattle scene. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be able to arrange a few celebrity cameos on that one, too.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.