It seemed Kurt Cobain knew something everyone else wasn’t aware of when he turned down the offer to have Nirvana open for Metallica and Guns N’ Roses on a tour which launched July 17, 1992, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Faith No More, who were familiar with their Bay area comrades Metallica, promptly took the opening slot and later wished they hadn’t. The road was paved with bumps and less than a month into the tour one of the most infamous riots in metal history transpired, causing $400,000 worth of damage.
Maybe the GN’R and Metallica tour was doomed from the start. Metallica were using more pyro onstage than a Fourth of July fireworks display, and Guns N’ Roses were perfectly happy taking two hours to get their stage set up after Metallica finished their set. Yet, at the time, both groups felt like they could do no wrong. Metallica’s Black Album was still burning up the charts (it would eventually sell over 16 million copies) and Guns N’ Roses were touring behind their two albums released simultaneously, Use Your Illusion I and II, which sold a combined 14 million copies. By the end of the tour, however, both bands would learn that too much excess on any level is a recipe for disaster.