|Slash played the giant America's Millennium Gala in Washington, D.C. on New Year's Eve, but things didn't go exactly as planned.
The former Guns N' Roses guitarist was originally scheduled to perform in an all-star rock band fronted by John Fogerty. After bonding with Tom Jones in the hotel bar prior to the show, however, Slash opted to play with the Welsh crooner instead.
The leather-clad rocker missed out on Jones' rendition of his '60s hit "It's Not Unusual," but he joined the hip-swinging singer front and center for the Gala's post-midnight finale. Sporting his traditional top hat, Slash joined Jones and other key Gala performers for workouts of the Wilson Pickett classic "In The Midnight Hour," Bob Marley's "One Love," and a post-broadcast rendition of "This Land Is Your Land," complete with a "Hallelujah" chorus.
Slash's manager Tom Maher told MTV News that the rocker went back to the White House for a post-show party, where he hung out mostly with Jones and country popster Kenny Rogers. Maher added that it's a good bet that Slash will work with Jones in the future.
"They really got along great," Maher said. "They definitely bonded."
The Gala, hosted by Will Smith and organized by Quincy Jones, featured a variety of musical styles, poetry, and commentary relating to the past century, all presented to a crowd of roughly 500,000 people in front of the Lincoln Memorial. There were other unusual pairings over the course of the evening, including Trisha Yearwood and Brian McKnight performing the 1968 protest song "Abraham, Martin and John" (made famous by Dion), Usher and Kris Kristofferson duetting on The Band's hit "The Weight," and Kathy Mattea and Luther Vandross teaming up for The Impressions' classic "People Get Ready."
Other veterans performed their best known hits, including Fogerty offering up Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary," Foreigner's Lou Gramm and Mick Jones performing "I Want to Know What Love Is," and Don McLean singing "American Pie."
A major highlight of the production saw U2's Bono and the band's producer, Daniel Lanois, perform an acoustic version of "One," preceded by a moving speech on world unity. The Irish singer was introduced by President Clinton.
-- Sorelle Saidman