The long-awaited launch of GUNS N' ROSES' first North American tour in nine years, scheduled to take place last night (Nov. 7) at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, was canceled after frontman Axl Rose failed to make it to the Canadian city in time for the gig.
Following the announcement of the cancellation, irate fans used steel barricades to break windows all around the venue. Police wielded batons and used pepper spray to disperse the crowd. According to MTV.com, "the cops walloped legs, arms, heads, whatever available extremity presented itself. They ganged up to pummel people even after they'd fallen to the ground. One young man was smashed in the face and had his teeth knocked out — he stumbled away in a daze, holding them in his hands, with blood pouring from his mouth."
Although initial reports suggested that Rose was held up by customs officers at the U.S./Canada border, a band spokesman said poor weather conditions at Los Angeles airport made it impossible for the singer's plane to fly. Meanwhile, GUNS' management told MTV.com that Axl's flight's departure from L.A. had been delayed by mechanical troubles. He had been scheduled to take the stage with GUNS N' ROSES at 9:30 (following sets by two opening acts: the Philadelphia band CKY and BEASTIE BOYS DJ Mix Master Mike). When the GM Place managers learned, at around 8:00, that Rose hadn't even arrived in town yet, they called off the show.
Staff at concert promoter Clear Channel Entertainment weren't available for comment. However, a band spokesman said the performance scheduled Friday in Tacoma, Wash., would go ahead.
GUNS N' ROSES rehearsed Wednesday in GM Place without Rose, who rarely practices with the rest of the group.
In 1991, Rose precipitated a riot in a St. Louis suburb by jumping off the stage and attacking a fan videotaping the hard rock band's concert. Sixty people were hurt and the Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights, Mo., was wrecked.
In 1992, GN'R's performance in Montreal ended in a riot after Axl walked off stage 50 minutes into the set after complaining of vocal problems.
Drummer Jess Margera of CKY, who were set to open last night's show, posted the following message early this morning via the group's official web site:
"Well, tonight we are in Vancouver, British Columbia. We were all ready to open our first show for GUNS N' ROSES, which I am psyched about, because GN'R is a great rock and roll band and I'm a huge fan of Buckethead and Brain especially. But 30 minutes before we were supposed to play, the show was cancelled — which led to 10,000 people outside rioting and police beating the shit out of people. Every single window and door to the GM arena was busted out and there were handcuffed people lined up outside on the ground. MTV News did a quick interview with us about it, i guess it will be on tomorrow. Now we are leaving to go play Seattle tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes. And I want to stress to people that as soon as December or January, we will be doing another headlining tour and making up whatever shows had to get postponed or cancelled due to the Tony Hawk tour and the GUNS N' ROSES tour. A European tour is coming in the future as well. Rock and goddamn roll."