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1988.08.20 - Monsters of Rock Festival, Donington Castle, England

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1988.08.20 - Monsters of Rock Festival, Donington Castle, England Empty 1988.08.20 - Monsters of Rock Festival, Donington Castle, England

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:19 pm

Date:
August 20, 1988.

Venue:
Monsters of Rock Festival.

Location:
Donington Castle, England.

Setlist:
01. It's So Easy
02. Mr. Brownstone
03. You're Crazy
04. Paradise City
05. Welcome to the Jungle
06. Patience
07. Sweet Child O'Mine

Line-up:
Axl Rose (vocals), Izzy Stradlin (rhythm guitarist), Slash (lead guitarist), Duff McKagan (bass) and Steven Adler (drums).

Quotes:
I think our performance is kind of secondary to what's happening in the crowd. They have casualties here. Were you out there at all? I think I saw a casualty happen. It was really weird. It was really strange. We had to stop the show. The P.A. system is kind of screwed up and you don't get time to have a good sound check so we couldn't really hear ourselves but we pulled it off. I think we did a good show. But I'm still stunned at the size of the audience and what was happening up front. It was real scary. We all went like, "woah!" [...] It was kids piled on kids horizontal on the ground. They were unconscious. And more people kept on falling on them. I saw them! It took about 20 minutes to get everybody out. We stopped the show and they finally pulled the last couple of people out and I think they were dead. It was really weird. I saw no life in those bodies at all. [...] ['Patience's] on the EP. The crowd needed to settle down and that's a song that says, "ok, everybody relax and listen"[Interview with Duff, Minutes after the concert]
A few hours after the show, not aware there were fatalities: Don't get me wrong, we hate to see violence, people getting hurt, and we feel sorry for the kids that are right there in the middle of it. But a rowdy crowd, a crowd that knows how to rock, is the best. It makes you feel great that people can get that into it and the kind of energy level we're talking about is good for the band. That's why we like playing in England. The whole situation is heavier here, work is harder to get, money's tight, opportunities are fewer than they are in the States. So the kids need to have that one release from a rock 'n' roll show. They'll die for it[Melody Maker, March 1989].[/i]
Probably taped after the show: I don't know if we won a lot of fans or not because they knew the words to the song, I mean, they sang so many of our songs that, you know, it was amazing. I was really surprised at the crowd response. I was, like, "Wow, if every one of these people would have bought a record maybe we'd do even better"[Interview Sessions (MTV), August 1988].[/i]
A few days after the show: It's hard for me to talk about it. We went back to the hotel, had dinner, and learnt about the deaths when we were in the bar. We've sort of been attacked for it, as if we were directly responsible, but with all those people — 100,000 — and the mud, y'know, no one thing can be blamed. Everybody was there for a release, to get away from their jobs, their parents, their problems, to get drunk and have a good time, but then you have this insane inconsideration for others. That ruined what it was supposed to be about — for everybody.

The Donington gig was our third major open air appearance and there were riots at both the other two. We just go out there and play, try to generate some excitement, but when it gets out of hand, when it fucks up the kids, you get to the point where you don't want to go out and play those kind of gigs
[Melody Maker, March 1989].[/i]
We didn't tell people to smash each other. We didn't tell people, 'Drink so much alcohol that you can't fucking stand up.' I don't feel responsible in those ways [1988.11.17, Rolling Stone Magazine]
The band were really brought down by the event. And we did try to stop the craziness down the front by changing our set, slowing things down, I actually don’t know it the accident was our fault or not. If someone were to ask me face-to-face whether Guns n’ Roses were to blame, I couldn’t say with any conviction that we’re not. I don’t think we can be held responsible, but I’d have to think very hard before giving an answer. Maybe we have to take some of the blame. After all, we were onstage when those kids died, and had Guns n’ Roses not existed then perhaps the tragedy wouldn’t have occurred.

It weighs very heavily on us and whatever anyone else may write or say about the incident can’t make us feel any worse. Quite honestly, we couldn’t give a fuck about the media trying to make us the scapegoats. That thing will haunt me forever anyway.

It’s strange, but tragedy and pain do seem to dog our career, A lot of weird shit happens to this band. We seem to attract it. I dunno, I can’t help wondering if the reason why Slash and Izzy were so strung out on certain ‘substances’ recently (they’re now cleaned out and revved up) was their way of attempting to hide and numb the pain they felt
[Raw Magazine - "Mad, Bad and Dangerous To Know?", 1989.07.28]
That was... very strange. I mean, I saw it all go down. I stopped the gig three times. Kids were lookin' at me, givin' me this real intense look, like "something really, really bad is going down." You could read it all in their faces. I tried to stop the band... like three times... but they just kept playing, y'know on and on. Then I turned around and I could see the bodies being pulled out [The Face - "The Daze of Guns N' Roses", January 1990]
We stopped the show a couple of times at Donnington - a big racetrack in England - when things started getting out of hand. It was people as far as you could see. It rained; people would fall over and asphyxiate in the mud. We didn't know that a couple of people died untill after the show [Slash - The Hands Behind the Hype, December 1991]
Donnington was the worst show we've ever played. You don't know what's happening so you can't stop it [The Days of Wine and Roses, Classic Rock, April 2005]
At that show we experienced a frenzied reaction like nothing we'd seen before. The festival broke attendance records that year, surpassing the hundred-thousand mark. There couldn't have been a better place for us to record live footage...except for the fact that two people were trampled to death at the front of the stage during our set. The audience was crazy, just this sea of surging people. Axl stopped the set a number of times in an effort to control the crowd, but there was no calming them down. We had no idea that anyone was actually hurt let alone killed; after we'd done the gig and were celebrating in a nearby pub, Alan came in completely distraught and gave us the news. It was horrible; none of us knew what to do: something that had been a cause for celebration a moment before had become a tragedy [Slash's autobiography, 2007, p 236]
Those fans dying at Donnington has stayed with me, for sure. We were so excited to be playing there, but of course the phrase 'bittersweet' is way too light to cover it. We'd come off stage on a total high, feeling complete elation at the reception we'd got, and then we went to some pub near the venue, some hotel, and our manager Alan Niven told us what had happened and it was numbing. It just erased everything. I still think about it to this day. Two kids who had got up that morning to go to a rock concert... [The Truth, Mojo, June2008]
About a week after the sheet-cake ceremony [for reaching no. 1 on Billboard for Appetite], we flew to England again to play the outdoor Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donnington. This was the kind of thing you heard about other band playing - big bands, household names, not grubby kids a year or two removed from living in a back-alley storage space and treating their venereal diseases with fucking fish food. Looking out on the sea of faces on August 20, 1988, I realized I'd never eve seen a crowd that size, much less stood in front of one. The festival had been going for a few years, but this was the biggest one so far - 107,000 in attendance. It was stormy, and the lawn - the infield of a racetrack - was thick with mud. Wind swirled. The PA had problems and a giant video screen blew over. We were near the bottom of the bill and played early in the day. When we started laying, tens of thousands of people surged forward. 'Shit almighty, people really want to see us. This is fucking crazy.' As fans swarmed toward the stage, I could see people getting pushed around, losing their footing. "Back up!" Axl screamed at the crowd. Security stopped te show during the third song to fish a few people out of the scrum. But they were also occupied dealing with the video screen that had collapsed in the wind., People refused to get out from under it - it was still showing the video feed. We continued playing after getting the okay from security. When we played 'Paradise City' the crowd surged forward again, a writhing mass of bodies, singing, screaming, nodding. Suddenly I could see kids piled on top of other kids, horizontal in the mud. It looked like some kids might be getting hurt. 'Should I jump in and try to do something?' I was too scared. We stopped playing again. "Don't fucking kill each other," Axl said to the crowd. This pause lasted about twenty minutes. Dozens of people were pulled out of the mud by security, Then once again we were told we could resume playing and finish our set. Only later did we hear the news: two fans had died, suffocated beneath other fans in the mud. 'Oh, fuck, no, no, no, no.' Those two fans, Alan Dick and Landon Siggers, had just come to see a rock concert. They had tried to see us, to sing with us. And now they were dead. All I could think about were their final moments of anguish, the horror they must have faced as they struggled to breathe in the knee-deep mud and other fans fell on top of them. 'Oh, God, no. I wish we'd never played this fucking show.' I wanted to apologize to their families [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 136-137]
In the middle of the tour we were flown out to England to perform at the annual Monsters of Rock festival at a racetrack in Castle Donnington, England. [...] In the middle of the afternoon we hit the stage. It was a madhouse. Over a hundred thousand kids were cramming against the front. The racetrack were selling these big thirty-two-ounce beers. The kids were drinking, and they weren't about to go through this whole fucking crowd just to urinate at a stall, so they pissed in the bottles. Before we went on, we were standing at the side of the stage looking at the size of the crowd.

Suddenly, we saw what looked like a swarm of giant locusts flying through the air; they were actually hundreds of these plastic bottles of urine soaring over the crowd. We were like, "What the fuck?" Bam, pop! People were getting hit in the head and splattered with pee. But it wasn't going to change anything. We had gotten spit on, we had bottles of booze and beet thrown at us, and we had gotten in shoving matches with fans and other bands, so what's a little projectile piss?

I was surprised to see so many Guns N' Roses banners waving in the crowd. By the time we went on there were 120,000 people screaming and jumping up and down. It was really an impressive sight for us all. Everyone was so out of control, and we had to stop the show several times because people kept rushing the stage. Axl asked the crowd to settle down and back up. People were getting crushed at the front of the stage. It wasn't until the next day, after we flew the Concorde back to the U.S., that we were told that two kids were killed during our set. They were trampled to death.

I was shell-shocked. Numb. I couldn't believe it. Of course, the media blamed the band, fueling our notorious bad-boy image. And we were just starting to get a broader, more friendly public image going when this happened. [...]

To this day, the Donnington tragedy still haunts me like a nightmare
[Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 168-170]
What’s kind of lost is that people think Guns n’ Roses headlined Donington. We played at noon. We were really low on the bill and we were just happy to be here. [Classic Rock Magazine, June 2013]
1988.08.20 - Monsters of Rock Festival, Donington Castle, England Rightarrow Next concert: 1988.08.24.
1988.08.20 - Monsters of Rock Festival, Donington Castle, England Leftarrow Previous concert: 1988.08.17.


Last edited by Soulmonster on Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:37 am; edited 10 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:33 am

Cool having all the members comment on this tragedy.
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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:37 pm

Guns N' Roses were brilliant that night: the best show I ever saw them play. At times, Axl was in playful mood, swapping cowboy hats with Duff. [...] Aerosmith may have been the headliners of that tour, but Guns N' Roses were the main attraction, and Axl owned that stage. Just before they'd gone on, Ian Tilton [photographer for the Shine (?)] had asked Doug Goldstein [GN'R's manager at the time] if he could shoot from the side of the stage. "Not unless you want to eat a mic-stand..." Ian asked me if that was a joke. I assured him it wasn't [20 Years of Appetite, Classic Rock Magazine, July 2007]
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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:15 am

New quote from Duff added.
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1988.08.20 - Monsters of Rock Festival, Donington Castle, England Empty Re: 1988.08.20 - Monsters of Rock Festival, Donington Castle, England

Post by Blackstar on Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:20 am

Review from Melody Maker, August 27, 1988:

Push wrote:
METAL FATIGUE

MONSTERS OF ROCK FESTIVAL
Castle Donington

Following numerous traffic jams along the motorway, there's another on the country road. The queue barely moves in half an hour. "It's not far – walk," advises a friendly passing policewoman. Hundreds of long-haired, baseball cap-sporting lads and their molls, denim and leather bearing their heavy metal allegiances, are already undertaking the final part of the journey on foot, trudging along lanes, across fields and through woods. Photographer Richard Bellia, loaded down with equipment, joins them, disappearing up the twisting, narrow road.

The queue makes no advance. Then I notice several vehicles displaying guest passes heading in the opposite direction. A three-point turn and I'm in pursuit, a couple of lucky guesses and I'm soon on site, having missed HELLOWEEN but with GUNS N' ROSES about to take the stage. Bellia, meanwhile, is only a short way into what turned out to be a six-mile yomp.

Inside the arena, there's no less madness. One of the large video screens falls down and the traditional hurling of plastic bottles and other containers starts early. Beneath a makeshift flagpole of fishing rods, what looks like a giant colostomy bag full of black ale is doing the rounds. "Have you seen my mates?" dribbles a dazed youth. "One's in leather and Levis, the other's wearing a Maiden T-shirt."

After just a few songs, Guns N' Roses leave the stage. There's a serious problem in the crowd. I see flashing blue lights and hear the wailing sirens of ambulances. As a result, it's a severely shortened set. It's littered with bum notes too, but is impressive nonetheless. "Welcome To The Jungle" is a hurried, hazy hubbub, a querulous affair, vocalist Axl flaunting his tattoos, the two guitars locked in combat, the beat shaking the knots out of a thousand heads of hair. There are others of a similar design, but the latest single, "Sweet Child O' Mine" is more obviously melodious, mellifluous even, and one of the newer songs is a ballad, an opulent, bristles-brushed-up blues, an unapologetic unearthing of the band's roots.

They strut and stomp, scowl and howl, but there is a real urgency and a multi-dimensional character to their music. They skip, with considerable ease and the odd frivolous word, from a sophisticated hard rock to a petulant, unimpoverished pop sensibility and sensitivity, offering a sting in each tale, sometimes playful, sometimes painful. It's no surprise that the Guns N' Roses merchandising sells out soon after their performance ends.
[...]
This year as any other, Donington is an opportunity for the outcasts to celebrate, in filth and in style, a day and a place where nobody but themselves mattered a fuck. But of course, it wasn't as simple as that.

We leave as Iron Maiden are approaching the end of their set. We drive away from the site, past cars abandoned, hours earlier, on the grass and mud verges, past lay-bys crammed bonnet to boot. As we hit the motorway, the radio crackles the tragic news that two young men had been killed, trampled to death, during the Guns N' Roses performance. My mind is immediately cast back to the – at the time – hilarious enquiry as to the whereabouts of the one in leather and Levis and the one in a Maiden T-shirt. The chances are they were queuing up, lopsided, for greasy chips or for the overflowing toilets. For others, the answer wouldn't come so easy.

1988.08.20 - Monsters of Rock Festival, Donington Castle, England Livemonstersofrock

http://www.pushstuff.co.uk/mmlives/monstersofrock270888.html
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1988.08.20 - Monsters of Rock Festival, Donington Castle, England Empty Re: 1988.08.20 - Monsters of Rock Festival, Donington Castle, England

Post by Soulmonster on Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:10 pm

Preview from Metal Hammer on August 1, 1988. Received from @Surge, thanks!

1988.08.20 - Monsters of Rock Festival, Donington Castle, England Uten_n54

Also found in the interview and articles section.

Transcript:

JUNGLE FEVER MOUNTS FOR GUNS N' ROSES

As Donington reaches orgasm point, don't forget to save some energy for one of the bands who achieved the most success and notoriety since they exploded on the scene a year ago. Guns'n'Roses began life as underground heroes on the LA sleaze scene, but within months clawed their way to the top of the charts and the concert circuit. Their brand of raunchy rock coupled with a sensational image is just about the closest the rock scene has come to creating a new Roling Stones in many years. Which reminds us...


Once upon a time when yours truly was just a wee girl, she spent an entire evening with Keith Richards, even making it back to his house in Cheyne Walk along with son Marlon to while away several happy hours in friendly fun and conversation The next day, at Knebworth Festival, Keith pretended not to know me, blanking me completely which caused Freddie Barnister's heavies to bounce me well and truly out of the artist's enclosure But then, Keith was a Rolling Stone and therefore this sort of behaviour is excusable because of the aura which always surrounded that band.

GUNS 'N ROSES have got some of that.

An aura of "cool' in an atmosphere of excitement. Its something to do with the way they all look, wasted, yes, but more than that. I mean Axl Rose has the most extraordinary tattoos on his body, the kind that leap right out at you. It must have been very painful to have done. He must be brave. And shall we lust discuss that green fake-fur full length opera coat he wears? Very Oscar Wilde. Very decadent.

Guns'n'Roses are quick to claim their brawling press image is so much nonsense. That's as maybe. But the real life story is worse!

Axl has already had no less than twerty spells in jail (he claims he was only guilty five of those times), endless run-ins with the L.A.P.D. and some other hassles relating to, er, having sex with a girl without her asking for it, although he claims it was she who did that to him, etc etc. As for fellow band members Slash and Izzy - Slash delayed the recording of the album Appetite For Destruction because he had broken his hand in one of many skirmishes he has as a result of drinking three bottles of Bourbon a day on average. Drummer Steven Adler smashed his hand into a lamppost on hearing a tour with Alice Cooper was threatened because Alice's father had died. The band then had to go out without him with Cinderella's Fred Coury taking over the sticks Fred, by the way, like many other musicians, has only good things to say about Guns and said about the affair "I loved touring with those boys. They're completely crazy. Any time they need me I'm there." Now Izzy well... he's a quiet one but as the saying goes they can often be the worst. Still waters run deep and all that. The only sane one seems to be Duff McKagan who is enough of an observer of tradition to have gone and got himself hitched last month to a chick who has her own band. As for the songs, well they are written mostly about the situations the boys find themselves in in real life.

"True stones are what works best I think," says Axl. "I wrote one song all about a girl I knew called Michelle which was all true. About how her mum was a whore who liked drugs and her dad worked in a porno shop. The whole family ended up digging the song because they saw themselves for what they were. I'm just trying to capture situations as accurately as possible. A lot of rock stars do that for a gimmick but I'm doing it because its me. I hate to be trivial. I hate to be the singer in the group. I hate hearing myself back on tape, y'know. But the thing is everyone else in the band is too scared to do it."

Seems like a good enough working relationship. A formula that works even. It was back in 1985 that Guns'n'Roses started playing around the local clubs in Los Angeles like the Troubadour and The Roxy on Sunset Strip. They fast got a reputation for being larger than life personalities who lived life in the fast lane down at their run-down house on Santa Monica Boulevard. It has been said that it was Guns who spearheaded the whole glam thing that Poison capitalised upon, and the fact is there is certainly no love lost between the two groups with Slash in particular giving Brett and the boys regular verbal lashings about them being copy cats. A certain astute A&R man by the name of Tom Zutaut saw the band (which to be fair wasn't difficult since the David Geffen Copagoda building is right across the street from the Troubadour) and had the sense to sign them. Warts 'n all as it were. Far be it from me to quote yet again the famous remark made by a Geffen employee about how Guns'n'Roses [i]"would make it big - if they live"
, however let it suffice to say that Zutaut took them all when each and everyone of them had some sort of drug or alcohol addiction and everyday had some major disaster or confrontation to deal with. The record company was often treated to a mass visitation by the band complete with scantily dressed women in bathing suits and swimming towels. How astute Zutaut had been was soon to be seen though, with Guns very quickly becoming one of the major arena bands on the scene in the USA, with their own brand of hard driving hard rocking blues metal. And when 'Appetite for Destruction' was released it immediately sold 600.000 copies, and now the total sales have reached a cool million.

LEATHER

Charges about the supposed non originality of the material infuriate them "I don't understand why people always say we're Aerosmith rip-offs" says Slash "None of us are blatantly imitating them. We love Aerosmith so maybe our sound is similar but that's where the comparisons end."

The band have now been on the road continuously for four years and only recently signs of strain have started to show. Just twenty minutes before they were due to go on to open for Iron Maiden in Sacremento it was announced that Axl was suffering from complete and absolute loss of voice and the band would not be appearing. Speculation has been rife since, about the real reason for the cancellation of the show at such short notice, although Axl has undergone surgery to remove polyps from his vocal chords. On their previous two visits to Britain they have proved that they can rock better than the best. Music Guns'n'Roses style is more metal than most, magnificent hard nosed rhythm and booze magic. When I saw them at Hammersmith Odeon last November I was blown away by the sight of W. Axl Rose in action doing his motoring dance in those shiny tighter than light leather pants. The audience felt the same: many of us just stood there gob struck with our mouths open in disbelief. Christ we didn't know they were THAT good! Gone is any pretentiousness, any bloated attempts at parody. What this lot do is sincere, from the heart. It has more raw energy than many bands, the sort of energy which the band bring to the stage is from nights spent in the cesspits of nightime Los Angeles. The Hollywood of the Hells Angels. This band come from the street. No wonder they often encounter trouble.

"People hang round us," says Axl. "Sometimes they get in your way and you have to deal with it or they'll run you over. They want your money, your home, your girlfriend. You perform for them so they think they own you. You wouldn't believe the guys who come to the shows standing outside with 9mm Lugers waiting to blow me away. But we've never had anything handed to us on a plate. We've slogged it every inch of the way. Failure and insecurity are all around. I've seen it and I ain't going back there, so what we do is to take everything we see. We take everything from everything we hear, what we see and do. I ain't making any excuses. I don't care what anybody else thinks."

You know what I think? Only somebody who really does care says things like that.

JANE WALLACE
[/i][/b]
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:40 pm

It was likely from this trip to England, Slash would be inspired to choose the name of the first Snakepit record in 1995:

When we went to England, I think It was Donington, we were going to the airport and I was in a really bad mood. I went to the bar at the hotel and I said, "I know it's only 10 o'clock in the morning, but can I have a Jack and coke?" He said "It's five o'clock somewhere." and I've lived by that over since. The whole reason behind the title is it's really wide open. It's five o'clock somewhere, there's something happening going on.
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