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SoulMonster

1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

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1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:47 am

Date:
July 2, 1991.

Venue:
Riverport Amphitheatre.

Location:
St. Louis, USA.

Setlist:
01. Perfect Crime
02. Mr. Brownstone
03. Live and Let Die
04. Dust N' Bones
05. You Could Be Mine
06. Patience
07. Double Talkin' Jive
08. November Rain
09. Welcome to the Jungle
10. Civil War
11. 14 Years
12. Rocket Queen (stopped)

Line-up:
Axl Rose (vocals), Izzy Stradlin (rhythm guitarist), Slash (lead guitarist), Duff McKagan (bass), Dizzy Reed (keyboards) and Matt Sorum (drums).

Notes:

Quotes:
I regret what happened last night [KSHE-FM, July 3, 1991]
Fuck you St. Louis and God bless America! [Onstage Dallas, July 8, 1991]
Everybody thinks it is just because we were wimped out on photos being taken But you can only put up with so much shit from one or two members of the crowd. It's distracting to have flashbulbs go off in your face. They're not supposed to bring cameras, right? There was a handful of security guys who weren't paying attention to the audience at all. They were turned around - watching us. Axl told one guy, "If you don't take care of this, I will!" But the guy didn't react. I don't know if it was miscommunication or if he was just not interested. We've been jumping into crowds our whole career - that's how we do things. So Axl dived in to go after the flash. When we finally got him back onstage, he just walked off. We had already played an hour-and-a-half kick-ass set, but a couple of people started throwing things, and then someone jumped onto the stage - that brought out a few security guys. At that point, the crowd got off on rushing the authority and tearing up the amps - the whole fucking grandness of it. [...] We decided we were the only people who could take control, so we started to go back onstage. But by then the kit and all my cabinets were gone. These people were fucking ripping into the metal MESA/Boogie grilles to get to the speakers! Some guy ran off with a lot of guitars - they caught him. Our crew and our own security were the wall defending our equipment. Some of our guys got stitches. Backstage, there were people on stretchers, bleeding, and cops coming through on stretchers. It was real intense. [...] They rushed us out in a van, all huddled together. We saw cop after cop going in the opposite direction. They're trying to blame us for it, and in a small way, I'll say it was our fault, but there were so many other factors involved [Slash - The Hands Behind the Hype, December 1991]
That was something stupid. I won't comment on that because I don't want to be negative. It happened and it was ridiculous. There was people injured and that pissed me off a lot. I can't enjoy people being hurt in a show. That was bullshit! It was one of the worse nights, like the Donington show were those kids died. That was horrible [Popular 1, July 2000]
Y'know everybody is trying to pick on us because of the taking of the picture. But it wasn't about that really. It was one of those things that sorta built up. Okay, there were some security guys- we're talking about the front line house people right? And the guys are fucking standing there with their arms on the stage watching the band, okay? And there was this gang of guys, and they're taking pictures and shit. And Axl says to the security 'are you gonna do anything about it?' And the security are like 'Oh, yeah dude, rock 'n' roll man!' That's security. So Axl just decided to take care of it himself. He says, "Well, if you're not, I will!' That's Axl- bam, right in there. "We kept the suspense beat going, but when he got backstage, it was like "Fuck this" and he threw his mike down and walked off. That's just the way he is all right? It makes us look like a bunch of fucking pansies and that's not the case. It's like 'C'mon, there's a fucking rule. No cameras. Everybody's bootlegging us. Get the fucking guy and stop it.' I mean, there's enough people taping us and shit. They make a fortune. "I used to bootleg shit, I used to scalp tickets- I know! If we don't see it, then we don't see it. I don't give a fuck. I ain't crying. But if the guy's in the front row and it's like click, click, click, this flashing going on, you gotta tell the security to get the guy. "St. Louis turned into such a violent situation, y'know, we lost all our equipment. Like one of Izzy's cabinets we found out by the concessions stands! My amps were out on the lawn, monitor boards... I was wondering what the fuck would make anybody sit there and dig into a metal grate to get into the speakers in a speaker cabinet. And when we say the lighting truss, they stole half the guns logo. "There were cops. There was blood everywhere. And we had to sneak outta the gig. Y'know we tried to go back on, but the kit was down and that made us realize... it's just the band and the crowd. The more authority you stick in front of the crowd, the more cops and SWAT guys, even though they're doin' their job, the worse the crowd gets. Because we're a rebellious band and our fans are like "Fuck this! We'll kick your ass and we'll kick that guys ass and we'll storm this fucking thing", right? So we have to say 'OK, listen, just don't be an asshole okay? We're only a band, y'know We're as weak as the next guy and, y'know we're up here playing and it's a sensitive subject anyway [Metal Masters, 1992]
That was the most violent act I've ever witnessed in my life. But I could feel that something was going to happen long before the riot broke out. There was an unmistaken ugliness in the air that night. It broke out so fast that there were no way we could have stopped it. We were afraid that someone was going to die, ourselves included. We had hardly gotten off the stage when people started to tear the place apart. They brought down these huge stacks of speakers and completely ripped my amps to shreds. We had to hide in a van to escape from the parking lot, and even then we weren't sure that we were going to make it out of there[Guitar World, January 2000]
Axl had a beef with a guy in the first few rows who had a video camera. Axl mentioned it to the venue security and they did nothing about it. Their attitue and the guy's blatant disregard really set Axl off, so he jumped out into the crowd to take his camera away. When he jumped down, it was great, we kept playing that suspenseful riff that starts of "Rocket Queen," and I thought the whole moment was killer. When Axl got back onstage, everything felt triumphant for a second...then he grabbed the mike, said something like, "Because of the bullshit security, we're going home," slammed the mike own, and walked offstage.

The band kept going. We'd gotten good at improvising to fill dead space - drum solos, guitar solos, jams - we had a bag of tricks to keep things moving whenever Axl made a sudden exit. We kept jamming, and I went over to the side of the stage. "Where is he?" I asked Dough.

He looked at me with a pained expression. "He's not coming back."

"What do you mean he's not coming back?" I shouted, still playing the riff.

"There is no way he is coming back, " Doug said. "There's nothing I can do."

We were about ninety minutes into our set, which was our minimum, contractually, but the plan was to play a two-hour set and the crowd wasn't close to satisfied. They knew there was a lot more lfet. I would have done anything to get Axl back onstage at that point.

"Ask him again!" I yelled. "Find out if he's really not going to." I should have by Doug's expression that there was no use.

Once it was final, we had no choice: the band put down our gear, and it was like pulling the plug on the stereo - the song just ended on a question mark. That entire arena sat there expecting something to happen, but instead we walked offtstage without a word. And that set them off. We had no idea how much that set them off.

We all gathered in the dressing room, Axl wasn't there, and the mood was pretty solemn, to say the least. And that's when the racked started. We could hear this pounding; even through the doors, it sounded like mayhem. Axl suddenly came into the dressing room and said, "Let's go back on."

We went down the hallway toward the stage and it was like the scene in the Beatles' Yellow Submarine where they're walking through a hall and it's normal but every time they open a door there's a train coming at them or a cat screeching: we'd open a door and there was yelling, we'd open another and see people on stretchers, cops with blood all over them, gurneys everywhere, and pandemonium. At the time we were shooting a documentary, so we have a lot of it on film.

The St. Louis locals weren't having our cancellation - they tore the entire building apart; they did things that I didn't think were possible. It was daunting, if anything - we learned not to fuck around with crowds to that extent. Axl, at least, should have been more wary from that point on not to take an audience to that level of agitation ever again
[Slash's autobiography, p 339-340]
The show started about an hour late - which by this point almost counted as on time. We played about an hour and a half, and were in the middle of "Rocket Queen" when all hell broke loose. For reasons that don't matter - they were immediately eclipsed not only by the coverage of the incident but also in the moment, onstage, as events unfolded - Axl dove into the audience to try to address something the house security had not. His foray didn't last long, and I helped him upright as he lunged back onstage. He then strode to the mic and announced that because security hadn't done their job, he was leaving. He slammed the mic down and stormed off. We quickly followed.

For about ten minutes, we waited in the wing, unsure what to do. Since we all had our own dressing rooms and staff and Axl had hurried off to his, we didn't know whether or not he was planing to return. We thought he probably would. The crowd seemed to think so, too.

Unlike a lot of venues, this one had a huge set of sliding doors at the back of the stage tat could be closed and locked with chains. Most of the equipment not visible from teh audience was already in a position to be locked backstage. After that first ten minutes, the tone of the crowd changed and people began to throw stuff at the stage. The crew started to shift some of the items in front of our set out of harm's way - guitars, amp racks.

Every time crew members went out now to grab something, all sorts of shit rained down. It was coming steadily. Most dangerous of all were the venue's plastic chairs with pieces of their metal frames still attached. Those were heavy. I could hear the thuds and they landed on the stage and bounced off the walls. [...]

Axl re-emerged from his dressing room and we offered to go back out and play to calm things down. It was too late.

Security tried to push the crowd back from the stage with a fire hose. But the crowd got the hose and backed our entire crew, the house security, and all the local cops behind the sliding doors. Kids were climbing our hanging speaker towers, destroying our monitors, smashing lights.

We hunkered down backstage. We were lucky. In a lot of venues there is no chained door and the crowd would have taken over the entire venue. Once the gates were closed and the kids had the stage, the crew did not go back out - there was no reason for anyone to risk opening a door and poking their head out to see what was going on.

But we could hear it all. Screams, crashes, the thunder of thousands of feet. Boom, boom, boom, WHOOSH. Rumble, rumble, boom, AAAAAAAAAAAH! Shouts, more thunder, the scraping groan of large objects being pushed around.

Another twenty minutes went before forty or fifty police cars came screaming in and backup police stormed and retook the venue.

The band was shoved into a small van and told to get on the floor so we weren't visible. Slash's hat was sticking up. The driver asked him to take it off. When the van drove our of the enclosed part of the venue and into the parking lot, I could hear the mayhem had spread outside. As we pulled out of the parking lot, I peeked out the back window - I could see speaker cabinets and pieces of our pianos. Kids had gotten tired of carrying them or dumped them when the cops showed. Clots of cops ran around with batons and pepper spray. Kids ran this way and that. Medics rushed around treating bloodied fans. Police had people in cuffs. It looked like a war zone
[Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 186-188]
The riot happened because we left the stage after we had done an hour-and-a-half show, which we were contracted to do. The people want a lot more out of Guns N' Roses and usually they get it, but that night they were upset because they weren't getting it. The place allowed bottles and knives and whatever else inside, which is evident from looking at the videotape. It was all over the stage. (...)The rights that I have and the band has are written all the way through our contract. Nobody has really ever questioned it. Nobody has said, 'No, these are my rights and I'm claiming them right now.' (...)
And they think I did it just because I wanted to stop somebody from taking my picture. The camera was the last straw, the final thing. I was sick of, at that point, with the security in the front. There was a weird space in my mind the entire night. I was thinking, "Something isn't right up here. Why is there this weird attitude, this passiveness, in the security?" There was no feeling that they were on the same team as us. Their feelings towards the crowd wasn't right. A young boy and a girl were getting shoved over here while rowdy bikers are being allowed to do whatever they want. What is going on? I was very confused. (...)
When someone says, "Axl didn't want his picture taken," they are not considering the big picture. We are the most bootlegged new band in history. There are over 47 albums out. Even songs that are on the new record. When I play "November Rain" people cheer. They know the song. It's already sold a few million copies on bootleg. When people aren't working together to help avoid that, it really gets me mad. (...)
They don't want to take responsibility for their own actions. I dived into that crowd. And when I dive I'm aware of what can happen. I wasn't aware that they were going to tear the place down, but I'm aware of all the legal things that can happen with me. Someone getting hurt or whatever. But I've got a videotape of people destroying our equipment. It wasn't the building's equipment. I think people got ripped off of a good show. When my audience is denying me the right to call my show for reasons that don't have anything to do with them, that's not fair. We realized the police were not handling the situation. Their method was not working.(...)
A lot of people don't realize that we tried to come back, but we found out the drums were damaged while the police were on the risers, so we couldn't. We felt we had a better chance of calming everybody down than the police, but by that time everything was too far gone. We were told to leave and now people are saying they don't remember that. (...)
That night in St. Louis I got hit in the eye when I jumped off the stage. When I did I lost a contact. I wear these experimental lenses and I didn't know I had another set. So I am half blind going, "Okay, I can't see. The show is over. As a matter of fact my next few shows are over." I was really upset. I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't know that I had anymore lenses. But once I realized I had another contact I got the band together and we were going to go back out because now they know there is a problem with security and stuff, so things are going to be handled differently. But by that time the riot had already started and there was nothing that could be done. The police were trying to figure out whether they should just arrest me and let the crowd do whatever they wanted to do. It's really hard to handle the frustration I get, and the anger, at being portrayed consistently so negatively. There are certain areas of the media who do that to me all the time.(...)
I was a part of a very unfortunate night for everybody. It wasn't a good time for us. I wasn't Mother Theresa that night.

[“There’s a riot going on”, Musician, September 1991.]
The reason it happened was because the promoter just didn’t really care about the people in the crowd or the band on the stage. And, you know, there were a lot of problems going into the show and during the show with the way the building was being run, and once I realized we fulfilled our contract and... I got a contact knocked out in diving after a guy that the security didn’t care to stop because he was their friend, it was like it was over. And I went backstage, got a new contact, came back and it was too late, you know.
And my problem with that situation is that... there’s a lot of fingers pointed at Guns N’ Roses, a lot of fingers pointed at me, and I’m going to take responsibility for what I did in that situation and why I did it and pay whatever the consequences are. But a lot of people in that crowd that, you know, they tore up our equipment, they tore up the building, and I don’t see anybody going “Umm, I apologize for throwing that chair through your amps.”... you know, I don’t see that, and that really bothers me.
But then I also look at it like, you know, Spin magazine said that it was a great show of solidarity, you know, with us and the crowd, being sarcastic. The same time I went “well that’s our audience and that’s what I used to do if things went wrong, I’d just tear something up” (laughs). So, I went, well, I guess that was our crowd, you know, and it’s like when emotions got high, and I think everybody should take a bit more responsibility for what happened, you know, and... also respect that, you know, it is the artist who has control over a lot of things and if that isn’t respected by the building, or the security, or even the people in the crowd, the artist has the right to leave.

[Rockline radio interview, November 27, 1991.]
I'm saying, yeah, I jumped off-stage and, yeah, things went haywire after that, and maybe I could have handled it better or whatever, but no one was really handling anything at that point. So I took it into my own hands with what I could do ... because I had been pretty much pushed to the limit by their lack of security. But I don't see anybody else in St. Louis really taking any responsibility for anything that happened. [MTV interview with Kurt Loder, July 12, 1992.]
With the St. Louis thing, you know, that was Axl’s deal, and I don’t want to conflict anything with whatever it is, however he settled that situation. Some of the shit that went on was [messed up] because a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon with it. But as far as the actual situation was concerned, I do firmly believe that there were a couple of security guards that just weren’t paying attention to what Axl was trying to communicate to them. And Axl will do that. He just jumps in the crowd.
And the reason we’re sensitive about the camera shit is because we got bootlegged. I mean, from the public’s point of view, I don’t think they understand the financial impact that bootlegging has on a business like, say, Guns N’ Roses or even back to Led Zeppelin or anything.
So I know where Axl was coming from. It was a little bit dramatic, and I don’t think leaving the stage is necessarily correct. I don’t condone that or anything, but from where I was standing, I was still just playing my guitar. I just looked over and all of a sudden Axl’s not there and I see this commotion go on.
Then, of course, what happened after that was a fluke. I’ve never seen anything like that, the retaliation aspect of it, because there was a point there where Axl and I went to go back on stage. And we didn’t know it had gotten started because we were back in the dressing room.
So we got up and went to the side of the stage and looked, and there were like riot cops and everything was broken and people were bleeding. There were like stretchers and shit, and I was just like ‘Jesus Christ!’ And then they whisked us away in a van, and I had my top hat on. They said, ‘Get that [bleeping] thing off! Duck!’ And we got out of there. There were cops pouring in. I mean, the whole thing was a nightmare.
I have a videotape of it that someone took, and I can’t watch it. I watched five minutes of it and went, ‘Jesus, I just can’t, I just don’t want to be reminded of the whole thing’. And that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come back and play in St. Louis. I was trying to get Axl to do a club gig there because that would be cool. We have the [guts] to be able to come back and do that. It’s like a getting-back-on-the-horse kind of concept.

[St. Louis Post Dispatch, April 28, 1995.]
We were all headed out and there was a lot of violence, there was the riot squad coming in, helicopters, tear gas, the whole thing. It was a full-on riot. It was pretty serious. We knew we were either going to be arrested for the situation or... Inciting a riot. We were, like, running from the law. It was pretty awesome. So we went in this van. I'll never forget it, ‘cause we were going through the crowd and people were banging on the van, and Slash had his top hat on. I remember reaching over and going, "Take your hat off. It's obvious that it's you," you know? We stopped at a waffle house. Axl was still in his skirt. It was like... We went in, people just looked over... "Holy shit." You know? We got up to Chicago and... Everything was on the news. These riots, huge fires and 600 people injured. Holy shit, right? Record sales are going through the roof. It was...amazing.
So the next day
[he probably means the next year] it comes on the news that they're going to extradite Axl. They're going to arrest him for inciting a riot. We sent two decoys out of the hotel. We dressed them like Axl, and we had this other guy named Ronnie that worked for Slash. He had really curly hair like Slash. So we dressed him up like Slash. And the cops were coming in the front, and Axl went out the kitchen. And they arrested those guys, thinking they were Axl and Slash. [“The Most Dangerous Band In The World”, BBC, 2016.]
There would have been no destroying of the place if I was there. ‘Cause if Axl left and they started getting crazy, I would have started playing my drums, and I would have got them excited. I would have done something to stop that. [“The Most Dangerous Band In The World”, BBC, 2016.]
Next concert: 1991.07.08.
Previous concert: 1991.06.30.


Last edited by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:22 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Wed May 07, 2014 6:40 am

GNR Tour Disrupted After Melee : Axl Rose Apologizes for Missouri Concert Riot
July 04, 1991|CHUCK PHILIPS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Guns N' Roses canceled a concert tonight near Chicago after the rock group's sound equipment was destroyed during a melee Tuesday night following an abbreviated performance outside St. Louis.

"It was a full-fledged riot," Carl Middleman, a reporter for St. Louis radio station KSHE-FM, said Wednesday.

The disturbance erupted at the Riverport Amphitheater in Maryland Heights, Mo., about an hour and a half into the concert when Axl Rose, lead singer for the best-selling Los Angeles rock band, stormed off the stage.

Moments before, Rose--one of rock's most controversial and impulsive figures--dove from the stage in an effort to grab a concertgoer's video camera himself, according to an eyewitness. But the fan eluded him.

Rose then climbed back on stage. After chastising the security guards for allowing the camera in the arena, the rock singer threw down his microphone and walked away.

Police said that about 2,500 of the 19,000 fans then stampeded the stage, destroyed the band's drums and amplifiers, tore down chain-link fences, ripped shrubs out of the outdoor theater and demolished two large video screens.

"It was a total melee," said Middleman, who witnessed the incident from the 12th row of the amphitheater. "I don't know if Axl was provoked or not, but he seemed to fly off the handle. I think he could have handled himself better."

Maryland Heights (Mo.) Chief of Police Neil Kurlander was conducting an investigation Wednesday into the matter, but no charges against Rose or the band had been filed, according to the St. Louis County Prosector's office.

An estimated 60 people were injured, several having to be carried out on stretchers, according to Maryland Heights Police.

The number included 13 law enforcement officers, whose injuries ranged from a broken kneecap to cuts. Sixteen people were booked on suspicion of riotous behavior and released. Physical damage was estimated at more than $200,000.

According to the police report, it took an estimated 400 police with nightsticks and fire hoses about an hour and a half to bring the rioting fans under control.

But Rose, who left the amphitheater with his band as the disturbance grew, called KSHE-FM about two hours after the incident to express his concerns about the riot.

"I regret what happened last night," Rose told KSHE-FM deejay Jim Ellis.

In a statement to Associated Press after the incident, Maryland Heights police Sgt. John Wachter said, "This is the first incident we've seen in which a bandleader attacked someone in the crowd, and that is what precipitated the riot," Wachter said. "I know groups don't like to have (their pictures taken), but they should have exercised a little more judgment."

Along with numerous other bands, Guns N' Roses has frequently complained about unauthorized camera operators and photographers at concerts.

The band, whose first two albums have sold more than 12 million copies worldwide, has often made headlines on stage.

Two weeks ago, the band showed up 2 1/2 hours late for a performance at Long Island's Nassau Coliseum. An angry Rose then went into a tirade against the group's record label, Geffen Records, and various publications, including Rolling Stone magazine.

Last month, the hard-rock group was fined $5,000 when it ignored a curfew at an Indiana arena. Authorities said they acted mainly because of Indiana-native Rose's remarks to the crowd, in which he berated the "scared old people" of Indiana, and compared the state to a Nazi concentration camp.

Opening two years ago for the Rolling Stones at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Rose threatened to quit the band, claiming drugs were destroying the group.

Earlier, some of the band's lyrics were criticized for being anti-homosexual and racist, though Rose denied the charges, insisting the lyrics in question were simply "social realism."

Rose was arrested last October for allegedly bashing a neighbor with a bottle, although prosecutors later dropped the case for lack of evidence.

Holly Huetter, spokeswoman for Chicago-based promoter JAM Productions, said the Guns N' Roses' show planned for tonight in Tinley Park, Ill., will be rescheduled.

The band hopes to have new equipment in place in time for its Kansas City date Friday, a Geffen spokeswoman said.

Guns N' Roses is scheduled to headline the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa on July 25 and the Forum in Inglewood on July 29, 30, Aug 1 and 3.

"We have every intention of going on with the Guns N' Roses shows as scheduled," Claire Rothman, general manager of the Forum, said Wednesday."

Despite its controversial reputation, Guns N' Roses has been widely praised by some rock critics as the best entry in the long line of bands that deal with youthful aggression and rebellion in the tradition of the Rolling Stones and the Doors. Its tunes, ranging from "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Mr. Brownstone" to "Sweet Child o' Mine," touch on both the temptations and consequences of "fast-lane" behavior.

The group's snarling new single, "You Could Be Mine," is featured in the film "Terminator 2."
Source: Los Angeles Times, July 4, 1991.
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:19 am

No St. Louis gig on the 2016 "Not In This Lifetime" tour:


Guns N’ Roses Won’t Make Up With St. Louis Just Yet

In 1991, Guns N’ Roses played an infamous show at the Riverport Amphitheatre, just outside St. Louis. While the band was performing, Axl Rose noticed a fan in the audience taking pictures. He tried to send security out to kick the fan out or to confiscate the camera, but he kept seeing the guy taking pictures. So eventually, Rose jumped into the crowd to attack the fan, and he ended up fighting with both audience members and security guards. When he got back onstage, he promptly stormed off, and the rest of the band joined him. The crowd that night, in what’s been dubbed the Riverfront Riot, tore the arena to pieces, resulting in 60 injuries and hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. Rose was later charged with inciting a riot, though the charges were dropped.

After that show, GN’R continued to blame the city and the security for the riot. Rose wore a “St. Louis Sucks” shirt onstage, and the band included “FUCK YOU, ST. LOUIS” in the Use Your Illusion liner notes. Last week, the band announced the dates for its quasi-reunion tour, with Slash and Duff McKagan back in the fold for the first time in decades. When the band first announced the cities they’d visit on this tour St. Louis was on the list. But when they announced the actual dates, there was no St. Louis stop.

When it looked like they were actually coming, the city’s Riverfront Times wrote, with mixed feelings, about the idea that the band might return to the city. It won’t happen. The Riverfront Times now reports that the band wasn’t able to find a suitable venue in or near St. Louis:

Most tours of this magnitude are planned well in advance, but we’re working on GN’R time. GN’R has every intention of coming back but can’t make it happen on this tour… When Guns N’ Roses teased the 2016 tour last Friday, the actual tour routing was still in development, and the expectations was that all 21 cities would be included. Over the subsequent days as the routing and logistics were being finalized it became evident the calendar would not allow for the tour to make a stop in St. Louis.

A quick personal story here: My first concert was a year after the Riverfront Riot, and it was Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, and Faith No More on the Washington, DC opening date of what would become a massive and ill-fated stadium tour. I don’t know how I convinced my dad to take me to that; it involved something like straight A’s on my seventh-grade report card. My dad basically hates all rock music. This was a major coup.

Guns N’ Roses came onstage an hour and a half late, which was a thing they always did at the time, though I didn’t know that when I was 12. My dad kept itching to leave, saying they weren’t coming and there was about to be another riot. When they did finally make it onstage, the last Metro trains were about to leave, and we only got to stay for four or five songs. (I heard the opening notes of “Welcome To The Jungle” as we were walking across the parking lot. It was heartbreaking.)

But three songs into the show, I did get to see one classic, vintage Axl Rose moment, one that’s deeply inscribed on my memory. “They told me not to say anything derogatory about St. Louis,” Rose said. “Well, St. Louis can suck my dick.” He then went off on a long rant about how the city doesn’t know how to host a rock concert. My dad happens to be from St. Louis. And I just sat there, on pins and needles, watching his blood boil. It’s amazing to think that, 25 years after that St. Louis show, those tensions might still remain.

Source: http://www.stereogum.com/1869708/guns-n-roses-wont-make-up-with-st-louis-just-yet/news/


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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by denitza on Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:41 am

[quote="Soulmonster"]No St. Louis gig on the 2006 "Not In This Lifetime" tour:




2016 is correct :-)
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:17 am

Doh!
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jul 02, 2016 6:37 pm

Because of the riots at the St. Louis gig, the next scheduled gig on July 4 was cancelled:

Cancelled show, after St. Louis riot

It wasn't the first Chicago area show the band canceled over the years, but this show at the then-named World Music Theatre had to be postponed after the lead singer incited a riot at a St. Louis show two nights earlier, which injured 64 people and caused $200,000 in damage to the theater. This show wasn't canceled due to police fears of another riot, however, but because the band didn't have enough undamaged equipment to perform, according to a July 4, 1991, Tribune article.

Tinley Park
Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/ct-guns-n-roses-chicago-htmlstory.html
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:51 pm

Daniel Durchholz wrote:A letter to Axl Rose from a survivor of the ’91 riot

By Daniel Durchholz Special to Go! Magazine

Hi, Axl.

It’s been a long time. Twenty-six years. Twenty-six!

The last time I saw you, I was in the eighth row — what was left of it — at what was once called Riverport Amphitheatre. You were in the crowd, too, six or seven rows ahead of me, starting a fight with a motorcycle gang.

I think we can both agree that that is never a good idea, right?

Since we’ve never had the opportunity to talk, I wanted to write a note just to say thanks, because that night — as crazy and dangerous as it was, with all the injuries, destruction of property and psychic damage it wrought on your St. Louis fans and the city in general — was a great night for me.

At the time, I was an arts editor at the Riverfront Times and attended along with Thomas Crone, one of our staff writers. I wasn’t even covering the show, per se, but something told me I should be there and that I should bring along a reporter’s notebook, as well.

Those are common instincts for journalists, of course. Showing up is 80 percent of life, as Woody Allen reminds us. And though I was never a Boy Scout, I’ve always taken their motto, “Be prepared,” as gospel.

When the [stuff] hit the fan, though, and the concert erupted into a riot, the thing I was not ready for — because who would have expected it? — was that Crone and I would simply hang in there and report the story. Other journalists fled, leaving us as the only reporters on the inside of a major story that was unfolding right in front of us.

I can still remember certain details vividly: rioters swinging from cables under the light and speaker rigging on the stage, the sound engineer warning me there would be “massive death” if it fell down; police trying to hold the stage by shooting a fire hose at the crowd, though it lacked sufficient water pressure; a man jumping into the stream, then pulling down his pants and waving his penis at the cops.

Ah, good times.

There were other things, too: a man with a gash on his shoulder and blood on his face running madly up the aisle; another, his head strapped down, being carried out on a stretcher; Crone being viciously jabbed in the kidneys by police trying to clear the lower bowl as I shouted that we were members of the press.

The cops’ response was a string of vulgarities unfit for publication — here, anyway.

“We’re reporters, I pleaded.

“That’s nice,” another said, as they dumped us down a steep staircase.

He was right. It was nice, though it didn’t really seem so at that moment.

Because the RFT was a weekly newspaper — still is — and I’d have nowhere to publish my account of the riot until days later, I spent the rest of that night calling everyone I knew at Rolling Stone, MTV News and other media outlets. Breaking news just wants to be free, but this was in the pre-internet, pre-cellphone era, and I couldn’t just put it out there on social media.

In a long and convoluted way, which I won’t trouble you with here, I can say that the fact of my staying on the case that night and then fighting so hard to get the story out led to pretty much everything that has followed for me — a job editing a music magazine, writing books, doing radio and continuing to cover music even to this day. It’s been great.

What have you been up to since that time?

Oh yeah: “Chinese Democracy.” Well, nice going on that.

On the upside, I do have to say congrats for getting St. Louis’ own Richard Fortus in the band. He’s one of the best, which is something we knew even before you did. Well done.

And Tommy Stinson! A rock ’n’ roll hero if there ever was one. I’m sad he’s no longer with the group, but I was always glad to see him get a regular check courtesy of you. He deserved it.

Also, I’m glad to see you’re back with Slash, Duff, Dizzy and the other guys. This is how it should have been all along. There’s no recapturing those wasted years, but there’s still now, and we have to do the best we can with that, right?

I do have to say we’re still a little sore about that “(Expletive) you, St. Louis!” that you put in the liner notes of “Use Your Illusion.” But at the time, the feeling was probably mutual. So let’s just forget about that.

Meanwhile, welcome back to town. I trust the same thing won’t happen again. I know you said back in ’91 that people were throwing bottles at the band, and that’s what upset you. Fair enough. But it was someone taking pictures with an instamatic camera — remember those? — that actually set you off, and that’s why you dived into the crowd and started a riot.

Well, it’s a new century, and now everybody has a smartphone, which means everybody has a camera.

So … smile, Axl! We’re glad to see you again, more or less.

All the best,

Dan

Daniel Durchholz is a freelance music writer in St. Louis.
Source: http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/music/a-letter-to-axl-rose-from-a-survivor-of-the/article_4a920128-0a02-5861-b93c-f1e883bf2337.html
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:04 am

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:51 am

Review in Southern Illinoisian:

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. (AP) - Axl Rose, lead singer of the heavy metal rock group Guns N' Roses, yelled at security guards to take a camera from a fan before leaping into the crowd and touching off a riot, witnesses said Wednesday.
About 60 people were injured, including 15 police officers. The new Riverport Amphitheater sustained $200,000 in damage Tuesday night, Police Chief Neil Kurlander. An estimated 3,000 rioters rampaged at the concert attended by 15,400 people, Kurlander said.
Kurlander said 13 adults and two juveniles were arrested on charges including assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, destruction of property and failure to disperse.
Police also were considering filing charges against Rose, who left town shortly after the disturbance. But Kurlander wouldn't speculate on what charges, if any, might be sought. "We're not going to be stampeded into making criminal charges," he said.
Conflicting reports said it was either a video camera or a still camera with flash that angered Rose. All cameras are banned at the theater.
"He was yelling about it and then he said, 'If security's not going to do anything about it, then I will,' and he just dove, like three rows back," said Jason Lester, 29, who was about 20 feet from Rose.
"I couldn't believe he would be so stupid. It was such a dumb thing to do."
Security guards moved in and lifted Rose, who was swinging his arms, back on stage, but the angry singer slammed his cordless microphone and stomped off.
"Then all hell broke loose," said security guard David Boelhof.
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:22 am

From USA Today:

Edna Gundersen wrote:Rose blames lax security for riot


"I don't think the blame would have come down on the band had the crowd gone crazy at a Barry Manilow show," singer Axl Rose says of the Guns N' Roses concert that ended in a riot Tuesday night. "I'm an easy scapegoat."
But not a willing one. Rose blames lax security for the destructive rampage at the show outside St. Louis. At least 64 concertgoers and 15 officers were injured, and the new Riverport Amphitheater sustained $200,000 in damages.
Police are mulling charges against Rose, whom the promoter claims incited the riot.
Rose says there's evidence to the contrary: "We have the whole thing on videotape."
Near the show's end, Rose grew agitated when security guards, who he says tolerated rowdy, disruptive bikers near the stage, failed to confiscate a camera from one of them.
"I asked them three times, 'Get that guy.' Nobody did anything. Finally, I went in after the guy, to restrain him while someone else got the camera." (GNR's contract forbids cameras, knives and bottles, all in evidence, he says. Though the band discourages alcohol sales, the venue sold beer.)
Citing "lame security," the bruised Rose (who lost a contact lens) ended the show. A GNR spokesman announced that the band would return if calm prevailed. It didn't.
Rose says he wanted to continue playing, but "the drums were damaged, and the police and promoter did not want us to go near the stage.
"I would have liked to go out there and calm the crowd down. We weren't given the opportunity."
Guitars were salvaged but most of GNR's equipment was destroyed or stolen, forcing postponement of Thursday's show in Chicago and possibly Saturday's in Kansas City.
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:06 am

USA Today, July 8, 1991:


Guns N' Roses' Saturday concert in Bonner Springs, Kan., was canceled because the band hasn't yet replaced equipment destroyed during a concert riot last week in St. Louis. The melee began when singer Axl Rose leaped into the audience to grab a fan's camera. Meanwhile, the Damn Yankees are inviting fans to bring cameras to their concerts Thursday in Tinley Park, Ill., and July 19 in St. Louis. Says Yankees guitarist Ted Nugent: "If I was as ugly as Axl Rose, I'd be pissed off about cameras going off in my face, too.... The Damn Yankees are damn photogenic."
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:29 am

@Soulmonster wrote:Because of the riots at the St. Louis gig, the next scheduled gig on July 4 was cancelled:

Cancelled show, after St. Louis riot

It wasn't the first Chicago area show the band canceled over the years, but this show at the then-named World Music Theatre had to be postponed after the lead singer incited a riot at a St. Louis show two nights earlier, which injured 64 people and caused $200,000 in damage to the theater. This show wasn't canceled due to police fears of another riot, however, but because the band didn't have enough undamaged equipment to perform, according to a July 4, 1991, Tribune article.

Tinley Park
Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/ct-guns-n-roses-chicago-htmlstory.html

The original Chicago Tribune article:

Laurie Goering wrote:GUNS N` ROSES CANCELS

Fireworks are still expected Thursday night in Tinley Park, but one potential keg of dynamite has been defused, much to the relief of village police.

Following a melee at a Guns N' Roses concert near St. Louis Tuesday night, Chicago promoters canceled the group's 4th of July show at the southwest suburban World Music Theatre.

It wasn't because of fears about a repeat of Tuesday's violence, which left 64 people injured and heavily damaged a new theater, promoters said. It was because the rock band - known for its hit album "Appetite for Destruction" - just didn't have enough undamaged equipment to perform.

"They expect to tour again as soon as possible," said Holly Hutter, a spokeswoman for Jam Productions, which books acts for the Tinley Park outdoor theater. But "it's not going to happen tomorrow."

She asked would-be concertgoers to hold onto their tickets, saying the show is "in the process of being rescheduled."

Tinley Park police, who had planned to call out extra officers for Thursday's concert, said they weren't sorry to hear about the cancellation.

"We're relieved, definitely," said acting Police Chief Charles Montgomery, whose officers will now patrol only the regular fireworks show in town.

At Tuesday's concert in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights, Axl Rose, lead singer of the heavy metal rock band, leaped into the audience and toward a front-row fan who had been taking his photograph against his wishes, authorities said. That touched off the riot.

Though the band quickly left the Riverport Amphitheatre, more than 2,000 of the 19,000 fans at the show remained for an hour to uproot shrubs, set fires, knock over fences and destroy some of the band`s amplifiers and large video screens. The amphitheater sustained $200,000 in damage during the riot, authorities said.

The 64 injured included 13 police officers. Sixteen people were arrested. Rose left town soon after the trouble.

Rose shouted at security guards to take a camera from a fan before leaping into the crowd, witnesses said Wednesday.

"He was yelling about it and then he said, `If security`s not going to do anything about it, then I will,' and he just dove, like three rows back," said Jason Lester, 29, who was about 20 feet from Rose.

"I couldn`t believe he would be so stupid. It was such a dumb thing to do."

Security guards moved in and lifted Rose, who was swinging his arms, back on stage, but the angry singer picked up his cordless microphone, slammed it to the stage and stomped off, Lester said.

The six-member band had been on stage for more than an hour and had just finished a song when Rose jumped from a section of stage that extended into the audience, he said.

"Then all hell broke loose," said security guard David Boelhof.

When police brought out fire hoses to try to quell the violence, some fans scrambled onto the stage, wrestled the hoses away and began shooting water into the air, witnesses said.

Fans were seen rolling amplifiers up a grassy hill and leaving the area carrying seats.

Lester said he crawled under the stage, but fans began ripping it apart and he decided to try to escape.

"I had to punch and kick my way out," he said.

Hundreds of police officers were called to the theater, and witnesses said they acted with restraint in trying to calm things down.

The theater 20 miles west of St. Louis opened just last month. Its owners said they had to cancel a 4th of July laser show because of the damage. After the riot, the band returned to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and quietly checked out, said Jennifer Massey, a hotel spokeswoman.

The band's lyrics have been criticized for being homophobic and racist, and two band members created an uproar in January 1990 when they accepted honors at the nationally televised American Music Awards with obscenity-laced speeches.

Rose was arrested last October for allegedly bashing a neighbor with a bottle, although prosecutors later dropped the case for lack of evidence.

The band was fined $5,000 last month when it ignored a curfew at an Indiana arena. Authorities said they acted mainly because of Rose's remarks to the crowd, in which he berated the "scared old people" of Indiana, and compared the state to a Nazi concentration camp.

Doug Goldstein, from a Geffen press release, July 10, 1991:

[...] Yesterday GNR manager Doug Goldstein denied allegations the band precipitated the St. Louis riot and cited a breakdown in security at the new venue as the cause.

“I don’t think their security people were trained in how to deal with a spontaneous rock show. It wasn’t just about an illegal camera, as has been widely reported.”

Goldstein said there was a proliferation of bottles, cans, knives and cameras in the audience – all items banned at the Riverport Performing Arts Center. Duff McKagan, GNR’s bassman, was hit by flying bottles twice and Goldstein himself observed a fan jump on stage in the melee, wielding a six-inch knife blade over his head.

“The primary problem at Riverport in St. Louis was a motorcycle club that was intimidating people in the audience. One of them also happened to have a still camera. Axl could see them from the stage and he kept asking local security to get rid of them. I found out after the show these guys were all friends with local security, which could explain why security wouldn’t deal with the problems they were causing. Axl has never been one to stand by and just watch an injustice being done to his fans.”

Goldstein also noted lax controls on liquor sales at the Riverport venue, both in carding people and in limiting the number of drinks they could purchase.

“We don’t like to condone or condemn the use of alcohol at the shows, and in fact, in our contracts with all promoters it specifically states that if the building or promoter decides to sell alcohol at the venue, they assume complete responsibility for all damages and actions because we really feel alcohol has a tendency to accentuate problems at a venue.

“We don’t want to see anyone get hurt,” declared Goldstein. “Toward this end, in the future, GNR’s own security director will be advancing all our shows to meet with each promoter about security provisions. If we feel the promoter is not properly equipped, we will bring in professional security people.” [...]

Rolling Stone article (August 22, 1991):

Kim Neely wrote:FANS RIOT AT GUNS SHOW

A GUNS N ROSES CONCERT ON JULY 22ND AT the Riverport Performing Arts Center, in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights Missouri, ended in disaster after some 2500 fans, angry that the band had abruptly halted its show after ninety minutes, staged a full-fledged riot. Sixty people were injured and sixteen were arrested in the melee, which resulted in an estimated $2,000,000 in damages to the new amphitheater and the loss of most of Guns n' Roses gear.

From what was apparent to most of the audience, the trouble started when Axl Rose asked venue security to confiscate a camera he saw near the front of the stage. (Like most bands, Guns n' Roses don't allow cameras to be brought inside venues.) When the guards failed to comply, Rose dived into the crowd. Following a scuffle he was pulled back onto the stage, announced, "Thanks to the lame-ass security, I'm going home." and disappeared. The other band members played on for a few seconds, then left the stage as well.

The riot started about ten minutes later, when the houselights were turned on. Sporadic fights broke out, and then concertgoers went on a rampage, hurling bottles, destroying seats, pulverizing shrubbery, setting fires and laying waste to the band's equipment. Police officers used fire hoses and CapStun (an aerosol cayenne pepper similar to Chemical Mace) on the mob to no avail and were forced to retreat; according to one fan, the carnage continued for an hour before officers in riot gear arrived and got the situation under control. Though Rose has been roundly criticized in the media for his actions - the most widely quoted contention being that the riot occurred because 'Rose didn't want his picture taken - he says that the camera was simply "the final straw" and that he decided to halt the show because of a series of events, all of which stemmed from lax security.

Rose says he began feeling uncomfortable about the venue's security staff early in the show. "I could see bottles, I could see cameras, and I could see that security really didn't have a clue what they were doing," says Rose. "I remember watching this one security guy shove somebody around and then beam up at me like 'Look how powerful I am."

As the show progressed, Rose says the problems mounted. Fans, unchecked by venue security kept grabbing his ankles. Bassist Duff McKagan was hit twice by bottles. Through all of this, several members of a motorcycle gang called the Saddle Tramps were making their presence known in the first row, allegedly intimidating other concertgoers., Rose claims that the G n' R staffers tried to have one of the bikers ejected and were met with indifference by the venue's security staff.

"I found out later that these guys ere all friends with local security" says Guns n' Roses' manager Doug Goldstein, "which would explain why security wouldn't deal with the problems they were causing." Both the police and Steve Schankman, the president to Contemporary Productions, the concert's promoter confirm that the Saddle Tramps are regulars at arena shows and are indeed known to the venue's security staff but deny that the bikers were causing any problems and say that they hadn't caused problems in the past. However five of the concertgoers interviewed by Rolling Stone, who attended St. Louis area shows regularly, say otherwise. One fan, who asked not to be identified, says: "They always cause problems. I see them at every show. They're always pushing people around. And the thing is, the security guards are intimidated by them. They security guards have never, at least in my experience, gone in and said, 'Listen guys, calm down' " Early in the show, Rose says, another of the bikers, who the promoter says goes by the name of Stump, began bellowing to get Rose's attention. "You have people yelling and screaming during the whole show," says Rose, "but this guy just wouldn't stop, and he was loud - almost as loud as my monitor. He's holding up a card, and I'm like 'Okay, yeah, that’s great.' But he still won't stop yelling."

Rose finally stopped and asked the biker what he wanted; Stump handed over a card bearing his name and affiliation. (Lee Phillips, Guns n' Roses' attorney, says the exchange was captured on videotape by a member of Guns n' Roses crew. Daniel Durchholz, a reporter for the Riverfront Times who was there to review the show says, "I did see somebody hand him a card.")

"I read his card," says Rose, "and I said, 'Okay, your Stump from the Saddle Tramps - was that worth interrupting the show for?' " Rose says he asked what he was supposed to do with the card and that Stump told him to 'remember it."

Unfortunately, Rose did - a few minutes later, when he spied the "fan" with the camera - Stump.

Rose claims he asked venue security guards to take the biker's camera three times. When they did not, Rose decided to take matters into his own hands.

Though it has been widely reported that Rose began pummeling Stump, Rose says that he dived in, hit the chairs and "got a hold of the guy and wouldn’t let go of him," and that the only person he remembers striking was a venue security staffer; he adds that several guards hit him Most of the fans interviewed by Rolling Stone say they saw some sort of fight, but could not describe what took place.

Babu Brat, 24, editor of a local pop-music tabloid, who witnessed the incident from the floor, says: "He never hit the guy. I saw him hit a security guard, but he didn't hit the guy. It didn't even look like he made it to the guy when he initially jumped. He looked like he just grabbed him and held on to him." Stump could not be reached for comment.

"When I got back on the stage," says Rose, "I'd lost a contact, and I couldn't see. My first thought was 'I'm out of here. I'm paying these guys' salary, I don't need to be treated like that by them.'

"I went backstage," Rose continues, "and found a new lens. It was getting crazy, and we decided we were going to go back out and try to play, because we didn't want people to get hurt."

Though various reports have quoted the Maryland Heights police as saying that Guns n' Roses "snuck out of the venue" during the melee, Chief Neil Kurlander says he never made that statement and confirms that the band did offer to play a few more songs to calm the crowd. "By that point," says Kurlander, "it was too late, and it was too out of hand."

Guns n' Roses' management says that the band left the amphitheater on the orders of the police and the promoter. Kurlander wouldn't confirm that, but he did say that the band's leaving the venue "was probably a wise thing for them to do."

Contemporary Productions and the owners of the Riverport Performing Arts center have filed a lawsuit against Guns n' Roses, accusing the band of violating a contractual agreement to refrain from "provocative" and "dangerous" conduct. But Phillips says he feels that the lawsuit is a good example of "the best defense is a good offense" and that appropriate legal action against the promoter for numerous breaches of contract - among other things, the lack of adequate security."

A representative for B&D Security, which handled the event, declined comment. Kurlander and Schankman both deny that security for the event was inadequate. Schankman claims that the venue's staff was told before the show that the band's security would handle any crowd problems near the front of the stage. (The promoter also goes so far as to compare the inside of the facility prior to the camera incident to the inside of a church, and say that "the only bottles we saw were bottles that were backstage that the crew had brought onstage".) But other witnesses say that security was particularly lax at the venue.

"As we went into the amphitheater, I was not frisked at all.", says Melodee Lang, 24, "To me, that was unusual because at every other concert I've been to, I have been frisked," Lang says that she saw numerous patrons with bottles and cameras in the venue. Daniel Durccholz - who says he and his associate were not frisked before entering the venue either - claims to have given his business card to at least three amateur photographers during the concert, on of whom had managed to smuggle a camcorder.

Lee Phillips has indicated that even without taking into account the alleged breaches of contract on the part of the promoters, Contemporary Productions may not be able to hold Guns n' Roses liable for any damages, since alcohol was sold at Riverport and the first page of Guns n' Roses performance contract contains a clause indemnifying the band from damages at a venue where alcohol is sold. Kurlander says that the police will not make a decision on whether to file charges against Rose until a thorough investigation has been completed and that he has not reason to believe that Guns n' Roses will not cooperate fully.

"This is not a witch hunt," Kurlander says. "We will not be stampeded by people who would like to have seen Axl Rose arrested immediately. It is not the intention of this police department to charge people for what is reported in the press."

Rose says he had no idea that his decision to abort the show might prompt fans to riot, adding that it is not something he would like to see happen again. But he denies that his leaving the stage was an irresponsible act.

"I didn't have a choice," Rose says, "I couldn’t' even see, and was injured, and did not feel safe on the stage. I was concerned that people didn't get more of a show. But some fans don't take responsibility that they should take. There's a lot of people not taking responsibility for the damage they did at that place."

Kurlander agrees with Rose. "The people that rioted are ultimately responsible for their own actions," Kurlander says. "No matter what Axl Rose did, they cannot escape the fact that they violated the law. They were the ones hitting people and throwing chairs, and bottles and whatever else they could get, I don't think there's any excuse for their behavior."


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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:27 am

Reports from the St. Louis Post Dispatch

July 3, 1991:




July 4, 1991:








July 6, 1991:


July 10, 1991:



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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:33 am

Letters from concert-goers and other readers to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

July 9, 1991:



July 13, 1991:

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:13 am

Lawsuits filed:
 
St. Louis Post Dispatch, July 9, 1991:


July 10, 1991:



July 11, 1991:


July 12, 1991:


July 20, 1991:


December 3, 1991:


February 27, 1992:


June 24, 1992:


July 10, 1992:


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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:18 am

Brilliant! How do you get hold of all these clippings? I used to buy access to online news magazines and then checked local papers the days after GN'R had a show there, but it was such a load of work to do it.
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:23 am

Criminal charges pressed:

St. Louis Post Dispatch, August 3, 1991:


August 8, 1991:
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:26 am

@Soulmonster wrote:Brilliant! How do you get hold of all these clippings? I used to buy access to online news magazines and then checked local papers the days after GN'R had a show there, but it was such a load of work to do it.

I have a subscription to a newspapers collection site and I've been searching with keywords by date range, location and newspaper.
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:38 am

While all this was happening, the Use Your Illusion albums were released in September 1991.

St. Louis Post Dispatch, September 12, 1991:


September 17, 1991:


September 18, 1991:


[Replying to a caller from St. Louis, who said that the loyal fans there were upset with the  "Fuck you St. Louis" in the liner notes]
Well, I feel that the loyal fans shouldn’t take that to heart. They don’t have anything to do with it, and, you know, I wasn’t talking to them. If you look really closely in the Don’t Cry video, I have a 1940 St. Louis baseball and a St. Louis hat on. [Rockline radio interview, November 27, 1991]


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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:15 am

Criminal charges (cont). - Axl avoids surrender and arrest:

St. Louis Post Dispatch, March 3, 1992:
   

April 4, 1992:


April 15, 1992:


April 21, 1992:


June 4, 1992:


June 10, 1992 (from another Missouri newspaper, The Springfield News Leader):
 

June 11, 1992 (Plaintiffs' lawyers on civil cases are also looking for Axl):


July 10, 1992:


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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:30 am

Criminal charges (cont.) - Arrest and setting of trial date:

July 13, 1992:



July 14, 1992:


July 15, 1992:



July 16, 1992:




Now, I’ve been advised not to say anything -or anything derogatory- about St. Louis... Well, St. Louis can suck my dick. You saw the news; I was arrested... “by some unexpected guest”. It wasn’t unexpected! I knew that the motherfucker lied and was gonna have me arrested. And the only way we would be here tonight to do this tour was to let that asshole have his fucking way and shove it back down his motherfucking throat (?)!
Now the son of the bitch, after they dropped the deal and we’ll do the tour and I plead not guilty, he doesn’t “want to go to court now with Mr. Rose, I want to work it out with his lawyers.” Too late, little fuck! Because... I’m not fighting just for my own shit. I’m fighting for what I believe in or what I feel it’s the truth. And I’m fighting for (?) 60 fuckin’ people whose lives were threatened in that fucking riot, because that place doesn’t know how to have a rock concert. ... I mean, what... we played some place the last show they had was Jimmy fuckin’ Buffet. Give me a break!
So now, it will come down in October to one of two things: either his career or my career. And fuck him!
(?) You don’t wanna another St. Louis (?)? Stop doing shit.
So (?) there’s a certain attitude required; I think it’s called “Live and Let Die”!  
[Onstage RFK Stadium, Washington D.C., July 17, 1992]


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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:18 am

Criminal case trial

St. Louis Post Dispatch, September 17, 1992:


November 7, 1992:


November 10, 1992:


November 11, 1992:


November 12, 1992 - the newspaper's opinion on the outcome:


November 18, 1992 - a reader had a different opinion:


And another (belated) "opinion" (June 26, 1993):
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:45 am

Civil cases: Pre-trial depositions

St. Louis Post Dispatch, June 1st, 1993:

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:30 am

The "Stump" civil suit trial (the biker with the camera at the concert):

St. Louis Post Dispatch, October 15, 1993:


October 16, 1993:


(The second article is from from The Springfield News Reader)

October 17, 1993:


October 19, 1993:



October 20, 1993:


October 21, 1993:




October 22, 1993:



October 29, 1993:



When I returned to St. Louis with the Snakepit in 1995, the night before my show, I was walking from my hotel down to this row of bars nearby. I wasn’t going far, so I didn’t bring security because I knew that I was meeting our crew down there, but as I walked up this main drag, I saw five bikers in front of me and no one else around and for a moment I got worried. It was a pretty dark night on a pretty dark street, where tall streetlamps illuminated spots of ground every few yards. I got closer to them and they were looking at me; and I was looking at them. One of them got off of his bike and came at me and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go down.
“Hey, man,” he said, grinning wide. “I’m the guy who Axl hit.” Like I was supposed to pat the guy on the back. He had this attitude like, “Hey, we’re both anti-Axl, right?” He seemed to think we had something in common, but I don’t work like that; if any of you talk shit about Axl I’m going to get up in your face. Only I can do that; because I have that right, not some punk on the street who doesn’t even know him. Things got tense in that moment, but the guy started in with his own story, almost apologetically.
He had just won all of his money in the lawsuit; I think he’d been awarded his damages by the court like two days before. It was a tense situation: it was obvious to me that this was a guy who was riding high on that cash he’d just gotten and he wasn’t going to spend it wisely. His “friends” seemed to be enjoying his good fortune with him, that was for sure, because all of them were clearly out on the town. He was the shortest of the bunch, and as all small guys do, he was trying to impress everyone in sight. He had earned his bragging rights—and a decent amount of our cash—but as he told me in the few minutes I paused to speak with him, in the days after the incident, he couldn’t even leave his house. He received death threats by phone, hate mail, all of it. Only after the city won the lawsuit—after which he won as well—did the whole tide turn for him.
I was totally not impressed with this guy. I told him so and that I had to go and that was that.
[Slash's autobiography, 2007]


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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:03 am

Other civil suits settled:

St. Louis Post Dispatch, June 28, 1994:


August 3, 1994:
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:28 pm

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:23 pm

Feature article in the Riverfront Times for the 25th anniversary of the riot, June 29, 2016:

Christian Schaeffer wrote:Riverport Riot: An Oral history of the Guns N' Roses Show That Sated St. Louis' Appetite For Destruction

In 1991, few bands could rival Guns N' Roses in either record sales or in reputation for mayhem. The LA band's 1987 debut record, Appetite for Destruction, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, and in the summer of 1991, GNR was touring the world in advance of its most ambitious project, the double album Use Your Illusion I & II, set to be released that September.
The North American leg got off to a rocky start as the band was two hours late to the stage at the kick-off show in East Troy, Wisconsin. But the negative press that trailed GNR — delayed start times, frontman Axl Rose's combative on-stage rants, scuffles with fans and security — only burnished its reputation as legitimate rock & roll bad boys.

The St. Louis date of the Use Your Illusion tour would be only the third event at the brand-new Riverport Amphitheater (now Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre). Local concert promotion heavyweights Contemporary Productions were 50 percent owners of the Maryland Heights venue and had sole rights to its booking, which filled a longstanding need for presenting concerts too big for spaces like the Fox Theatre beyond the cavernous (now demolished) Checkerdome.

For the band's July 2 Riverport date, 17,000 tickets were sold, nearing capacity for the 20,000-seat venue. After an opening set by Skid Row, Guns N' Roses took the stage to the strains of Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows." The band played for nearly 90 minutes before chaos broke out.
Rose, reportedly agitated by the contraband camera snuck in by hard-rock fan and Saddle Tramps motorcycle club member Bill "Stump" Stephenson," leapt angrily into the crowd. After a few moments, Rose returned to the stage, blamed the "lame-ass" security, threw his mic down and left. His bandmates, seemingly confused by the melee, followed suit.

What happened after has long since passed into St. Louis concert lore and become a defining moment in GNR's legend. The "Riverport Riot" left more than 60 people injured, caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to the brand-new venue and saddled Rose with arrest warrants, lawsuits and hefty settlements.

On the 25th anniversary of the aborted concert and its aftermath — and as a reconstituted Guns N' Roses tours the United States — the Riverfront Times presents an oral history of the Riverport Riot from those who saw it firsthand: the promoters, security guards, radio DJs, music critics and teenage fans who were there when the house lights went up and the shit went down.

"You know that movie Escape from New York? I guess they filmed a lot of it here or something? So that was kind of my first experience of knowing where I was. Do you know where you are? Do you know where you are? All I know is when I was here and I was seventeen, I was in the middle of the fucking jungle baby!"
— Axl Rose introducing "Welcome to the Jungle," July 2, 1991

On June 14, 1991, Riverport Amphitheater hosted its first concert. Built on a flood plain in a then-undeveloped part of west St. Louis county, the venue is the jewel in the crown of Steve Schankman and Irv Zuckerman's Contemporary Productions. The company has been booking concerts since 1969.

Steve Schankman, co-founder of Contemporary Productions: We opened Riverport in June, and the first show was Steve Winwood and Robert Cray. I think that went off without a hitch. When Mannheim Steamroller played, we got an incredible amount of wind; it was The Wizard of Oz visiting St. Louis. And we weren't set to have that kind of weather, so all the stuff on top of the pavilion was starting to blow over. I mean, they left roofing up there and metal stuff. They hadn't gotten it cleaned up yet. The foundation was settling, trees were just planted, so everything was a lot more vulnerable that early on.

The Guns and Roses show would be only the third concert at Riverport and everyone was geared up for something big.

Walter Wright, B & D Security: I was running security for the barricades. Everybody had known the hype of GNR — they were the biggest thing out there. You had heard of him starting late, being temperamental. There was a lot of hype, but it was no different than Metallica or AC/DC.

Schankman: When it was booked, it was in January, so we weren't seeing the problems he was having in other venues, coming on stage late. So I asked the manager who was there, I said, "What is it gonna be like tonight?" He said, "He's calming down but don't plan on him being onstage on time. You think you're gonna see him at 9 o'clock but he's not gonna be there at 9 o'clock."

"This is something that a lot of you may already fucking own since it sold three to five million bootlegs. Impatient motherfuckers!"

— Axl Rose introducing "November Rain," July 2, 1991

Anticipation was high for the show, which found Guns N' Roses at both its creative peak and on the precipice of forces — drug addiction, combative personalities, unprofessional behavior — that would eventually scuttle the band's interpersonal dynamics. None of that mattered to its many fans.


Jon Feraro, fan:
I remember how good of an album Appetite for Destruction was. It blew the doors off everything else. It was incredible. All the bands you saw on MTV were wearing makeup and super poppy — bands like Poison. GNR came along and just killed the glam show. Their rock was so powerful and dirty and good.

Thomas Crone, then-staff writer,
Riverfront Times: They were the biggest band in the world.

Guy "Favazz" Favazza, KSHE DJ:
I had officially started at KSHE two weeks before. I had been an intern for 6 months. I had bought tickets with my high school friends, and we were dying to see 'em.

Schankman:
It was just another show — there was a list of shows for the summer printed out, and here was GNR. I didn't know what GNR was — I thought it was a record company. I mean, Irv Zuckerman, who was my partner for 30 years, he did all the booking. That was his department. I ran all the operations.

Feraro:
We were stoked and stoned and super ready.

Scott Bahan, fan:
I was sixteen in 1991. It was my first official concert I went to on my own. I was starstruck by the whole thing. I thought Axl Rose and Slash and those guys were larger than life, and they looked that way with these two huge screens that they had on each side of the stage. We were out in the grass. I was taken back by the spectacle of the whole thing.

Crone:
It was a very dude-heavy crowd too, as might be assumed. It was just dude after dude, shirtless and hanging out and sort of loud. It was a loud crowd; people were ready to rock.

Favazza:
It was an awesome show. I was a big Slash fan. I was sitting on his side. I can't say I really had an inkling what was going on.

Axl Rose, for the most part, seemed like himself
or as much himself as Axl Rose can ever be. According to the professionally shot video of the show, widely accessible online, Rose makes no overt complaints to the crowd about cameras or security issues.

Schankman:
He looked a little agitated to me, but I'd never met the guy.

Dan Durchholz, then-
Riverfront Times music writer: Most of the concert went off fine without incident. It was almost over when it all went down.

Favazza:
He was kind of a jerk on stage, I thought. He told a story about being molested in St. Louis. I remember that part and have seen that online. He was just setting the stage.
Rose told the crowd, "St. Louis! I'll tell you a little something about this city. I was seventeen, and I left Indiana because I had a disagreement with one of the juvenile detectives. I had about 35 bucks and I took a bus to St. Louis. That was cool. I had about a half a joint and I went down by the Arch and smoked half a joint. And then I went out by whatever freeway I was closest to and I hitched a ride with some air conditioning repair man in a van. It all seemed pleasant and safe enough and nothing really much happened. I was, like, exhausted and beat and never been out of my fucking town on my own in my life. And we went to some fucking hotel and I crashed out and this guy crashed out, and I woke up and this guy was trying to fuck me. I don't care — you can be male, female, you can be a fucking dog — I don't care what you are, man, that shit ain't right. It took everything I had not to slash his jugular vein."

Schankman:
Show goes on, and I'm walking the audience, and during "Live and Let Die" everything was fine. I walked all the way up to his protruding stage. He brought his own thrust that went into the fifth or sixth row. The audience was tame as could be. We were extra-precautionary and brought in more security than usual, only because it was a hard rock show. We'd do the same for Metallica. Do the same for Lollapalooza.

Wright:
It didn't seem uncontrollable at all. Most of the evictions were alcohol-related. Back then, the '80s/early '90s, a lot of times you did let the crowd release a little bit. We weren't having a particularly hard time keeping the crowd out of the aisles.
Bill "Stump" Stephenson, a longtime rock & roll concert-goer with a penchant for shooting shows without permission, had worked his way to the front of the stage.

Bill "Stump" Stephenson, concert-goer and contraband photographer:
I handed him a card saying "Welcome to St. Louis," with my motorcycle emblem, which I had done in the past, and they always gave me a thumb's up. He just kind of read it and threw it to the side.

Schankman:
By the way, Stump came to all those shows. We never had a problem with Stump. My thought is maybe Axl had a problem with Stump. He had been to St. Louis before, and rumor has it that the Saddle Tramps [motorcycle club] and Rose had some confrontation. Rumor — I cannot confirm that. But seeing him taking a picture was like an insult.

Durchholz:
I'm not a believer in any sort of supernatural bullshit or anything like that, but there was something in the air that night, this general ugly feeling. I can't put a name to it; it felt like something was gonna happen. I don't know if it was the weather, I don't know if it was the band, I don't know if it was the crowd.

"Hey! Take that! Take that! Get that guy and take that! I'll take it, goddamn it!"

— Axl Rose during "Rocket Queen"

In the middle of "Rocket Queen," Rose stopped singing to point out Stephenson and his camera. He then jumped into the crowd. The entire exchange, from Rose's exhortations to his diving into the crowd, took nine seconds.


Wright: People still brought in small point-and-click cameras. I didn't know anything was going wrong until he stopped in the middle of that song.

Stephenson:
I had taken pictures throughout the show. It was during "Rocket Queen." After I took the picture he just started hollering and pointing down at the crowd.

Wright: At first we weren't sure who he was pointing too; he was already leaving the stage in mid-air. He landed on Stump and pretty much knocked him out.

Stephenson:
I moved a little to the left, a little to the right, and he was following me with his hand and finger. I turned and handed the camera to my friend, who was in a row behind me. When I handed the camera off, as I'm turning back, he was already in flight, coming at me. He hit me blind-sided and we went over the chairs.

Wright:
That's where he turned around and slapped one of our guys. A couple of us grabbed Axl and threw him back onstage to get him out of there. He made his rant about lame-ass security, and then he left.

Bryan Pollard, fan:
It was a great show up until then. It was so out of nowhere. In the middle of "Rocket Queen," he jumped in and started grabbing cameras. He realized he was trying to fight a St. Louis biker gang.

Bahan:
I didn't feel that it was complete, or that I would have been satisfied. Nobody was ready to go home; people were still ready to indulge in it, be a part of it. And they were playing my favorite song when it started — oh man, "Rocket Queen"!

Joe Stickley, fan:
One thing that was disappointing was that it was during "Rocket Queen." On my way to school when my dad would drop me off, I would listen to that song. I always loved the end, that ballad part. I was bummed because we never got to hear the end.

William Sawalich, fan:
Our seats were toward the rear of the covered section. After the lights went up and we all — or most of us — started filing out, pretty bummed out. We'd been hearing stories from this tour of these long, epic, three-hour shows. So to have it cut short was even more of a bummer since our expectations were higher than usual.

Durchholz: He claims that there were glass bottles thrown at him. He said that was the last straw, with the guy taking pictures of it.

Schankman:
What people didn't have were guns, knives and cans, which they claim were thrown at them onstage. We confiscate that kind of stuff. I'm not saying there wasn't one can or one bottle — you'd be surprised what women do; they'll sneak something in in places we can't even talk about, and we certainly can't look at.

Pollard:
He kinda figured out that you don't want to jump into a crowd of really drunk hoosiers in the middle of heat wave.

Stephenson: T
he medics come out and duct-tape me all down flat, with my back down, my neck down, my arms down. I had obviously been laying there for a while because I started seeing debris fly by. I said, 'You either need to flip me over face-down or loosen my hands so I can block my face!'

"Well! Thanks to the lame-ass security, I'm going home!"

— Axl Rose, July 2, 1991

After Rose left the stage, confusion settled over the crowd. The band had played thirteen songs over 83 minutes before Rose jumped into the audience. A representative of the band promised that Guns N' Roses would return if the crowd settled down, but once the house lights came on, patrons knew there would be no encore.


Schankman:
All of a sudden we hear from Robin Tate. Robin Tate was my VP of production. Robin is calling Cindy [Schroeder, Contemporary's box office and house manager], and we hear that Axl has left the stage. Well, that's not unusual. Maybe he's gone off and is gonna come back on. I can hear him telling her he's not gonna come back on.

Favazza:
You just figured they're gonna come back. When the lights came on, that's when the show was over. From what I remember, when the lights came on, that's when the shit started flying. I couldn't believe people were acting the way they were.

Feraro:
It was just silent, then it was like a plane taking off — there was this build to the crowd, for lack of a better term. The tour buses started pulling away, and you could see the facade of the backdrop of the stage. It was the whole train, but all their equipment was on stage. The crowd started chanting "bullshit" and it escalated from there.

Once fans realized that the show was over, hundreds rushed for the front of the stage. Many were successful in breaching the barricades and reached the stage.


Durchholz:
The cops or fireman had brought out a firehose to spray the audience from coming on stage, and the water pressure was not sufficient to deter people from coming. This guy pulled his pants down and waved his dick at the cops as they sprayed this soft stream of water at him.

Schankman:
The problem with water is that when you've got pyro, we shut the water system off. Nobody turned the water system back on, so all you got was a little spurt.

Wright:
It's not like it was a total mob scene — it was probably on 1,500, 2,000 people that were really hardcore going at it. We had a lot of security that we started calling down there. Maryland Heights Police and a few of us got onstage to stop people from getting on stage.

Stickley:
There were SWAT teams, there were shields and there were physical altercations. I remember crouching under the picnic tables 'cause things were moving fast. I remember people pulling the seats out — it was amazing to me to see people pulling out entire sections of seats. And then my next memory is walking out and hearing a lot of the rational-minded people exclaiming that this was bad and we're not gonna get another show, that GNR is never gonna come back here.

Pollard:
By then I'd already gone to punk shows, so I wasn't too scared of chaos breaking out. But right then they started throwing full rows of seats, I realized that I didn't want to explain to my girlfriend's parents why she had a concussion, so we started to head out to the truck.

Crone:
Once people got access to the stage, it was wild; it was like they were wrecking a pirate ship and hanging off the sails. People were literally hanging off the video boards and trying to climb the scaffolding. It was very striking.

Bahan:
I remember watching people hanging from the cables and hearing the rip of the screens on each side. Just sheering from the weight.

Pollard:
It was like the fall of Rome. You could see there were fires on the lawn. There were people fucking in the grass.

Stickley:
I remember people rolling up entire sections of sod.

Wright:
Doing it in-town, these [security] guys were making $7 an hour. It's a hobby, getting paid to see a free show. We had to start finding our employees and accounting for them. We found security shirts on the ground — people had just taken them off — and we found people in their cars.

Sawalich:
In the parking lot, I reconnected with a friend I'd seen on the way in. He had an armful of piano keys and a microphone cover. "Some guy was selling the piano keys for $5 each!" he said. I think he had six of them. He said the guy threw in the microphone cover for free. For some reason I was compelled to smell the microphone cover. It totally smelled of stale cigarettes. How rock & roll is that?

Pollard:
It still amazes me to this day the amount of actual gear they walked out with. GNR just grabbed the vintage guitars they had and that was it. People were rolling out four-by-twelve cabinets and monitor mixing boards. That part was just hilarious. It was some sort of white trash Fellini film.

Durchholz:
It's funny how much like a film the whole riot played out in front of me. It had aspects of unreality; I couldn't believe what was happening in front of me.

Crone:
Almost anything that was available to be moved was moved. I remember chairs being passed forward, almost like an ant colony, with chairs riding atop hands up to the front of the stage, and then they'd get thrown. If anyone had a beer in their hand, it was flying. Everything was coming forward.

Wright:
I had one guy take twenty stitches in the head from a seat someone had thrown as a frisbee.

Bahan:
Some guys in front of us, we watched them break the chairs, the seats of the chairs. They broke pretty easily; I didn't weigh anything, maybe 115 pounds or whatever, but I said, "Let's take a chair to commemorate." So we both took the chair we were standing on — you kicked at it once or twice and it broke.

Feraro:
We went to a party that night — one of those bonfire things that every high schooler used to attend. People had seats from the amphitheater and people were sitting on them around the bonfire. Almost like, "Hey, this is a trophy. I have this and you don't." Everyone else was sitting on the ground.

Favazza:
The guy that took the picture, Stump, he brought one of the chairs to KSHE, and he signed it to us. We had it up on the wall for a long time.

Bahan:
I get home at 3 o'clock in the morning; my parents have no idea where I am. I remember my dad waiting on the sidewalk. I jump out of the truck and I have my chair with me. So my dad is hot; he is pissed. I've never seen him that upset before. He points at the chair and says, "What the hell is that?" I said, "Dad, there was a riot, you gotta turn on the news. There was helicopters and cops and shit everywhere!" He didn't want to have any of it: "What the hell is that?" I said, "Dad, this chair is from Riverport. I think this gonna be an important part of my childhood, my life — an historical event just happened!" He said, "Throw it in the garbage can right now!" I didn't want to throw this away.

"We have tape of one guy on stage with a knife. And we lost a million dollars worth of equipment in that show, and I don't see anybody else taking any responsibility for anything." Axl Rose, interview with MTV's Kurt Loder, July 12, 1992


On-site security was overmatched by the crowd, and for the first time in St. Louis County history, a Code 1000 was called, summoning all available police officers to Riverport. An estimated 400 officers from 30 police departments descended on the venue.


Wright: The police told us to leave the stage and leave the area and get our staff to safety. We got a few guys hurt — five or seven of our guys ended up going to hospitals. We tried to get people to the medical building. A few of us went backstage with the police.
Favazza: I will never forget all the police cars going the other way. We all looked at each other like, "Holy shit." That was my lasting visual — sirens, lights going past us. Quite honestly, it was scary. That crowd was a bunch of drunk assholes. They love their rock, but GNR brings out the rowdy, rowdy crowd.

Schankman: Here's what we're lucky about: We had 400 police officers — Code 1000 means from anywhere you can hear it, you gotta come — and not one gun was pulled. I didn't see anyone hit with a stick. They practiced incredible restraint.

Durchholz:
We were there watching them sweep everybody out. The cops rushed toward us — I may have watched too many movies from the '40s, but I yelled "We're the press! We're the press!" The cop replied, "Fuck you, cocksucker!" and shoved us down the steps. One of them jabbed Crone in the kidney with a baton. I had to take him to a first aid tent to lay down for a while. These guys were not in the mood for Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen to be on the scene.

Crone:
I was probably not as hurt as I thought I was, and also maybe hurt more than I thought, if that makes any sense. My adrenaline was on such a rush that I don't even know how hard I got hit.

"For the last few days, I'm watching CNN and reading this shit in the St. Louis papers about how I incited a riot, and they're talking about 'And in the band they have a recovering heroin addict...' What the fuck does that have to do with St. Louis?" — Axl Rose on-stage in Dallas, Texas, July 8, 1991


The riot became international news. MTV News quickly appeared at the venue and interviewed show-goers, and press clippings from
USA Today, Entertainment Weekly and other outlets spread the story.

Durchholz:
I just burned up my Rolodex and called everyone I knew — MTV News, Rolling Stone. That's a bit of the way of how the story got out. I wound up telling the story in other media before I could tell it in the paper I wrote for.

Feraro:
We happened to be where MTV was interviewing people. My brothers put a VCR tape in and maybe a couple months later, my mom accidentally taped over it with a soap opera. I was so pissed.

Favazza:
After that, the guy that was on the air [that night, on KSHE] — Jim Ellis, who's dead now — Axl called in to give his side of the story. Good old Jim didn't record it. I don't think Jim realized what had happened an hour or two beforehand.

Schankman:
Next thing we heard was him reporting on KSHE how the promoters didn't know what they were doing. I promoted my first concert in '69 — this was '91. I had probably done 10,000 shows. I think I know what I was doing. But I can't control an act jumping off the stage.


"I'm saying, yeah, I jumped off-stage and, yeah, things went haywire after that, and maybe I could have handled it better or whatever, but no one was really handling anything at that point. So I took it into my own hands with what I could do ... because I had been pretty much pushed to the limit by their lack of security. But I don't see anybody else in St. Louis really taking any responsibility for anything that happened." — Axl Rose, interview with MTV's Kurt Loder, July 12, 1992

After the dust settled, nearly all the blame fell on Rose. Contemporary filed a lawsuit claiming destruction of property. Stephenson filed suit too, seeking more than $2 million in damages over injuries to his back and ear. Twenty additional personal injury claims were levied against Rose by other show-goers.


Durchholz:
The thing that touched off the powder keg was Axl's reaction to that specific moment. If he hadn't reacted so strongly to Stump taking a picture of him — if it hadn't happened in that way, I don't think it would have unfolded as it did. I lay the fault of the whole thing at Axl's feet.

Pollard:
It certainly turned me off of arena shows, to sit outside and get sunburned for someone to get sand in their pussy and leave the stage.

Bahan:
I was grounded for the whole rest of the summer. That was the last time I ever saw that girl. I always say that Axl Rose, he took it all away from me: I lost my girl, I lost my freedom, and I lost my innocence. I broke property and brought it home, all to be thrown in the waste basket. I did go back out the next day and took the bolts off it. I kept those.

Schankman:
There was no doubt in my mind. I know exactly whose fault it was. We didn't start the problem and we certainly didn't start a riot. The big damages were the millions of dollars we sued them for, which had to do with defamation of character. He kept spouting off in all the trade magazines that we're a new facility and the security didn't know what they were doing. So the real loss was in that. And it got settled several years later for an undisclosed sum, but it was seven figures.

Wright:
I would lay most of it at the feet of Axl for being an artist and leaving the stage. He had professionals that should have handled that for him. I think at the time they were touring with four security body guards and his security was really good back then. At the same time, on the road when you work for someone like that, you don't question them a lot.

Feraro:
He's had other riots he could have prevented, where he's walked off the stage. He's been a dick in his shows. It's like, "Come on, man. Because someone threw a bottle you're gonna incite a riot over it?" The guy is a huge, epic tool. He is very talented at controlling, not only entertaining — the guy has a lot of power in his performance. That just doesn't go into his performance; that's in his presence. People are fixated on him. He draws huge reactions from people in the audience.

Schankman:
He's not Axl Rose, he's Bill Bailey. He's putting on a show, he has a costume on. And I think it was entertaining. I was entertained. I don't think there's anything wrong with his talent.

"Fuck you, St. Louis!" — liner notes to
Use Your Illusion I & II, 1991

On March 24, 2016, Guns N' Roses released a teaser video promoting an upcoming reunion tour. It included a promised show in St. Louis. Later promotional materials for the tour made no mention of the city.


Favazza:
They owe us a show; they were gonna come here up until a few months ago. The day the shit broke, we had been promoting the fact that GNR was coming — they had it on their video teaser. They were gonna play the [Edward Jones] Dome, and we were all ready to announce. Some people never believed that GNR would ever play here. I was texting Richard [Fortus, St. Louis native and longtime GNR guitarist] back and forth. He said Axl would do a show here; they said they want to make it the last show on the tour, just to make it up and close that wound.

Schankman:
It took its toll on me; I couldn't watch that video for awhile. What I was scared about was the next city. I didn't want other promoters — we're all very close — I didn't want other theaters going through what I went through.

Durchholz:
It was one of the first shows at Riverport. I think that added to a lot of the drama surrounding it. St. Louis has never had a venue like that, and was this the new normal now? Obviously it wasn't, but I think it gave everyone pause. I think it gave the guys at Contemporary who had built Riverport heart attacks. Is this the kind of of thing that was gonna happen?

Stickley:
I think I was more sad than anything. I wanted to see the show and at that age, even more than now, I looked up to rock & rollers and it just seemed in bad taste even then. I also look back now and think, these adults who were rioting were most likely intoxicated. Back then I didn't have any concept of what it meant to be inebriated to the point that you would do things you wouldn't do normally.

Schankman:
I think it hurt his career; I think it was the beginning of the downfall of his career. I think he had to pay some of the money to his insurance company. The settlement was a multi-million dollar settlement. It could have gone either way; we could have gone down, but we went up to become one of the biggest amphitheaters in the country.

In October 1993, After three weeks of trial, Stephenson and Rose settled for an undisclosed sum; Rose was quoted in the
Post-Dispatch calling it a "very minimal figure."

Stephenson:
I asked my lawyer, "Is this done and over with now?" and he said, "Yeah." So I grabbed my book up with my photos of [Axl] — I said, "I'm going over to get my autograph 'cause he owes me an autograph." I walked over to the table and all the news media people were around him. I set my book down in front of him and said, "I think you should autograph this picture." He just looked at me, like, "Are you crazy?" It's people like me that buy your albums and come to your shows and put you where you're at. I think you got a little bit away from where you came from.

Durchholz:
Let's think about the absurdity of how it looks from the modern perspective: A guy in the audience had a camera. Now, there's no way to stop people from taking photos.

https://www.riverfronttimes.com/stlouis/the-day-riverport-rioted/Content?oid=3082526
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

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