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1992.07.31 - The Atlanta Constitution/The Buffalo News - Guns N' Bruises (Duff)

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1992.07.31 - The Atlanta Constitution/The Buffalo News - Guns N' Bruises (Duff) Empty 1992.07.31 - The Atlanta Constitution/The Buffalo News - Guns N' Bruises (Duff)

Post by Blackstar on Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:33 pm

1992.07.31 - The Atlanta Constitution/The Buffalo News - Guns N' Bruises (Duff) CnZsiqhr_o
1992.07.31 - The Atlanta Constitution/The Buffalo News - Guns N' Bruises (Duff) MfmEXpJE_o



Crowd control at heavy-metal show? It'll be tough as body-slamming party gets ready for a pit stop in Southeast

By Russ DeVault

Orchard Park, N.Y. — Just when it seems Guns Ν’ Roses — the reigning hellions of rock ’n’ roll — are roaring to an ear-splitting peak at Rich Stadium outside Buffalo, tempestuous Axl Rose stuns the crowd of 43,000 by shouting his heavy-metal band to silence.

“We screwed up,” the frenetic, long-haired lead singer says after the out-of-tune first notes of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” slither into the night. “If we didn’t do that, we wouldn’t be Guns N’ Roses, now, would we?”

Fans agree, although Mr. Rose, whose bad-behavior record is longer than the Gunners’ list of hits, recently has confused them by toning down his actions. He has been arrested only once this month (on four misdemeanor charges stemming from a riot triggered when he dived into the crowd during a St. Louis concert last year).

“I think he’s calmed down and seems more levelheaded recently,” says Jenni Ferguson, an Atlanta paralegal. Ms. Ferguson, 29, will leave today to enjoy the Guns N’ Roses/Metallica/Faith No More show Sunday in Columbia, S.C. — the closest to Atlanta this summer’s premier stadium tour will get.

Ms. Ferguson’s favorite is Faith No More, but she’s “definitely excited” about seeing Guns N’ Roses for the first time. “Six of us are going, and it’s going to be an awesome show,” she predicts. Tickets remain for Sunday’s performance.

Still, the spectacle at the University of South Carolina’s Wil-liams-Brice Stadium isn’t likely to match the action at the Orchard Park concert. The momentary truce yelled for shortly after midnight by Mr. Rose is the only cease-fire called during the 7 1/2-hour festival/battle of the three bands and their faithful.

Call it Woodstock With Weapons — the armament being guitars, drums, amplifiers, flailing bodies, plastic drink cups and ice cubes. Earlier, Metallica’s screaming guitars and thunderclap drums touched off vicious, full-body contact “dancing” among the fans on the seatless, tarpaulin-covered playing field.

The collisions — mostly between males in their late teens and early 20s — are nothing like the minor-league body-bruising that goes on in “mosh pits” at many heavy-metal concerts. This is serious slam-dancing in all its crushing violence. Spacious circles are cleared at several spots, and combatants frequently dig in and take 20-yard runs before blindsiding their partners.

The hitting is NFL-nasty here in the home of the Buffalo Bills. Some body-slammers exchange high-fives after getting up from neck-snapping exchanges, but the cool-headed moshers doubling as referees sometimes have to move quickly to stop serious fights from developing.

“I had to come up here in the stands so I could see Guns N’ Roses,” says “Dennis,” a sweaty rocker in a softball uniform. “It was really rough down there near the stage.” Adds another equally beefy, short-haired slammer who’s equally reluctant to divulge his real name, “One guy got clotheslined [hit with a forearm], and he just went to sleep.”

But instead of dozing during the two-hour lull between Metallica and Guns N’ Roses, the adrenalized crowd turns restless. Shortly after Metallica’s two-hour-plus bombardment, a 30-minute battle of plastic cups, ice cubes and even fireworks erupts between concertgoers on the field and in the stands. Some non-combatants in the metal seats stick it out, while others seek safety in the concourse.

The barrage ends when cameramen supplying pictures to the three giant video screens on the 200-foot-wide stage begin panning the crowd for females willing to bare their breasts. Many do, and some well-endowed flashers earn encores as the live T&A shots — people also are baring their rear ends — clear the air of cups and ice. (A total of 237 fans were evaluated by on-site medical personnel during the event, and 56 were sent to local hospitals for treatment, mostly for minor injuries.)

Similar incidents have oc-cured elsewhere on the tour, one of the summer’s few successful stadium rock events. However, no alcoholic drinks will be sold at the Columbia concert. Security officials also say they will not condone moshing by the 10,000 fans — about a fourth of the crowd expected — in reserved seats on the field.

Mr. Rose, however, retains his troubadour-as-troublemaker persona, and Guns N’ Roses’ drug-taking, havoc-wreaking reputation helps explain the band’s allure. “Axl does what he wants and if that messes people’s minds, tough,” says Barbara Walz, a student at Erie (N.Y.) Community College at Rich Stadium.

“I like Guns N’ Roses’ music, but I don’t like Axl,” notes Christine Prunty, a student at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

One thing’s certain: Mr. Rose keeps his own timetable. Faith No More opens the concert at 5:30 p.m., but Guns N’ Roses doesn’t crash onstage until about 11 p.m.

“I wanted to see Faith No More,” Ms. Walz says, lamenting her decision to arrive after the opening act performed. “But if I’d come early enough to see Faith No More, I wouldn’t have been able to drink or anything and still make it all night.”

Her conservative attitude toward partying is not shared by everyone at the show. No alcoholic drinks are sold, but many are consumed in the parking lot and smuggled in.

The heavily tattooed biker-type in the next seat finds coherence only once during Guns N’ Roses’ 18-song set. “Hey, man,” he carefully says, rising to his feet when Mr. Rose bounds out, “Got any good drugs?”

He should have swapped tickets with Henry Czechowski, who slumps against a concourse wall while Guns N’ Roses launches into “November Rain,” its current hit.

“My problem?” Mr. Czechowski, 20, a roofer from West Seneca, N.Y., asks. “I’m straight, and all the jerks in the seats around me aren’t.”

That’s to be expected at heavy-metal shows, which is why businessman Greg Bush, 43, of Buffalo has escorted his two teenage sons and three of their friends. He dismisses his apprehension and takes a break in a stadium tunnel when Guns N’ Roses captures attention with its music and frequent blasts of fireworks.

“I didn’t like Metallica, and Faith No More’s terrible,” Mr. Bush says. “Guns N’ Roses is OK, but that’s for my sons’ generation — our parents didn’t understand our music either.”

Duff McKagan, the Guns’ N’ Roses bassist, who hopes to someday attend law school, understands drugged-out fans and worried parents.

“When I see kids stoned or high, I try to educate them a little, but not by preaching because I’m no AA member,” Mr. McKagan says. “We are buddies with Metallica, but I’ve seen them only once this tour because I don’t like coming down to the shows early because there’s too many drug dealers around.

“I’ve done my share of stuff, but I’ve never pushed anything on anybody,” Mr. McKagan adds from the New York hotel where he’s staying with his wife of two weeks, Linda Johnson.

“It’s too tempting—that’s not the right way to say it, maybe — but I’m just not into drugs now. It’s sad to see kids who are,” says Mr. McKagan, 28. “So many people will push drugs on you.”

For him and Mr. Rose — whose current companion is model Stephanie Seymour—Mr. McKagan says having a solid relationship is a natural high, although GNR still performs “Mr. Brownstone,” its song about heroin.

“Axl’s a changed guy, and I think it’s because of Stephanie and himself,” Mr. McKagan says. “We’re also not getting any younger, you know. We’re all getting married and all this crap, and pretty soon it’s going to be Guns N’ Roses and kids.”

Nicole Peradotto and David Montgomery of The Buffalo News contributed to this report.


'Guns’ silenced by Braves, Falcons

The violence frequently associated with heavy-metal concerts was not a significant factor in keeping the stadium-sized Guns N’ Roses/Metallica/Faith No More show out of Atlanta.

“You can’t move the Braves’ schedule around to use Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, and the Georgia Dome would have been in its opening weeks with the Falcons, and the available dates wouldn’t work,” says Wilson Howard, the Columbia, S.C -based Cellar Door promoter.

Setting up and dismantling the giant $3 million stage created by Guns N’ Roses was also a problem. “We couldn’t meet the move-in, move-out requirements of the show because of the Falcons and other events,” says Khalil A. Johnson, general manager of the Dome.

Sunday’s concert in Columbia remains the closest the show will get to Atlanta. However, Metallica will return to Atlanta on Sept. 7, playing at Lakewood Amphitheatre.

— Russ DeVault



The stage antics of Axl Rose (above, left) and cohort Slash help juice up Guns N’ Roses concerts. At the recent show (left) in Orchard Park, N.Y., there was no stopping the adrenalized crowd.

One of the 43,000 heavy-metal fans makes it clear he is getting into the roaring music Saturday night in Orchard Park, N.Y.

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