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2002.11.09 - Los Angeles Times - Fans Riot at Canceled Guns N' Roses Show

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2002.11.09 - Los Angeles Times - Fans Riot at Canceled Guns N' Roses  Show Empty 2002.11.09 - Los Angeles Times - Fans Riot at Canceled Guns N' Roses Show

Post by Blackstar on Tue May 19, 2020 7:39 pm

2002.11.09 - Los Angeles Times - Fans Riot at Canceled Guns N' Roses  Show 2002_125
2002.11.09 - Los Angeles Times - Fans Riot at Canceled Guns N' Roses  Show 2002_126


By Robert Hilburn and Randy Lewis
Times Staff Writers

VANCOUVER, Canada — Hundreds of Guns N’ Roses fans took part in a riot that erupted here Thursday night when the first date of the rock band’s first concert tour in nine years was canceled shortly before show time.

Vancouver police had arrested a dozen people as of Friday morning, with more arrests possible as the investigation continues. At least three people were charged with inciting the riot that lasted an hour, during which angry fans hurled chunks of concrete at security staff and police, and tossed metal barricades through windows at the General Motors Place arena.

Police used pepper spray, riot sticks and dogs to disperse the crowd, police spokeswoman Sarah Bloor said Friday. There were minor injuries and more than $100,000 in damage to the arena, she added.

The show was canceled when leader Axl Rose did not arrive in Vancouver. No official explanation was given as of press time Friday. A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles-based group’s label, Interscope Records, said a statement was being prepared by the band’s management.

A Boston-based spokeswoman for Clear Channel Entertainment, which books concerts at GM Place, said she had been told that Axl Rose’s flight from Los Angeles was delayed by the storm that hit the area Thursday, and that there may have been a mechanical problem with the plane. The other band members were in Vancouver awaiting his arrival.

She said the group’s crew was setting up its gear in Tacoma, Wash., in anticipation that GNR’s concert scheduled for Friday night would take place.

But the fact that Rose hadn’t planned an earlier arrival in Vancouver didn’t sit well with some concert industry veterans.

“This was the tour opener — why wasn’t he there a day early?” asked Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar, a concert-industry tracking publication. “It’s almost unconscionable for him to try to come into the country so shortly before show time... And the bad weather coming to California had been forecast for days. This was not a surprise storm.”

About 8,000 fans were lined up waiting for the doors to open at 7:30 p.m. when an announcement was made that the concert would be canceled.

“Within two minutes, that’s when the behavior erupted,” police spokeswoman Bloor said. The majority left the scene, she said, but 2,000 to 3,000 remained to watch the rioters, hundreds soon joining them.

The Vancouver show was the first of more than two dozen on the group’s “Chinese Democracy” North American tour, which is scheduled for concerts Jan. 3 and 4 at the Forum in Inglewood. It was intended to put the band back on track after numerous false starts and delays in completing the “Chinese Democracy” album, which still has not been released.

Riots are not unheard of in the stormy history of Guns N’ Roses.

Rose sparked one at a 1991 St. Louis performance when he jumped into the crowd to con-
front a fan who was photographing him. Rose was convicted of assault and property damage. In 1992, the volatile singer caused another incident during a concert in Montreal when he left the stage 50 minutes into the show and told fans they should demand their money back.

Robert Hilburn reported from Vancouver; Randy Lewis from Los Angeles.

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