It can be wise to expect the unexpected when it comes to life as a touring rock band on the road. Hard rockers Guns N’ Roses have certainly had some practice rolling along on the river of life.
The legendary rock band, currently on tour with the support of several household names, is currently making headlines for canceling Saturday night’s performance in St. Louis, and is not new to making the decision to pull the plug on the show Pull.
‘GNR’s career has been marked by multiple instances of performance cancellations – including one instance where it was announced that the performance would not go ahead at the eleventh hour – in nearly four decades combined. The rockers’ first LP, ‘Appetite For Destruction’, was released in 1987.
Guns N’ Roses will cancel their St. Louis date on September 9
The band took to their social media on Friday evening to announce the news.
The announcement began: “Gunners, the concert scheduled for September 9 in St. Louis has been postponed due to illness,” without going into further detail. The post revealed good news for ticket holders: if they can’t make the final date, they can expect a refund.
Tonight’s scheduled show is far from the first gig Guns N’ Roses has ever played in St. Louis. Fans and pop culture buffs may recall a particularly dangerous example of a GNR performance that ended in infamy.
Before we look back at the band’s 1991 visit to St. Louis, let’s take a look at Guns N’ Roses’ history of canceling shows, and even in some cases, the remaining dates of a tour!
The band canceled an entire tour in August!
The September 9 performance comes twenty years after the band’s decision to withdraw from the remaining shows scheduled for the tour.
A number of incidents led to the final decision, according to an Entertainment Weekly article published at the time.
On December 7, 2002, angry spectators already present at the show that was reportedly about to begin reacted memorably. According to the publication, fans decided to ‘trash’ the venue after the revelation that singer Axl Rose would not be showing up. Due to Rose’s absence, the band decided not to play the gig.
No official explanation for Rose’s absence was given at the time, but he was said to have been ill. No reason was also given for the band’s decision to cancel the remainder of the tour.
Just a month earlier, the band was scheduled to perform in Vancouver, Canada, when an angry crowd allegedly “rioted” when it was revealed that the performance would not take place “minutes before showtime,” according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. . The show was the first stop on ‘GNR’s tour, the first in almost a decade. Reportedly, “hundreds” of attendees took part in the riot, with twelve people arrested the next day.
A summer evening would be bloody: Inside The Infamous Riot
In the summer of 1991, the band played a show in Maryland Heights, Missouri (described by Billboard as a city near St. Louis).
The writer of the aforementioned Billboard retrospective was in the audience that night and recalled that trouble allegedly broke out almost two hours into the show: Rose could be heard arguing with a fan. The GNR frontman could reportedly be heard saying “take that” twice. He then tried to get security to handle things with the fan.
According to writer Daniel Durchholtz’s account, Rose quickly dove toward the audience member before security could handle the escalating situation.
Rose’s target hadn’t been the fan; it had reportedly been a camera. The camera is said to have been in the possession of a member of a motorcycle gang, which Rose was among when he searched for the camera. The band continued to play during the incident; There is footage on YouTube.
According to Billboard, 65 attendees were ultimately injured as a result of the incident, 25 of whom were officers. There would be “dozens” of arrests.
The “Welcome To The Jungle” singer was eventually charged with four felony counts of assault and would face a misdemeanor count of property damage. The outlet also recalled that “Hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage” would follow the incident.
Rose was found guilty of these charges and given a heavy fine. His fine was $50,000. Guns N’ Roses would not be able to escape on the night of July 2, 1991, because “several civil lawsuits” would also be filed.