GUNS N’ ROSES Frontman Explains 2002 Philadelphia Concert No-Show

During last night’s (Monday, February 27) GUNS N’ ROSES concert at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the band’s frontman, Axl Rose, explained why he mysteriously failed to show up for a GN’R gig in Philadelphia in December 2002, a move which famously resulted in the crowd breaking into a riot, in the process sending five people to the hospital.

According to Philadelphia media reports, the opening act at the First Union Center on December 6, 2002 performed for two hours before the GN’R show was called off. The gig was officially canceled after 11 p.m., with Axl and his bandmates apparently unable to make the short jump from a December 5 show at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Speaking from the stage at last night’s show (see video below), Axl said, “I already got sued for about, everything I own . . . fuckin’ corporate radio and shit. Now we’re back on tour . . . I have to shut up. I did cancel the first show, at about six in the morning. My manager told me he canceled it and then didn’t. And then Clear Channel wanted us to fuck up, because they wanted to end the tour. ‘Cause they had some shit going on in Florida or something… I don’t know… a whole bunch of bullshit. But I got really sick; it had nothing to do with fur coats and basketball games, you know. I love Philly. I came to play here a few times and I really liked it. So I said, ‘OK we’re gonna risk it, what if we can throw in a show in Philly?’ So it’s good to be here. I want to apologize for my part of that. You know, so… I’m not saying I’m innocent.”

GUNS N’ ROSES‘ 2001 show at Rock In Rio saw the band take to the stage two hours late, and while the crowd waited patiently for them on that occasion, this has not been the case at other shows.

In 2010, organizers of the Reading festival in England pulled the plug on GUNS N’ ROSES‘ PA, silencing them after they took to the stage an hour late and tried to overrun the event’s curfew time by over half an hour.

GUNS N’ ROSES‘ was reportedly fined $108,000 (£72,000) by officials at London’s O2 Arena in October 2010 after Rose‘s late stage appearance meant he and his bandmates went over the venue’s strict 11 p.m. curfew. The fans were so upset about GUNS N’ ROSES‘ tardiness at the first of the two London shows that they were throwing things at Axl Rose. He told the audience not to be doing that because they could miss him and hit someone at the front of the stage by accident. They wouldn’t want that to happen, he added. The concert organizers allowed them to play for the extra hour over curfew for two gigs.

At GUNS N’ ROSES‘ lone U.S. concert appearance in 2010 in Sturgis, South Dakota, the crowd — composed largely of bikers — was forced to wait the usual two hours before Rose arrived. Rather than rioting, however, those in attendance either littered the stage with debris or simply left.