Guns N' Roses cancels show after lead singer skips town
- Michael Kates & Angela Bradbery, Chicago Tribune, 4.11.92
It was the perfect wedding gift: two tickets to the young couple's idea of paradise, Friday night's Guns N' Roses concert at the Rosemont Horizon.
But the controversial Los Angeles rock 'n' roll band postponed the sold-out show just 15 minutes before the doors were scheduled to open-lead singer Axl Rose had to skip town ahead of the law, according to the band's record company.
"Can I cry?" Ursula Sandoval asked her new husband Ray as they stood outside the Horizon Friday night. The two 26-year-olds, who married April 1, stood in line for 2 1/2 hours for the tickets.
The Cook County sheriff's office might be upset too. Officials had a warrant for Rose's arrest on four misdemeanor charges stemming from a riot last July during a concert in a St. Louis suburb, according to Geffen Records.
According to a Geffen spokeswoman, the Cook County sheriff's office planned to arrest Rose and extradite him to St. Louis to enforce a bench warrant obtained by the St Louis prosecutor's office.
"Rather than go to jail, Rose left the sheriff's jurisdiction," said Bryn Bridenthal of Geffen.
A Guns N' Roses management representive apologized to fans and blamed "celebrity persecution" by St. Louis authorities.
Neither St. Louis officials nor Cook County sheriff's police could be reached for comment.
The group performed here Thursday night without incident. The Friday show was added several months ago, after the first show sold out quickly.
Hundreds of disappointed and disgusted fans were notified by megaphone at 7:30 p.m. that the show was canceled.
The switchboard at the Horizon headquarters was lit up for hours by fans. Some callers asked for reimbursements for their limousines; others wanted to know if they would be refunded the price they paid scalpers-$125 in one case.
They were told no.
Tickets will be refunded Monday at Ticketmaster outlets for their $25 face value, Bridenthal said.
Rosemont Horizon officials received a phone call from the band's local promoter, Jam Productions, at 7:15 p.m. Doors were to open at 7:30 p.m. and the opening band was in the building, preparing to take the stage at 8:30 p.m.
"The group decided they did not want to perform," said Harry Pappas, executive director of the Horizon. "They gave no reason."
No one at Jam Productions could be reached for comment.
According to Horizon officials, up to 400 fans were outside when the show was canceled. Guards, ushers and other security personnel broke the news to them.
Teenagers who were dropped off by their parents were allowed to make phone calls so they "wouldn't be wandering the street," said a Horizon official.
That was of little good to Steve Stasney, 15, and his three friends from Highland, Ind. The group had been dropped off by one of the boy's fathers at 7 p.m. and told, "see you at midnight."
After the announcement was made, "Everybody was cussing like crazy," Stasney said. "They're good, but not when they do that."
The last Horizon show canceled on short notice was the Madonna show in May 1990. The singer had a sore throat and gave Horizon officials 24 hours' notice.
Tom Nigut, who came from Wilmette with a friend and seven youngsters, said the band's actions were not surprising.
"It's typical of the image they try to give," Nigut said, "punky, cocky, do whatever they want to do."
Guns N' Roses also canceled shows Monday and Tuesday in Auburn Hills, Mich.
CONCERT CANCELED TO AVOID POLICE
- The San Jose Mercury News, 4.12.92
Guns N' Roses canceled a concert Friday night in Chicago after lead singer W. Axl Rose fled town to avoid arrest on charges stemming from a riot at the band's show last year in St. Louis, his record company said.
''He wasn't anxious to spend any time in jail without reason," said Bryn Bridenthal, spokeswoman for Geffen Records. "To suddenly extradite him over a misdemeanor charge, there's no cause."
Geffen also said the band canceled shows scheduled for Monday and Tuesday in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Rose was charged with assault and property damage over a riot that followed an aborted Guns N' Roses concert July 2, in which about 40 concertgoers and 25 police officers were hurt.