Come on, people, this is Axl Rose we're talking about... If you don't know by now that he's not going onstage 'on-time,' it's time to get an internet connection for the rock you live under.
To the best of my knowledge, the man hasn't taken the stage 'on-time' since Ronald Reagan was President. It's not news anymore, it just is what it is. If you can't deal with it, don't buy a ticket to the show - if it gets to a point where Guns N Roses can't sell tickets, maybe they'll reconsider making people wait so long.
I've endured a prolonged changeover at least a half-dozen times, and each time the show was well worth the wait - with and without Slash, and regardless of who was in the band. Again, it is what it is. If you want to see Guns N Roses, it's part of the experience - if you don't want the experience, don't buy the ticket.
As for the fans in Dublin who were pelting him with bottles because of the wait before Wednesday night's show [video here] - how about if I start throwing garbage at the guy in Jiffy Lube the next time my oil change takes longer than 20 minutes? Or at the restaurant staff the next time I've decided that my food is taking too long? Or the postal carrier when I don't think my mail arrived fast enough...
That's not how civilized society functions - if I was Axl's manager, I'd have pulled him off the stage before he had a chance to leave on his own. (For the record, the band resumed the set about an hour later.)
Yet, I can't blame anyone but Guns N Roses for what happened August 27 at the Reading Festival, where the band took the stage 90 minutes before the already-extended curfew, then refused to leave when promoters pulled the plug at curfew, before they could finish their set (that's Axl and co. below, during their Ghandi-like sit-in).
Axl made a statement Monday, via Twitter: "So u know, we allegedly had a deal in place pre show w/the city at least at Leeds to do a bit longer performance that was either miscommunication, someone wasn't informed, changed their mind, didn't care or was a con."
On Tuesday, he followed with this, also via Twitter: "Our start times at the Reading and Leeds festivals factually had nothing to do with us as the previous bands (who were great by the way) came off stage when they did and we went on within' our contracted and documented changeover time period... A simple question: If you are aware of our changeover time, the average length of our show and the general nature of how these types of festivals run all of which are no big secrets...why book us?"
He raises a very valid point - the same point I raised earlier: When you book Guns N Roses, there's no excuse not to know what you're getting. He is also evading the real issue altogether - the argument isn't over Guns N Roses going on late, it's over Guns N Roses blaming someone else when their set was cut short due to a curfew.
The following was printed on the website of U.K. magazine NME:
Festival chief Melvin Benn said: "After failing to take to the stage at the scheduled 9.30pm (BST) time, the performance started at 10.30pm and the band were given permission by the festival to play 30 minutes extra to its scheduled 11.30pm finish until midnight... Guns N' Roses wanted to 'extend' the new agreed curfew past midnight but were prevented from doing so in order to comply with the entertainment licence issued by Reading Borough Council."
Make no mistake, I am an Axl Rose apologist - but just because I'm a fan, doesn't mean I can't be objective.
In the case of Reading, Axl Rose and his band have no right to blame the promoters for not letting them finish their set - if playing a full set meant that much to the band, they should have taken the stage with enough time to guarantee that it would happen before curfew.
As for Dublin? If you are looking for someone to blame, blame the idiots throwing bottles.
Axl Rose on Twitter
Paul Gargano on Twitter
PAUL GARGANO ARCHIVE:
2008 Album of the Year: Chinese Democracy
GNR Live Review: 12/17/2006 (Universal Amphitheater, L.A.)
GNR Live Review: 9/23/2006 (Glen Helen Pavilion, Devore, CA)
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