GUNS N' ROSES Cancel Philadelphia, Angry Fans Riot

December 7, 2002

GUNS N' ROSES fans at Philadelphia's First Union Center began rioting after being told that the group were a no-show Friday night (Dec. 6).

About 14,000 people in the center were informed over the public address system at approximately 11:15 p.m. that a band member had fallen ill and the concert had been postponed.

The show by Axl Rose and his group was scheduled to begin at 9 p.m.

The opening acts for the evening, CKY and MIX MASTER MIKE, performed as scheduled, with the latter ending his appearance at around 9:15-9:30, according to eyewitness reports.

GUNS N' ROSES played in New York City's Madison Square Garden Thursday night. Tickets for that show sold out in 15 minutes with the other cities doing close to capacity business, according to the band's official web site.

The group are set to perform another Philadelphia date at First Union Center on Sunday, Dec. 8. It is not presently clear if that performance will go ahead as scheduled.

The following first-hand account of the Philadelphia GN'R no-show was sent to BLABBERMOUTH.NET by Inter Sandman Chapter Head Zach Smith:

"I went to the GUNS N' ROSES show tonight at the First Union Center in Philly, it was sold out and everything. Well, I got there at around 8:30 and MIX MASTER MIKE was still on stage. He kept saying how GUNS N' ROSES would be on in a minute, yet never left the stage for another 30-45 minutes. Everyone started kidding around saying that Axl wouldn't show up again. Well, MIX MASTER MIKE ended at around 9:15-9:30. At 10, no sign of the show starting. Word was spreading that Axl hadn't arrived yet. Then we found out that the First Union Center had put a stop on all beer sales — kind of odd for them to do so before the main act went on. So it got to be 10:30, and still no band - people were starting to see what was coming. In between every song that was being played, the booing got louder and louder, and chants of 'asshole' began that were really loud. At that point, you knew GUNS N' ROSES wouldn't be playing. Finally, when people saw the soundboard guys cover up their equipment, all hell broke loose. People started ripping binoculars off the seats and throwing them down on the floor, people were chucking their drinks and food at security around the stage as they took the equipment away, people rushed the stage, a fight broke out, folding chairs were turned into launching pads. An announcement FINALLY came on at around 11:15 saying that the show had been cancelled due to 'health reasons' and that tickets were valid whenever the show would be rescheduled. That really set people off, and chairs started flying at the soundboard and up on stage. It was not a pretty site. However, a good amount of people did leave and outside seemed to be quite calm in comparison to what was happening inside. There was a large police presence outside, but thankfully they were not instigating anything with angry fans. Who knows what happened, but I can tell you while I'm shocked, I'm certainly not surprised. I also think Philadelphia fans handled the situation quite well considering the circumstances and the past history with riots."

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