|VANCOUVER (CP) -- Thousands of fans rioted for about an hour outside GM Place in downtown Vancouver on Thursday night after Axl Rose, the lead singer of Guns N' Roses, failed to appear for a concert.
It was to have been the first show of the rock band's North American leg of its Chinese Democracy World Tour. Guns N' Roses has a history of concert no-shows.
A band spokesman said poor weather conditions at Los Angeles airport made it impossible for Rose's plane to fly.
Staff at concert promoter Clear Channel Entertainment weren't available for comment, however, a band spokesman said the performance scheduled Friday in Tacoma, Wash., would go ahead.
The band rehearsed Wednesday in GM Place without Rose, who rarely rehearses with his band.
The trouble began when the venue doors didn't open as scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Some people in the lineup began leading chants of "B.S., B.S."
Ticket sales wickets were shut down and when the official announcement came over the loudspeakers at 7:40 p.m., tempers flared.
"That's it, I'm trashing all my GNR stuff," said fan Dana Claydon. "I've been waiting for this since '93 when Axl cancelled the last time. What a jerk."
Within 15 minutes, the upset crowd turned into an angry mob smashing some GM Place windows.
Police cars began arriving and police and stadium security began to move the crowd away from the broken windows.
After a Roman candle was fired off in the direction of officers, police advanced and told people to disperse.
Most did, however, some rowdies began smashing ticket sales windows and throwing rocks at police from the parking lot across from the stadium.
Alysha Stephanischin, 22, of Japser, Alta., was one of the people caught between the two sides and wound up being struck by a billy club.
"I don't blame the officer, there was so much going on, but we weren't dong anything," she said through tears. "I really wish we didn't come tonight, I didn't even want to."
Jim and Stacy Stelmacher of Port Alberni, B.C., came for the day to hook up with Ryan Stookert and Angie Beers who flew in from Calgary just for the show that was supposed to be a birthday surprise for Stookert, a DJ at CJAY radio.
"What a great present, but I guess I just was never meant to see this band," Stookert said. "We're getting out of here now."
Refunds for the show will be available at point of purchase Nov. 14.
In 1991, Rose precipitated a riot in a St. Louis suburb by jumping off the stage and attacking a fan videotaping the heavy metal band's concert. Sixty people were hurt and the Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights, Mo., was wrecked.
Several subsequent concerts on the band's tour were cancelled.
Several lawsuits were filed and Rose was charged with assault and property damage.
Rose never surrendered to face the charges and was arrested a year later by federal agents at Kennedy International Airport in New York as he returned from a European tour.
He was eventually put on probation for two years and ordered to donate $50,000 to five social service organizations.