|Guns N' Roses frontman was said to have health problems. Tonight's show also has been canceled.
By Sam Wood
Inquirer Staff Writer
Was he really sick?
Was he just having a bad hair day?
Or was the scuttlebutt true that he was so riveted by the Lakers-Dallas matchup on TV that he couldn't bother to leave his New York City hotel room?
Whatever the reason, Axl Rose's band Guns N' Roses chose not to perform on Friday night. And to add insult to injury the announcement of the band's cancellation didn't come until after 11 p.m.
Officially, a member of the band - that is, the notoriously erratic frontman Rose - was having "health problems."
That left the sold-out house of almost 15,000 fans fuming.
Those fans vented their anger on the First Union Center. They threw bottles, tossed chairs, and pulled down tiles from the ceilings. They overturned garbage cans and knocked over stage equipment.
At least 15 people were injured in the fracas that ensued. Five were taken to the Methodist Hospital Division of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where they were treated for various back and neck injuries, according to a police spokeswoman.
Several extra police units and EMS rescue squads were called in to manage the irate crowd, the spokeswoman said.
Tonight's show at the First Union Spectrum also has been canceled, said Ike Richman, spokesman for Comcast-Spectacor, which manages the arena.
Neither of the concerts will be rescheduled.
Damage to the arena was minimal, and preparations for the next event, a Flyers game, went off without a hitch.
"It's business as usual, and it's on to the next show," Richman said.
The band, with the exception of Rose, was still lodged at the Ritz Carlton in Center City yesterday afternoon. As of last night, Rose had still not checked in. A source at the First Union Center said speculation was that Rose had stayed in his New York hotel room to watch a basketball game.
Friday night's no-show was the second since Guns N' Roses began their North American tour last month. Rose didn't make it to opening night of the tour on Nov. 7 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Rose cited mechanical problems with his private jet.
Fans, who had waited several hours, rioted. Batons, pepper spray and police dogs were required to quell the melee that erupted, according to Pollstar, a concert tour magazine.
The current tour is the first Guns N' Roses has staged in nine years and marks a resurrection of sorts for the late '80s stalwarts.
A set list given to the news media early Friday night listed many fan favorites. The band was to have led off with "Welcome to the Jungle," and segued into a pair of covers: Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die" and Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." Other songs on the list included "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "November Rain." The encore was to have been "Paradise City."
A Guns N' Roses spokeswoman declined comment yesterday. But said that she expected the band to make a statement tomorrow.
Contact Sam Wood at 856-779-3838 or email@example.com. Inquirer columnist Michael Klein and Inquirer music critic Tom Moon contributed to this report.